I would describe myself as a serial entrepreneur. One who has created over a dozen successful retail start-up businesses. After a long retail career, I have now sold my retail business interests and work as a business consultant and adviser with my company Bright Perspectives. I work mainly with SME’s, helping them to develop the full potential of their businesses.
I graduated with my MBA in 2000. I chose The Open University Business School as I did not have a first degree, and I had heard much about them being an effective organisation. I first studied for the Certificate of Management and then the Professional Diploma in Management before progressing to the MBA.
At times during my studies, I was very busy working in operations management for major retailers including Woolworths and British Shoe Corporation; at other times I was equally busy creating my own business start-ups. During one particularly hectic period I had to take some time out to bed in a new start-up before re-commencing my studies. One of the benefits of studying with The Open University is the ability to be able to organise your studies around all the other things going on in one’s life. I was very motivated to complete my studies, and even though it would have been very easy at times to drop out, I believe that Open University students are made of sterner stuff – so we don’t give up!
The highlights of my studies were the marks and feedback that I looked forward to with every completed TMA. Even more rewarding was the successful passing of the eleven courses that made up my MBA. Although I was enjoying a successful entrepreneurial business career when I first thought of studying with The Open University, I actually commenced my studies during a low point in my business life. I had experienced an unexpected failure in one of my businesses and needed to get to grips with this new experience. The energy that my studies required really helped me to repair my damaged ego and renew my business focus. It was really therapeutic. My subsequent businesses succeeded, and although I had practical business experience in spades, the back-up of having such comprehensive academic business knowledge in my tool-set really boosted my confidence. I felt the equal of any business or professional personality, because I now had at my fingertips a rounded, robust and thorough knowledge and understanding of the whole business environment.
As an entrepreneur operating my own businesses, I have had the opportunity to effectively use my MBA-gained skills and knowledge in so many ways. My studies had really widened my business horizons. I have found that my studies have given me a real thirst for learning: not only in the area of business, but also in my many other fields of interest.
I had the benefit of learning from the experience of a number of tutors during my studies. They were very different personalities, all of them. They all shared one quality, however, which was that they all brought valuable insights from their differing business backgrounds and perspectives to bear on the subject at hand. Furthermore, what each one brought to my studies was a sense of fun, creativity, inspiration and sheer enjoyment in learning – and a real lasting motivation and commitment to continuous learning.
Fellow colleagues on my courses were a delight. It was great to share notes and experiences with so many people, all of whom had different business and life backgrounds. It was impossible not to learn from them! This was especially true for me, as being an entrepreneur in one’s own business can sometimes be an isolating experience.
I remain immensely proud of my study achievements gained with the help of The Open University. I am now an associate lecturer with The Open University Business School and I enjoy and relish the opportunity to pass on my business insights and experience to a whole new cohort of retailers and entrepreneurs.
The Open University, together with international partners, offers its MBA and many other programmes across the globe.