I am a 2009 Open University Business School MBA Graduate.
I’m 42 years of age and live in Colchester with my wife Renata and have one son of 19 years of age who is reading English at Royal Holloway, University of London.
I am currently a Change Assurance Manager with RBS Group and have been with that organisation for the past 20 years. Prior to which I worked for Midland Bank (now HSBC) and Westpac Banking Corporation, an Australian Merchant Bank.
As well as completing MBA, I also have project management qualifications through the Association for Project Management APMP, management qualifications, again through The Open University, Banking Qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a BTEC Business and Finance Diploma back in the days when I was young and pretty!
Having undertaken some specific training courses and qualifications throughout my career, I started looking into ways to improve my CV and add broad and credible qualifications to augment my expansive experience, making myself more marketable inside and outside of Royal Bank of Scotland. It didn’t really take long to realise that MBA was the qualification to have and I set about looking at the various study options.
My organisation were unlikely to support the full MBA cost in one chunk and regular day release or flexible working were not options at the time, plus I didn’t have twenty grand tucked behind the sofa, all of which made my ambition more difficult to fulfil. I chose The Open University as it was one of the few learning organisations that could cater for my specific learning criteria: self study/distance learning, modular based, flexible and with an affordable fee structure.
I started off by doing the Professional Certificate in Management and then the Professional Diploma in Management back to back, to get a head start on the core competencies, to acclimatise myself with the method of study and to also test whether I could actually manage to work full-time and study at the same time. I actually found the work/life balance manageable and surprisingly found the study to be considerably less taxing than I had imagined, which was probably due to having extensive work experience against which the dry theories of text book could be applied.
Having passed these two qualifications, I decided to commit to starting and completing the core MBA modules. As I have mentioned, I very much favoured the modular approach and the flexibility of the OUBS as it allowed me to study 6 months on and six months off. My idea was to continue training for and competing in triathlon events during the summer months and then to study during the wet and dark months of November to May. The plan worked perfectly and although I could have completed the MBA in a much more compressed time, the flexibility allowed me to enjoy all aspects of life, work and study without going crazy or feeling the need to inject heroin into my eyeballs!!
Doing an MBA mid-career was definitely the best option as the combination of real life experience and theory went well together and in fact made the work much easier, an advantage that some of my younger fellow students did not have. Conversely, quite a lot of the acquired knowledge from the course seemed to become almost instantly applicable to what I was doing at work at that particular time, a phenomenon that the philosopher Karl Yeung referred to as ‘Synchronicity’ and produced quite a few ‘wow’ moments, when the MBA penny really dropped for me.
I continued with my study plan as anticipated and was also lucky enough to get funding from my employer on a modular basis and 10 days study leave per year in recognition of the fact that I was studying for an advanced qualification in my own time, that would ultimately benefit the business. In September 2009 I submitted by final paper and in May of this year attended the grandiose graduation ceremony at the Barbican in London, where I don’t mind admitting that I reflected, probably for the first time, on all the forty-odd assignments and ten or so exams and felt very proud of myself.
In summary, the format, course make-up, learning style, flexibility and cost all worked well for me. I encountered no problems, understood and learnt from all I did, I am applying the acquired knowledge daily and of course, critically, I now have an MBA.
I have recommended the MBA course, the Management Qualifications and the Open University in general to pretty much anyone who wanted to listen to me and I know at least 3 friends and colleagues who are following the same route I have. But for now I am an officially retired student, my Student Union card has expired and I am having to pay full price at the cinema. Also I can safely say that I have spent enough time studying, but as the phrase goes, ‘never say never’.
The Open University, together with international partners, offers its MBA and many other programmes across the globe.