Programme: Full-time MBA, 2017
Pre-MBA: Commissioned Officer (Submariner), Royal Navy, UK
Post-MBA: Client Service Manager, Baillie Gifford, Edinburgh, UK
Current industry: Finance
Transitions made: Function, Industry
Why did you choose to do the Cass MBA?
As a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Navy, my work experience was solely within the military. Having reached a point in my career where I was happy with my achievements and my time to leave was approaching, I suddenly felt a bit uncertain about how to communicate my skills from the armed forces. Although these skills were transferable, I had no traditional business experience.
I had an interest in economics and finance, and wanted some time to explore career options. Making such a career leap is a huge challenge, so I chose to do an MBA as a way of investigating potential new careers and gaining an intensive education in a broad range of subjects.
I chose Cass Business School as it is relatively finance-centric and has great connections in the City of London. Alongside my studies, this allowed me to gain work experience in industry with massive multinational corporations and some exciting new start-ups.
The teaching was fantastic. You are immersed in a wide range of subjects and every module has practical applications. At the end of each module, we would complete a practical week of assessments, spending time in industry applying the things we had learnt, which was invaluable. Learning by rote is not how people learn effectively – we learn by doing things.
How did you benefit from the programme?
Before the MBA, my network was quite limited. After starting the programme, I decided to make the most of the existing Cass network and met with people that had graduated, and now work in London, to learn about finance, economics and the industry. It helped me to work out what I wanted to do. The MBA started in September, and by November, I knew that I wanted to work in asset management. From that point, the MBA took on the role of helping me prepare for my new career.
I had written a list of the companies that I was interested in working for and, with the help of the network, narrowed my list down by December, understanding more about the different cultures and organisational structures of the places on my list.
Once I had decided on where to apply, the careers team were extremely helpful, particularly during the application process for my first role in asset management. Initially they helped me draft my CV and refine my application. Once the application had gone through successfully, they helped me with several mock interviews.
By March, I had done my first interview. By April, I had my second interview and was offered the position, which I accepted – all in time before completing my MBA.
The MBA gave me real confidence in my ability to understand business issues and apply them in a practical environment. It was a very worthwhile experience. It helped in every way I hoped it would. Professionally speaking, one of the life-changing things for me is that it ensured that I got into the right career straight away.