Country of origin: United Kingdom
Assistant Director, Integrated Working, Middlesbrough Council
Richenda completed her MBA while working in a senior management role for Plymouth City Council, and here reflects on how she applied the learning from the Lancaster Executive MBA to that role.
I am the Head of Services, Strategic Planning and Children’s Trust Business and Acting Assistant Director for Commissioning, Policy and Performance in Plymouth City Council Services for Children and Young People. I have management of 51 members of staff, a budget of £4.5m and, through commissioning, influence over re-shaping of services to the value of over £40m.
The EMBA programme was recommended to me because of the strong emphasis on ensuring that the learning is linked back to the employing organisation. I was attracted by the high research rating and the evaluation by the Financial Times. I was also looking for a modular-based course as that suits my learning style, and I wanted the interaction and cross-learning with students from a broad range of organisations, particularly from the private sector as well as the public sector.
Lancaster fulfilled my brief and met my expectations. I enjoyed the intensity of learning away from my work environment – it was fun being back on a campus. I found the course made me think differently about my work and how the learning could be taken back into the organisation. I became much more questioning. In particular I enjoyed researching within my organisation for the assignments and dissertation and having the opportunity to experiment with different ways of thinking and analysing information. It gave me the opportunity to investigate in areas that otherwise I may not have become so involved with.
One particularly memorable part of the programme was the Consultancy Challenge in the second year. Working as a team of four, we were asked to undertake a marketing project for a large format printer for an SME print and design company. This required us to establish the project parameters quickly, agree team roles and within three-and-a-half days ensure that we had met the client’s brief. We planned and executed a presentation to two audiences, the client and the university.
We had to project plan those few days to ensure that we extracted the maximum information for the client and relate that to our learning on the EMBA. It was a successful and enjoyable experience that stretched us all and definitely lived up to its title of being a challenge.