Edward Vaughan Dixon
"Coupled with their strong rankings performance and great facilities I knew this was the right school for me."
Programme: Executive MBA, 2015-2017
Pre-MBA: Sustainability Senior Manager, Mace, London
Post-MBA: Head of ESG: Real Assets, Aviva Investors, London
Current industry: Asset Management
Transitions made: Sector, Function
What was your role before you joined the Executive MBA?
I was working as a sustainability consultant with Mace Group, an infrastructure and real estate consultant and contractor.
I had started right at the bottom as a carpenter after leaving school, and was fed up with only seeing a small part of the development process.
I saw so much waste and wanted to get closer to the decision-making process to really create the change we need in the sector.
An Executive MBA programme felt like the right option for me to put a stamp on my CV and let prospective employers know I was a serious candidate.
Why did you choose the Bayes Executive MBA programme?
As I was living and working around the corner in the city, Bayes Business School offered an ideal location which meant I could attend classes straight after work.
After attending some sessions with the course team it was clear that the school had a good vibe, professional but warm and friendly. Coupled with their strong rankings performance and great facilities I knew this was the right school for me.
Initially, balancing work and study was a huge challenge. It was seriously punishing in the first year, but teaches you to manage your time and energy. In the first-year core modules were tough but rewarding to learn about new areas like finance and accounting, but I learned a lot more from the specialised electives in the second year.
These allowed me to focus on the subjects I wanted to explore further, but also play to my strengths. I chose to focus on strategy, change management and other ‘softer’ electives which have massively paid off in my career since the MBA.
One thing which differentiates Bayes is the careers team, who were invaluable and provided me with tools and techniques to generate insight about my strengths and weaknesses.
From there they helped me to develop a plan, showing me how to network, how to target the opportunities which fit your strengths, and how to sell myself in interviews.
At Bayes each cohort is exceptionally diverse, with students from a variety of backgrounds and industries.
It is representative of real life, as often in business you’re required to work intensively with people from different areas of the company or external stakeholders.
Working in groups with people from different nationalities and with different perspectives prepares you for the real world post-MBA and was enormously valuable.
What impact has the programme had on your career development?
The Executive MBA accelerated my career progression rapidly. Initially it enabled me to secure a position as Sustainability Manager at Landsec before I had even officially started the programme.
The fact I was enrolled on to the Executive MBA at Bayes Business School attracted their attention and helped to open doors.
Over the four years since graduation, I worked my way up to Sustainability Director in my previous company then made the move to asset management.
Today I am Head of ESG at Aviva Investors, and I’m responsible for overseeing sustainable investment for a £50bn real assets platform.
The Executive MBA was pivotal to achieving this as to get into financial services you really need CFA or MBA. But it also gave me the frameworks and perspective I needed.
Frameworks are useful short cuts which you pick up throughout the MBA which help you think about solving problems, and you gain perspective through the sheer breadth of the course content.
There is no way I would have been even invited to an interview at Aviva Investors without the MBA but once I was through the door it gave me the confidence and qualities I needed to secure the role.
I’ve never looked back since and am very happy in financial services, so I’ll always be grateful to Bayes for the quality of the course and the staff which helped me to get to where I am today.