George Foster

George Foster

Nationality: British

Current position: Head of Marketing and Communications at Surrey County Cricket Club

Programme: Modular Executive MBA 2018

What motivated you to do an MBA and why did you choose Cass Business School? 

Primarily I wanted to learn and develop. I come from a marketing background and have little experience in accounting, finance or statistics, and only partial knowledge of HR and strategy. I didn't (and still don't) necessarily want to leave my job, but I certainly want to use the new knowledge to be promoted to Commercial Director. Without the skills and knowledge from an MBA I would be in a very different position. I chose Cass because of its reputation and its practical approach to learning.

What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?

I would like to become Commercial Director at Surrey CCC, which will enable me to go down the General Manager route into other businesses and industries. I would also like to move into consulting further along in my career.

How would you describe your overall experience of the MBA so far? 

It's more difficult but far more rewarding than I first thought. It's a bit of a cliche, you get out what you put in, and it opens your eyes to what you can achieve if you've got a deadline looming. Learning to work in groups without a formal hierarchy is very interesting and can be challenging, but for me, the best part is simply being able to concentrate on learning new skills.

How do you balance you work and personal life with academic studies? Any tips or advice?

I try and do a little bit of work each day, so that I don't get overwhelmed with the work building up. If you have a partner at home, make sure that you have a conversation as the course starts, and then communicate the whole way through - let them know the amount of work you're going to do in a day and stick with it. Don't let it take over your life - it's possible to have a life and do an MBA.

What has been the most rewarding experience for you so far?

Meeting new people from outside of my industry - there are some really interesting people on the course and you learn from your classmates as much as the academics, I have learnt theory and concepts which I always thought would not be possible and it has been hugely rewarding. The business pages of the newspapers are now interesting. Realising that you know what you're talking about without having to think about it. The practical sessions (Presentation Classes, Networking and more) are excellent development sessions.The Achieving your potential weekend was great - and much better than it sounds.

What has been the most challenging aspect?

The workload. It is difficult, especially if you don't know the majority of the material. The reading and assignments at the same time can be a real challenge, but somehow you can get it done. There is a lot of reading - speed reading helps, but there aren't really any short cuts. Going back to work on a Tuesday after the weekend, realising that no one at work understands the MBA, or how challenging it can be.

How would you describe your fellow cohort? 

There are 48 of us, I'm guessing about 30% female, from all over the world - Nigeria, France, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, Croydon, Hungary etc. We are all from different organisations and industries; finance, Telecoms, Coffee Importing, Pepsi, Apple, healthcare, charity, HR etc.You get to know your groups very well, and learning to work together is challenging but interesting at the same time.

What has the learning experience been like? How are classes and taught and what sort of expertise do the academics bring? 

The academics are good, and offer great theory behind the every subject.  They often bring in guest speakers and people from industry to the lectures, which always works well, adding current industry insight. Classes are a good mix of interactivity and academic theory - you can make the most of contact time with lecturers by preparing beforehand, and at least doing the case studies, preferably all the reading.

What are your thoughts on living and studying in London and does Cass’ location bring any added benefit? 

Living in London is awesome - the best city in the world!  Cass being in the centre of London and near the City is also a great advantage as you really feel part of the city.  It's really easy to get to and the EMBA campus is great

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing an MBA at Cass? 

Do it!  If you're interested in learning some really practical skills, progressing professionally and working with a diverse group of people that you would have never normally met, then Cass is a great place to do your MBA. Remember to use your free time wisely before joining the programme, because it will be at a premium when the course starts.