Peter O'Dowd

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Business Consultant & Programme Director, The Nichols Group

Peter O’Dowd is a Strategic Business Change specialist. He is a great example of someone using the Lancaster MBA to uplift his career whilst building on his experience before the MBA.

Peter started his career in traditional civil engineering (after a degree in the subject) and spent the first 14 years of his career designing and delivering projects across various sectors in the UK, Middle East and Asia. During this period Peter became professionally chartered and developed a sound understanding of the challenges involved in the delivery of projects with multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams. He also learned more than he bargained for when finding himself trapped in Kuwait for five months during the invasion in 1990.

Towards the end of this 14-year period Peter was finalising a contract in the Sultanate of Oman when he decided that a year away from engineering studying an MBA would be a sound investment of his time.

He spent some time researching MBA courses in the UK, considering Manchester, Warwick, Cranfield and Lancaster - based on their rankings. After some deliberation Peter chose Lancaster for a number of key reasons: good return on investment, location, international uptake, research excellence, and a focus on the “softer” elements of management which better complement an engineering background.

After an insightful year on the Lancaster MBA, Peter moved into business consulting, specialising in business performance and the delivery of change through optimal programme and project management. He gets involved in delivering, improving, assuring and reviewing complex programmes or projects across a diverse range of sectors including: pharmaceuticals; property; transport; financial services, IT and central, regional and local government.

Peter has been involved in some of the UK’s most high-profile, politically-sensitive projects (e.g. BBC Property Change programme, London 2012, Thames Gateway and Royal Air Travel). He was also successfully selected, through competitive process, to be one of a number of experts who represent the Office for Government Commerce (OGC) in their Gateway Review© process. The OGC, which is part of HM Treasury, uses this process to assure the success of the Government's highest risk programmes and projects. Since being selected, Peter has reviewed, and made formal recommendations, on a number of high-value, politically sensitive programmes.