Saghar Kasiri

Saghar Kasiri Large

Programme: Modular Executive MBA 2017
Nationality: British
Current position: Senior Clinical Embryologist

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

Having worked in the field of fertility in the last 20 years, I have experienced working in both large and small Assisted Conception Units in both NHS and the private sector. The majority of fertility treatments are private, and those funded by NHS are subject to postcode lottery. Therefore, making this branch of medicine into an ever growing Health Care Business.

I have worked in clinics with excellent Health Care procedures and policies that, unfortunately, were not profitable businesses and hence they ceased existence. On the other hand, some clinics that are performing well as a business tend to let patients down on the Health Care part. In my opinion, fertility industry has to cater for all the three pillars of health, care and business to be successful. In recognizing this, I was very keen to narrow the gap between the fields of science/medicine and business, hence embarking on doing an MBA. What attracted me to CASS was its successful ranking in business worldwide and the reputation of the teaching excellence.

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

By doing MBA, I will be able to tackle some of the weakness in the industry that I am working. I will be looking to expand my knowledge, skills and competencies in all management areas. I am aiming to focus my future career either directly as a Healthcare Manager or indirectly as Healthcare Business Consultant.

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

The experience so far has been amazing. What is making this MBA a useful course for me is that I am able to participate in learning, development and growth with senior experienced and successful individuals. Cass provides me with an opportunity to learn and develop my knowledge provided by experienced staff in an environment shared with diverse and highly successful cohorts.

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

I am a mother with two young children, however I am extremely lucky to have a supportive husband who as an executive MBA graduate himself realises the benefits of doing this course. Unfortunately, the benefits of an MBA are both unknown and to some extent discouraged as irrelevant in the field of healthcare. I am currently the only female embryologist in the UK who is doing an MBA (according to my search). I could not sustain a full time post as Senior Clinical Embryologist while doing an MBA as most clinics are not willing to allow the four days per month time off for attending the course. Therefore, I have not only had to self-fund the MBA but also have had to work as a freelance Senior Clinical Embryologist so I could have the flexibility of attending the modular MBA course. It is hard work juggling family, work and studies however, with dedication and good time management it is possible.

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

Passing all 6 modules from the first semester and achieving good grades in most of the subjects!  I thoroughly enjoy the challenges of group assignments and very pleased with the intelligent and diverse cohorts in this course. The university facilities are also great and the administration and academic staff are very friendly and helpful. I am a student representative on the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) as well as being selected as representative on Student Experience Committee (SEC) of Cass Business School. As part of the latter I am also part of the Teaching & Learning Committee.

What has been the most challenging aspect?

My background is in science and medicine hence most of the MBA subjects are new to me with no previous background knowledge. This however make the subjects much more interesting to learn. The most difficult challenge is balancing family, work and studies. As an MBA student you have to dedicate around 15-20 hours per week of study time.

How would you describe your fellow cohort?

Intelligent, diverse, friendly and very helpful. Everyone pulled together for the exams and shared information, revision notes and past exam papers. I have already made great friends among the cohorts and this has only been in the first quarter of the two year course. There is a good mixture of academic backgrounds, it has been helpful having accountants and financial experts in the group assignments. They are all in successful senior roles so each one of them brings a great level of expertise and experience in to the group work.

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

As mentioned above the learning experience has been great, of course a large part of it is owed to the standard and calibre of the academic staff. They are not only knowledgeable in their subjects and the literature but also equipped with great experience in the business industry. They are very approachable and available to respond to our queries, concerns and questions.

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

As I live in London not having to travel very far has been very beneficial for me. It means that I can travel to University without the need of staying away from home and the family. Cass is based in the heart of the City and this paints the picture of what this MBA course is all about. It is very accessible through a number of train and underground stations walking distance from the business school.

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

In general I believe that MBA has much more to offer than just the academic knowledge. It is a safe environment where we can learn more about ourselves, our values and mission in life. There is a need for gender balance on MBA courses in general. More male students are present than female, this maybe due to a number of reasons including stereotyping. As women, the first and foremost is to believe in ourselves, in our capabilities and to set a clear vision of where we would want to be long term. Although not entirely, the gender gaps in most industries are thankfully narrowing. There are two battles that need to be acknowledged and managed; first the battle of self-belief and second the battle of stereotyping in the society. Battle of self-belief is about winning the inner voice, and the battle of stereotype is to win against the external voice. The only obstacle between us and our dreams is nothing but the voice. Once we can conquer this the journey of MBA would not seem so hard. In any case be prepared for hard work.