Mirja Sick

Mirja Sick

Nationality: German

Position pre MBA: Head designer

Programme: Modular Executive MBA 2017

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

I have been working for the last 6 years in the Arts and Design Industry and wanted to broaden my knowledge to be able to develop my skills as well as potentially change the industry that I work within. I have been working in a specialised, highly creative part of the industry which consists of a lot of very small studios with little room for development or aspirations. I chose Cass as I really liked the no-fuss approach and the very down to earth programme. I feel Cass emphasises the importance on applying real life cases rather than just the theory. I had a good feeling when I came for the open day and liked what I heard from current students. I had the impression that the students came from many different industry backgrounds which was definitely a selling point.

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

I would like to broaden my general business knowledge which would enable me to find an interesting position in product development or production within the broader creative industry or beyond. I am still quite undecided about the exact job or industry but I have started to work on my professional development with the careers team at Cass. My long term goal is to go back to Germany after more than 10 years in the UK.

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

It has been a very interesting time so far. The cohort is amazing and come from totally different backgrounds and industries which greatly enhances the student experience. I feel like I learn just as much from my co-students. It has been quite a challenge to get used to a learning environment again after a degree in the arts where studying and writing takes side role. I do spend a great amount of time studying and spend most of my weekends working towards my MBA. I always do a few hours after work which gets more difficult when travelling. I would say I do about 15-20h a week on average. A supportive partner is very important as well as a stable position/situation at work. Advice from me would be: try to find out before the MBA how you learn best and what tools you use to remember and prep for the exams. For the exam preparation start with the exams questions and try to do as many as you can before the exam. Start early as it is a lot to get through.

How do you balance your work and personal life with academic studies?

I find there is not huge amounts of time available for a social life. I try to spend as much time away from studying with my partner. It is important though to make time and not get carried away with studying. Time is scarce and I’ve adapted quickly to use every minute of it in the most productive way.

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

Passing the first exams! I am very relieved as I was doubting if I would be able to do it. I also particularly liked the experience on the Professional Development weekend where we spent two days as a cohort to reflect on ourselves and to coach one another. I got good feedback and learned quite a lot about my skills and career goals.

What has been the most challenging aspect?

I think the first group projects were most challenging for me. I had a very ambitious group with students that are aiming for top marks. I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver work that was up to their standards. I also found the exams particularly challenging. I haven't been in an exam situation for many years and it can be quite daunting, but with enough study it’s definitely achievable.

How would you describe your fellow cohort?

There are 46 students in my class, which is a very good size. Everybody knows each other quite well now. We are very diverse internationally with a good mix of cultures and countries. There is a great variety of industries and experiences which make group projects very interesting. I also enjoy the interactive lectures where lecturers encourage us to share experiences from our work. I get very valuable insights from this.

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

The learning experience has been rewarding, and I find the overall quality very good. Depending on the lecturer and topic the classes are more or less participatory. Learning from the experiences of other students and their insights into different job, situations and industries is invaluable. Four days each month is a very short time for two subjects, so the content is very condensed.

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

Best thing is to go to the open day and get a feel for current students and staff. Ask for the timetable and speak to current students about their weekly workload. Be clear what to get out your MBA and choose a programme that suits you.