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Michael Jack Pollard
Pursuing the MBA was a rewarding experience that provided me with an additional challenge, sense of accomplishment, and the intellectual stimulation I sought.
After working at an Executive level for many years in Switzerland and Asia, the MBA has provided Michael with various skills and knowledge that have helped him sustain his position as an Executive in a competitive work environment.
Michael explains why the MBA worked around his busy work life.
Flexible and accessible learning
The programme offers a range of specialisations, such as Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Finance, Innovation, and Marketing, which helped me tailor my education to my career goals of continuing as a Chief Operations Officer.
I was reassured that the MBA is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) at level 7, which is a mark of quality. This ensures that the programme meets high education and professional development standards that are transferable to industrial practice.
The programme is designed to be flexible and accessible, which has suited my busy executive lifestyle. As well as the specific features and benefits of the programme appealing to me, it was one of the best value-for-money courses I could find. As this was entirely self-funded through years of hard work and savings, it was essential that the means justified the end.
"After 15 years working in Switzerland and Asia, it springboarded an opportunity for me to take up another Chief Operations Officer position in the UK that required candidates to have an MBA."
Designed to benefit you personally and professionally
Professionally, the MBA has provided me with a variety of skills and knowledge that help sustain my position as an executive in my competitive work environment. This included evolving my 23 years of practical experience in leadership and management skills to learning more about strategic decision-making theory.
Pursuing the MBA was a rewarding experience that provided me with an additional challenge, a sense of accomplishment, and intellectual stimulation. It was an opportunity to learn from experienced professors, engage in stimulating discussions, and expand one’s worldview from an academic lens to accompany my industrial practitioner’s experience. Additionally, the MBA has helped me develop a deeper understanding of myself, my values, and my career goals, which can benefit personal growth and fulfilment.
Supporting your journey
Working in industry for many years, the tutors all played pivotal roles in my transition to adapt to academic work. They offered their experience to ensure I was on the right track.
The support I received was thorough and greatly appreciated, from top tips, online presentations and one-to-one sessions through skills study plus.
The online facilities were excellent and easy to navigate and obtain valuable information. However, I did spend a lot of time navigating the systems when I started the course, which is critical to maximise the experience.
Course content to compliment your role
After 15 years working in Switzerland and Asia, it springboarded an opportunity for me to take up another Chief Operations Officer position in the UK that required candidates to have an MBA.
My current employer will benefit from my desire to study further for a DBA in which I can choose a unique topic applicable to specific leadership traits and their application in crisis management.
Top tips for students
It’s crucial to spend time navigating the online learning systems – click and press – you will not break the system. It’s surprising how quickly the learning management system becomes second nature. Then spend 15-20 mins a day for one week just clicking anywhere to explore.
Add all the critical deadlines into your calendar on your phone and synch with other devices – setting up reminders. I also blocked off my calendar with a certain amount of time per day dedicated to my study.
Download the ARU and Canvas student apps to your phone/tablet, enabling easy reading of announcements/discussions. In essence, it simplifies keeping abreast of these critical bulletins.
I have developed a daily chat with a fellow student on MS Teams, and we discuss things we may have missed, clarify points, and bounce ideas off one another.
Watch the pre-recorded video tutorials; surprisingly, there are hidden tips and tricks.
Start to understand what program you will use for referencing and in-text citations. Referencing is a timely and tricky task, so look to automate the process as much and as early as possible.
Create the framework for your Action Research report and send it to your tutor for feedback. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage, but seeing the sections, headings, and subheadings and formatting them as heading 1, 2 and 3 etc., helps direct focus.
Check out Study Skills Plus. I did Cite Them Right Harvard, RefWorks and Academic Writing Skills 1 & 2.
Take advantage of a 1-1 with a librarian to see if you have maximised your search for the relevant literature.
Consistency is key it’s easier to do 2-3 hrs per days than it is to do 10-15hrs at the weekend. Make the plan and stick to it, set high standards and goals for yourself.
Lastly, you will do exceptionally well if you approach it with dedication, , and an open mind.
This really needs to be emphasised more (it is critical) as it wasted most of the tutorial time because a) Students didn’t know the systems b) in many instances I had to correct the tutors on the use of the systems. Whilst I attended all the tutorials based on the modules listening to students ask the most basic questions wasted a lot of time and this happened week on week. I cannot emphasise enough how learning the systems is critical not just in this course but in industrial practice too.
To me the consistency is key it’s easier to do 2-3 hrs per days than it is to do 10-15hrs at the weekend. Make the plan and stick to it, set high standards and goals for yourself.
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Sharpen your skills
It has broadened my knowledge and changed my approach to problem solving. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn new things and look at issues through a different lens.
Achieve your goals
My experience has been such a positive one, with many highs and lows. The experience has shaped me for future study and given me skills for life, both personally and professionally.