Name: Ieuan Friend
Degree and university: BSc (Hons) Computer Science, 2.1, Durham University
MBA, Cranfield University
Did you come into postgraduate study straight from graduating? MBA is a postgraduate business degree that generally requires a minimum of 5 years work experience, so I didn’t start my MBA until I was 27. Prior to starting the MBA, I worked in an IT software development firm, where I had been the Managing Director for the past two years.
Why did you decide to continue your studies? The MBA is the premier management qualification, and will enable me to change careers into a different industry without throwing away my years of accumulated experience. I chose an MBA over other Masters courses because of the breadth of knowledge learnt and its practical applications.
How did you fund your postgrad study? Through a combination of self-funding and family support. I also received a scholarship from Cranfield which helped a lot.
How does it differ from studying for your degree? There is a lot of self-study required in addition to the taught lectures. Nearly every lecture involves some pre-preparation in the form of a case study and many of the assignments are group assignments. It is simply not possible to do all the work by yourself and I have to trust others to work on my behalf. There is literally no spare time during the course, and I grab every minute I can to work on assignments and lecture preparation. We are placed in learning teams in which we discuss case studies together and the teams act as an excellent support group to get you through the course. The concept of learning teams enhances our team working skills and our ability to deal with the inevitable politics and conflicts.
How do you think postgrad study will help your career? The MBA as a qualification is highly respected by employers, and will enable me to switch industries without starting again at the bottom of the career ladder. Also the breadth of business knowledge and soft skills that I have learnt have given me a significant confidence boost, and will help me approach business problems from a completely new perspective. I expect to recoup the investment in myself very quickly from a career perspective.