Richard Gregson

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Senior Manager in Products & Marketing, Santander UK

My first degree was a BA (Hons) in Business and I have spent my career to date ever since within the Financial Services sector.

My specific expertise, upon starting study at Lancaster was Asset Finance, helping clients to structure solutions to maximise their working capital and grow their business through investment in income generating assets, during the course I switched to a more marketing centric role within the Commercial and Corporate bank. Whilst my business degree background provided solid technical expertise I often felt under prepared to speak to customers on their level, where most were senior leaders of their own organisation. I also felt I needed to better improve my strategic thinking as many of my colleagues within the business I worked for had studied overseas, many having acquired their own MBA along the way; I wanted to address my perception of an education gap between customers or colleagues and myself.

I chose the Lancaster Executive MBA (EMBA) based on the format of the teaching, having previously studied only weekends and after work when undertaking my accountancy exams I knew it was not a best fit to my learning style. For this reason Lancaster’s day release teaching style, where one parcel of learning at a time was addressed suited me better, in addition I was impressed with the faculty and facilities when doing my research.  Doing the course full time in one year was not an option for me, with a young family and ongoing career to consider.

The EMBA course covered some topics I had good working knowledge of from my banking experience or my first degree. Some topics were completely new, either way the content I found to be nearly always relevant, dynamic and much of it was learning you could take away and experiment with by applying into a work place context straight out of lecture. The EMBA course also taught me that my skills are transferrable and that I should not just view myself as competent in banking, I am able to look wider across multiple industry sectors. In addition, issues I experience in the workplace I found from fellow EMBA students are common across other diverse organisations and sectors and are not limited purely to the banking sector.

The course demanded a lot of time; the volume of work was tough but the richness of the learning made this so worthwhile.

For me the highlights of the course included:

  • Foreign Elective – I and two other EMBA students joined the foreign study elective to Malaysia and Singapore, where we attended lectures and site visits to blue chip organisations in the region. For this trip we joined the full time MBA students, this was the highlight of my course and added an additional rich seam of learning to the two year experience.
  • Final Dissertation – where I undertook research into banking ethics and bonus culture. The research proved really enlightening in terms of the results I uncovered and the personal I journey I went on along the way of data gathering and extrapolation of the results. I had expected the dissertation to be a bind but it really brought so much of the learning together at the end of a long and rewarding piece of study.

Overall my MBA has taught me I have skills that can reach beyond my current role and at some point perhaps beyond my current industry. My confidence is stronger as a result of study and my broad business knowledge is enhanced and I find I can draw on classroom learning to solve issues tackled in the workplace, my bandwidth to juggle work and study, stretched for so long during the two-year study period has equipped me well to step up my capacity to lead work streams back in my day job. The Lancaster EMBA was a great journey, well worth the effort and sacrifice.