Robert Hales

" I was very fortunate to be supervised by a professor who combined deep practitioner experience from his career in investment banking with a reputation as a leading academic in this field."

Robert Hales
Modular Executive MBA, 2016
Pre-MBA: Head of Transformation, Serco UK & Europe, London, UK
Aviation & Maritime Services Director, Serco, London, UK
Current industry:
Aerospace & Defence
Transitions made: Function

Why did you choose the Modular Executive MBA at Bayes Business School?

I had been working in strategy and transformation roles for several years, after starting my career in strategy consulting with PwC.

I wanted to move into a general management role with profit and loss ownership and saw the Executive MBA as a stepping stone to make this career transition and accelerate my professional development.

I chose Bayes Business School based on its reputation as an excellent business school with strong Full-time and Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes. I wanted to do the EMBA from London, for personal reasons and because I felt it would attract a stronger and more international cohort.

It was particularly important for me that the EMBA cohort was highly international and from a range of industries, given the amount of learning that comes from the cohort as well as the academic programme.

My Scandinavian colleagues taught me some valuable lessons about the benefits of a more ‘direct’ style than comes naturally to many British people in business!

The Bayes EMBA was also the most practical programme to manage the in-person course requirements on top of a demanding job, with the structure based around one long weekend of in-person attendance per month and the remaining time working remotely.

What was your experience of studying on the Executive MBA at Bayes?

The EMBA was very demanding on top of work, particularly as I combined the first year of the programme with a new role, relocating my home and my first child arriving!

You need to develop really strong routines and keep on top of the work, particularly as you head towards exam times when you need to clear away the coursework to focus on the exams.

The balance of work also varied between modules, depending on the level of teamwork involved in the module. This can’t be underestimated – the challenge of quickly forming a team of strong characters, with no natural hierarchy and all working around demanding careers and home lives.

However, it was also among the most rewarding elements of the EMBA, when those teams came together to deliver a great output and learn from each other.

I chose a Business Mastery Project (BMP) based on post-merger integration. I had worked in mergers and acquisition as a strategy consultant and had been involved in post-merger integration in industry, so I wanted to broaden out this experience.

I was very fortunate to be supervised by a professor who combined deep practitioner experience from his career in investment banking with a reputation as a leading academic in this field.

It was a valuable opportunity to dive deeper into a subject and I have returned to the BMP several times as a guide when developing merger and acquisition projects since completing the EMBA.

I didn’t give much focus to the Professional Development offer when I was selecting Bayes for my EMBA, but it turned out to be one of the most valuable elements of the programme.

I would strongly encourage you to make the most of this offer and listen to the feedback of your cohort and others about which workshops are most useful.

For me, the negotiation skills workshop was excellent, offering a structured environment to develop and practice skills, and a set of practical tools that I still reference when preparing for important negotiations.

How has the Modular Executive MBA impacted your career development?

The EMBA gave me a springboard to take the next step in my career as I moved into a general management role during the programme and took on a profit and loss owning role immediately after completing the EMBA.

While I stayed within the same industry and with the same company, it helped me to achieve the career transition of moving from a ‘HQ’ strategy role into leading a business.