Country of origin: India
Senior Vice President, Research & Strategic Planning (Shipping), DVB
To take a year out pursuing a full-time MBA programme was a tough decision since I was doing relatively well as a senior merchant mariner, a profession that gave me immense job satisfaction. But I also knew that I was soon approaching a stagnant phase in my career that had to be overcome to drive further growth.
An MBA programme seemed a natural way forward in changing my outlook from a pure engineering domain to a career change into opportunities within the business world.
Value for money was a very important criterion in selection of schools. Lancaster, with its reputation for top-quality research and good MBA ranking, stood above the rest. Secondly, I was specifically looking at schools offering one-year programmes designed for experienced managers since I felt that the quality of interactions between class colleagues would add significantly higher value in the limited time frame.
Although I was a bit late in applying, I found the Lancaster MBA Office extremely helpful in providing me with information compared to other schools. The office patiently guided me through the entire process which included writing two essays, a GMAT examination and an interview even while I was away in China for a ship-building project.
The Lancaster MBA programme itself was extremely hectic, and the learning curve was steep. Before the MBA I would never have imagined writing up a business plan for a new venture, or creating strategy reports working on live industry issues for reputed global companies. I was even able to unearth hidden potential and competencies within myself for fields like Advanced Corporate Finance and Supply Chain Management.
But the most important aspect was that I was able to analyse myself for both hard and soft skills, and work on my weaknesses while enhancing my strengths. Intelligent interactions with class colleagues further helped in putting my ideas in perspective, providing me with an ideal environment to think critically.
My summer project was with British Vita, a global leader in polyurethane foam manufacturing. It involved looking at supply chain dynamics within the organisation and influencing strategy by employing collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment techniques. The project was a success and I, along with my project partner, was able to demonstrate improvements to the CEO through a pilot programme running on our tailor-made recommendations.
Throughout the year, I was given regular guidance – via the MBA Career advancement programme – on improving my job applications and a patient listening ear to numerous concerns about hurdles I faced during my job hunt. Focused improvements in my CV and covering letters finally paid off and I was rewarded with an offer from the Research and Strategic Planning Department at a leading investment bank in international transport finance. Graduating with an overall distinction in the MBA programme was the icing on the cake.
When I think about the Lancaster MBA, it brings back fond memories of learning with and from a set of competent individuals who played a very important role in transforming this merchant naval officer into a confident business manager. Success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get – the Lancaster MBA has undoubtedly provided me with both.