Soraya Sobh

"I never would have had that confidence or knowledge without the EMBA."

Soraya Sobh
Australian / Slovenian
Executive MBA, 2020
Founder, Artist management and music marketing agency
Post-MBA: Marketing Director (EMEA), Fender Music Instruments Corp
Current industry: Marketing / PR
Transitions made: Function

Why did you choose the Bayes Business School Executive MBA?

Choosing Bayes Business School was down to a combination of factors – people, money and standard of education. I wanted top tier formal training but also liked how Bayes had a large variety of disciplines in the cohort compared to some of the other London business schools I visited.

Coming from the entertainment industry, I also didn’t want to be surrounded by people who were all from a formal corporate background, but I also wanted to be exposed to people who had a variety of experience in different sectors.

Ultimately, your network that you gain from the MBA is undoubtedly the biggest value you can extract, so I was looking for variety in terms of gender and experience. I also really appreciated how it was based in central London which was much easier for me to balance with work.

I had been working as a Music Manager for many years and really struggled to understand the business model. I sensed monetisation was becoming more difficult in the music industry but was intrigued to understand why.

I was therefore curious to expand my knowledge and learn more about traditional business to see if that might help answer some unanswered questions.

I wanted to understand why things were becoming difficult with my own business and generally monetisation in the music industry.

The EMBA was able to give me that foundational knowledge and framework support within the first term which helped me identify that I was in the wrong role and ready for a much bigger change than I initially anticipated.

I also wanted to enhance my business skills and it really levelled me up quickly.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience on the Executive MBA?

Outside of the people, there were two standout moments from the EMBA. One was the professional development weekend, towards the end of the first year. It is so rare to get an opportunity to spend two days focused on your own personal career development, that it made that weekend invaluable.

The second, was the international consulting week in Colombia. What a fantastic experience, the food, the culture, the chance to put our learnings into real-life practice. It was such a once in a lifetime experience.

From the first term, I found the strategy electives super interesting and I found myself naturally gravitating towards the learning material.

I believe I have always been quite strategically minded but layering that thinking alongside structured frameworks and processes allowed me to really grow personally and professionally.

We worked on a lot of complex business models and explored them in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

Those learnings have also really helped me since graduating by identifying challenges and opportunities quicker and more clearly than before.

I remember being sat in a leadership meeting and someone was talking about how their business model is so complex and no one has ever done it before and I thought to myself, no one has done it before because it won’t work.

I could reference a handful of examples of logic behind why we should pivot and simplify the business model to succeed. I never would have had that confidence or knowledge without the EMBA.

Balancing full-time work and study wasn’t easy, but it’s also not meant to be.

Everyone has the same amount of time in the day, ultimately it comes down to what you prioritise. I prioritised myself and my education and now that the EMBA has come and gone, I am in a far better position career-wise for having made those decisions.

Hands down the best career decision I ever made was shifting my focus short term from career progression to long term personal development by doing the EMBA.

Finally, what impact has the Executive MBA programme had on your career development?

The Careers and Professional Development team were supportive, curious, encouraging and available throughout the EMBA. In particular Alexander Cross who deserves a medal!

Everything from helping me write my CV to mock interviews, they were always around to talk through anything I was thinking and made time when I needed it, they often connected me with people from other parts of the business school and cohorts.

They were one of the best resources I had available to me from the course.

A huge part of the benefit in studying at Bayes is the professional network you are able to create.

The people you meet are people you might never meet in life had you not been sat next to them in class but I have definitely walked away with two close friendships and a handful of people I will know for life.

I would probably be doing the same job I was when I started had I not completed the EMBA.

It gave me the confidence to realise that I wasn’t in the right role, but also that I could find a role more suitable for me. That’s pretty exceptional.