Video of an interview with Keith Grinsted at the 2012 Student of the year awards. He recieved the Alumni Award of Outstanding Contribution to Society.
(Edited transcript of the interview)
Right, well, back in the early 90s, which was when I actually did my MBA, I'd just completed a distance learning course for a road transport qualification, and the MBA came about because I was on a tube train out of London and I saw an Evening Standard sitting on the seat that somebody had left behind, and saw this advert for the MBA. When I looked at what was involved, it covered everything that I was doing. I was general manager of a company that was about 4 million turnover by then. And I thought, well, I know the practical side of running a business but I don't know the theory behind the management. Actually, The Open University turned me down to begin with because obviously the essence of doing a master's degree is that you should have A-levels and a first degree, and I didn't have any of those. I only had O-levels. So I had to go to an appeal committee and finally got accepted because although I didn't have the qualifications, I was actually doing, as my business, my work, what was covered in the course. Studying with The Open University gave me the flexibility to be able to do some distance learning and I could do it, stagger it over a number of years however I wanted, and fit it in with my work.
One of the things that I learned was something that was called helicopter vision, which was the ability to be able to sort of rise up above issues and look at the wider impact. That's been a significant help to me, and now I do a lot of work with people that have been made redundant, unemployed, and so I use the skills that I learned doing my MBA to help them to get their lives back on track and get some focus back in their lives.
No, I didn't find it distance learning at all, really, because, yes, you're working remotely, studying and such, but we had regular tutorials. We used to come into Cambridge for tutorials, and there was a tutor group. We became very, very good friends. We used to meet up. We used to do revision together. We even set up our own mock exams. We rented a village school and did our own mock exams and things like this. And then when we went on the residential courses, you then met another group of people as well. So the only downside, I guess, from then was that we didn't have the social media that there is now, so I guess now it's using Facebook, Twitter, things like that, you're even more connected to people than in those days.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, yeah, no doubt about it. I pitched in at the highest level and achieved it, and actually, in the tutor group that I was in, there was about 13 of us. I was the only one that didn't have A-levels, didn't have degrees, and I was convinced I wasn't going to be able to do it. But with The Open University, whatever your interests, whatever your level of interest, there's somewhere that you can pitch, somewhere that you can learn something new and fit it in with your daily life.
Keith Grinsted receiving his Alumni Award of Outstanding Contribution to Society from the Dean, Professor Rebecca Taylor.
The Open University, together with international partners, offers its MBA and many other programmes across the globe.