"Having embarked on the MBA journey, I now have friends for life and access to a network of 50,000 alumni around the world I can reach out to if I need advice, an introduction or even do business with."
Nationality: French / British
Programme: Executive MBA, 2017
Pre-MBA: Senior Marketing Manager, Sylvania Lighting
Post-MBA: Managing Partner, ACC.VC & 16th Ventures
Current industry: Consulting
Transitions made: Function, Industry
Why did you choose the Bayes Business School Executive MBA?
Before joining Bayes Business School’s two-year Executive MBA programme in September 2015, I was stuck in an interesting yet unchallenging corporate job as a Senior Marketing Manager in the Lighting industry.
Something had to change and by coincidence, I had a discussion with a friend who had done an MBA in France and recommended to me to do the same so that I could further my career development. Following his advice, I researched and met with various business schools in London.
My goal was to use the degree to move up the corporate ladder, but I recognised that I was lacking some of the competence and soft skills to be able to break through.
The challenges I faced included my lack of strategic and financial skills along with leadership skills, which I knew I would need in order to progress to Director or even better, a Board position.
As it turned out, I did learn these skills and more, but they led me onto an entrepreneurial path instead! A number of reasons led me to choose Bayes:
- The location: I was working in the City of London and wanted to find a business school between my work and home so I could make the evening classes work with an already busy life.
- The diversity: I also wanted to be part of a school where multiple worlds meet - finance, strategy and startups. Only Bayes could offer such a vibrant and exciting mix within London.
- The small size of cohorts: this meant that I could properly get to get to know all my fellow students and really benefit from their wealth of experience.
- The strong and active alumni community around the world with many events and people to tap into was a huge benefit of studying at Bayes.
What did you enjoy most about the Executive MBA at Bayes?
Finding like-minded people with a thirst to learn while having a great time. Our lively debates during classes as well as all the alumni events. From an academic point of view, our group projects were challenging while providing a great learning curve for me.
As for classes, many come to my mind for various reasons:
- Strategic leadership with Professor Gianvito Lanzolla - he made case studies come to life thanks to his rich experience (a perfect fit he would say);
- Financial Markets and Instruments with Professor Steve Thomas – he had a great way of teaching;
- Analytics For Business with David Smith – he taught topics that (I at least) found difficult in such an easy to understand manner that anyone could understand them.
Obviously, our consulting week abroad in Chile was a great highlight of the first year. This one week of intense, sometimes challenging consulting, was a fascinating insight on what my future life would be.
In terms of electives, my strategy was to partake in as many as possible, whether they would be marked for grades or not.
- I particularly enjoyed the Mergers & Acquisition elective with Professor Scott Moeller, who intelligently mixed group exposes with his experience, to teach the many aspects of M&A.
- New Ventures Creation with Professor Costas Andriopoulos and the Silicon Valley elective, where we met with multiple startups, incubators, banks, and other actors of the Silicon Valley ecosystem marked the moment I began contemplating launching my own business.
At this point in time, I made the decision to eventually quit my corporate job and change the topic of my dissertation to one related to entrepreneurship with just one and a half months before having to hand it in… so, you could say the electives lead to a life and career changing move that I couldn’t be more happy with.
Balancing a full-time job, personal life and an executive MBA is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Sometimes the planets would align and you would meet all your work and study goals or successes, other times you would find yourself falling behind trying to balance it all.
For me and many fellow students, the study groups were one thing that made it easier to handle the pressure as you can rely on someone else at times while leading at others times.
How has the Executive MBA impacted your career development?
In a much more substantial way than I was expecting. I have met many friends for life and learned a lot while also enjoying the experience.
The investment I made in myself is paying dividends in many ways. I co-founded two boutique consultancies for startups and SMEs in both the UK and France that I currently manage.
We are the only ones specialised in ‘Flash’ consulting which aims to accomplish what the companies have been putting off for months or even years, to provide them with concrete and rapid answers to their strategic and operational challenges and to establish a short and medium-term action plan to formalise and rethink their objectives.
We offer corporate and business strategy, marketing strategy and management, and financial management and modelling.
Having embarked on the MBA journey, I now have friends for life and access to a network of 50,000 alumni around the world I can reach out to if I need advice, an introduction or even do business with. On many occasions I reached out and got the help I needed, in many others I also responded and helped out.
The help of the Careers and Professional Development team has come through many important ways: from listening and making me reflect on the possible outcomes that I could undertake to further my career, to advising me on which workshops I should partake in to develop my soft skills and to hosting great mixers.
I guess I had underestimated the importance of the workshops and how they helped me grow personally and professionally. Some that I would recommend are Executive Presence, the How To Take Charge Of Your Career Weekend or Team Transition and Transformation.
What advice would you give to prospective Executive MBA candidates at Bayes?
My first advice is to figure out why you want to follow an MBA. Do you want to fast-track your corporate career, do you want to take a new turn and pursue a new role or enter a new industry, or do you want to become an entrepreneur and use the course to launch a new venture or advance an existing idea?
My second piece of advice would be to meet with the school teams, current students, and alumni so you can get to know them and get different opinions about their experiences of undertaking the MBA. From that, you will be able to make a more informed opinion on Bayes Business School and what the MBA course looks like and how it will fit around your personal and work life.
Finally, I would recommend you entering this unique life experience with an open mind, a thirst for learning and wanting to see your ideas being shaken down to the core.
In my case, I had originally planned to pursue a corporate life but ended reinventing myself as an entrepreneur, I also got to meet people I would never have and can now count some of them as dear friends.