My Flexible MBA: 6 Months In

Elizabeth Garber Headshots-1006Around this time last year, Facebook (which seems to know me unnervingly well) insisted that I answer a question. I say it “insisted” because I tried to resist: yes, I’d been browsing MBA programmes and researching the effects of identity in the workplace, but no it was not a good time. In fact, by any rational measure, it was a decidedly terrible time to consider an MBA programme. My daughter was 1; I’d only recently gone back to full-time work and I was heavily committed to a voluntary position growing a Lean In community on the south coast of England. My Henley MBA-dream would have to wait.

And yet I clicked: algorithmically-tailored social media advertising did its job and reminded me that I’d set a dream aside until, finally, I sat down and wrote an essay that has altered the course of my life. I’m so glad I did.

Certainly, the extent of its implications depends on me: how much effort I put into the programme, what I choose to do when I graduate. But I’d like to give you 3 examples of what I’ve gained already.

Perspective

I’ve completed two modules so far (actually, that’s pending my Finance result so cross your fingers for me please). Drawing from the material and the interactions with my cohort, I’ve already developed a much broader appreciation for the complexities in my business, in other industries – even in the wider economy.

I find myself in awe of my colleagues – the challenges they navigate and the talent they display in doing so. It’s deepened my respect for them, which is a beautiful feeling. This has grown my capacity to understand inter-team dynamics and, coupled with the Finance module content, has helped me to recognise the effects that they have on financial results. In turn, this makes me a much better collaborator and contributor.

Self-Knowledge

Henley is renowned for its Personal Development and Careers programmes and, since I’m going through a career transition at the moment, this has already been invaluable.

I’ve developed a fuller understanding of my strengths, how I operate in a team, what drives me, and what makes me compelling.

I have leaned on Sarah, the careers coach for my programme, and she has helped (gently) evolve and stretch my thinking about the next step. I know she will continue to do so and I can’t thank the careers team enough for the impact they’ve had for me personally – even at this early stage.

Impact

Though it is certainly difficult to study while working full-time (and parenting!), there are demonstrable benefits to applying last night’s reading on-the-job today. Over the course of 2 modules, my cohort has had the opportunity to design new processes, analyse the effects of microeconomic conditions, critically-evaluate investments and budgeting systems – even the way that we measure success. Now, we are exploring strategies for translating human capital into competitive advantage.

The recommendations conceived in assignments, grounded in rigorous research and analysis, have enormous potential to transform businesses.

Personally, I find daily opportunities to translate theory into practice and look forward to implementing as many as possible throughout my career.

The Henley MBA has already evolved my outlook, broadened my thinking, and convinced me of its potential to add rocket-fuel to any career. I could not be more grateful to the Financial Times, the 30% Club, and Henley Business School for the scholarship programme that brought me here. By promoting women and men who value inclusion, this programme will compound the positive effects of Henley’s international MBA community. Perhaps that could be another blog post…

Elizabeth Garber is a marketing strategist and change-leader at Ordnance Survey where her team works to develop capabilities and propositions that support international governments to leverage geospatial data for economic and social development. She was awarded the 2017 Women in Leadership scholarship, sponsored by the Financial Times, 30% Club, and Henley Business School and has nearly completed Stage 1 of her Flexible Executive MBA. 

To enter the Women In Leadership MBA scholarship competition for 2018 please click here: http://hly.ac/WiLscholarship

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