Dave Gallagher

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Head of Delivery Programmes (West Geography), Royal Mail

I joined Lancaster’s Full-time MBA course following six years as an officer in the British Army’s Royal Engineers. The MBA offered me an opportunity to prove that I could adapt my leadership skills to life outside the military and to equip myself with some of the latest management tools and approaches to apply to civilian business.

Lancaster is distinct from other MBAs in offering three opportunities to apply your learning to real business problems – an excellent way to broaden a CV. Through the 'Mindful Manager' approach, you develop your ability to learn by embarking on challenging assignments, then engaging in some facilitated reflection on your own performance to really understand what you do well and where you need to develop. The 'action-learning' approach is really powerful: you leave the MBA with the latest toolbox of management theory and with the skills to apply that theory to real problems, working with real people, and the confidence of having done it successfully on the MBA.

Diverse project experience

My assignments included producing a business plan for a start-up selling protective clothing, a marketing project for a leading recruitment consultancy and a strategy assignment for a small construction contractor. Each was challenging in different ways – different teams, different problems and different clients – and each offered different learning opportunities. The projects also help you to network outside the MBA and I still keep in touch with a couple of the clients I worked with during the course.

During the MBA, I developed a keen interest in how large organisations manage change, through the Organisational Behaviour and Leading Change modules in particular. This interest led me into Royal Mail, the UK’s postal operator, which is undergoing one of the largest and most challenging transformation programmes in Europe. 

My role focuses on implementing changes within the operation. It’s an area where your ability to lead, engage and deal with a complex group of stakeholders is key, and my time in Lancaster has proved fantastic preparation. The diversity of students on the MBA, together with the wide range of assignments you undertake, really helps you to see a problem from different perspectives and to use that understanding to lead diverse teams towards a common goal.