Joining the Executive MBA was daunting, but I quickly hit my stride.

You already know the benefits that come from studying an MBA. But committing to study alongside work and other commitments is a big step, and many students worry that their academic skills will be out-of-date. Here at UEA we fully understand the pressures that studying can bring, which is why we’re committed to making sure our students are fully equipped with the skills and support they need to get the most from their time with us, starting with an immersive Taster Day designed to give you the confidence to get back into the classroom and tackle your first assignment.

Hear from two of our Executive MBA students, Emma Partridge and Kate Yarbo, about how they found the experience of starting their MBA at UEA.

Emma Partridge, Head of Strategy at CEFAS

I found the prospect of studying an MBA daunting, but I quickly hit my stride. I was very apprehensive due to being out of study for a while and the lack of awareness of what would be expected of me, both intellectually and personally. An MBA rightly comes with high prestige, which is why it has always been an ambition of mine to study the programme at the UEA. However, this prestige also increased my anxiety as I developed an image in my head of what the experience and course would be like.

Once I got started, this apprehension soon disappeared thanks to the approachability of the lecturers and the group dynamic that had been carefully created. It was then I had to pinch myself as I came to the realisation that I had made it onto the MBA I had always aspired to achieve.

The unknown can be daunting. If you can, I would recommend attending a taster day to understand what the course will be like. It will reduce your nerves and confirm that you are making the right decision before embarking on your MBA journey.

Kate Yarbo, CEO of Ryes Education and Children’s Homes

I came to the MBA course having had no previous experience of University, Degrees, Assignments, Referencing or real studying. In reality I came purely because I was in a senior management position (CEO), had held this position for 9 years and still had complete imposter syndrome- fearing I would soon be found out as the person who was making it up as they went along. I also felt I owed it to my board to be the best leader I could be for them, so I took the plunge and signed up.

I arrived with no confidence and actually left the open evening in tears- realising I was way out of my depth, but I promised myself I would take it one lecture at a time and my agreement with myself was “if I passed my first assignment I`d commit to the course”.

I can`t begin to tell you how different I am 10 months into this journey. With the coaching, support and guidance from all the module leaders I am growing in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. The MBA isn’t simply about learning new concepts and ideas to take back to your workplace, it’s also about realising lots of the ways you`ve worked for years do have theories behind them, there is a reason you are doing things that way, and here’s more knowledge to move those processes forward.

Each assignment is a learning curve with no pressure but very useful guidance beforehand, coaching through it and feedback afterwards. Each one is built on the one before and I clearly feel the clear aim of everyone involved in this MBA is to get me successfully to the end.

I laugh now when I look back at my first assignment, but the lovely thing is the quality really didn’t matter. Showing my ideas and grasp of the key concepts are  were what mattered, not how I put it together like a bad, meandering, trashy novel with very little referencing (and what there was wasn’t in the correct format).

As I said it REALLY didn’t matter. My advice to anyone new at this would be to believe that the MBA is about helping you achieve your goal, not about lecturers sitting back an judging your sometimes very poor attempts at creating an academic piece of work. They don’t judge- the hardest critic will be yourself, and as long as you can laugh at your attempts you should love being part of this experience.

I recently performed an organisation wide 360 on myself and the feedback from the organisation about the new concepts, ideas and confidence I have speaks for itself. Is evidence in itself that the MBA is delivering all I hoped it would.

To join us at MBA Taster Day or for further information about our MBA programmes please email Elle Green- mbateam@uea.ac.uk

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