Nigel Curry

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Chief Executive, Rhead Group

When I started the EMBA programme I was working for BAE Systems but I have since become Chief Executive of the Rhead Group, a privately-owned project management consultancy.

The firm has specialised in the construction industry for more than 20 years and grown organically in capability to reach an annual turnover of circa £20m. We currently employ 230 people from our offices in Warwick, Bolton, Plymouth and Johannesburg.

I decided to join the Executive MBA at Lancaster due to its excellent ratings and its focus on active learning. This, coupled with the School’s international guest speaker schedule and healthy links with industry, demonstrated a very credible course.

As an engineer charged with running and developing a project management business, I realise it is important to ensure you don’t always make decisions from an engineering bias. It is often better to make the right commercial or strategic decision with an appreciation of the resulting engineering implications. The EMBA provided me with the ability to look at challenges and opportunities through different lenses. In particular, it encouraged me to reflect on issues before making decisions. This soft skill is as important as listening – without it you may not truly understand what you are deciding upon!   

Many people discuss work-life balance and how they are looking to find a better solution. If this is the case, I would not suggest you undertake an MBA. Being candid, the MBA does take a lot of time and effort and must only be attempted with strong support from your family and employer.

For me, I found the hours invested enjoyable. I have a strange thirst for information, and even prior to my MBA would be found reading a book on strategy or leadership on holiday. I think you need to have this hunger if you are serious about completing the EMBA and gaining the full value from the learning acquired.

That said, it is an amazing journey which I very much enjoyed. A good phrase that I believe in is that ‘success is the result of attitudes, and attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought’. I believe the Lancaster EMBA gives you a set of habits which you can use in the business world to view challenges and opportunities.

That has certainly been the case in my role with the Rhead Group. Over the next five years we’ll be taking a new approach to growth, and making two or more acquisitions to support our entry into new markets and provide us with broader operational coverage.

I wish all those who take part in the Lancaster EMBA or MBA every success.