Name: James Slaughter
Degree and university: English, Portsmouth University, MBA, Tanaka Business School, Imperial College, London
Did you come straight into postgrad study from being an undergraduate?
No. The Executive MBA was always part of my long-term career plan. However, to get the most from the programme a reasonable level of business experience is vital. I viewed my formative employment years as an apprenticeship before using the MBA to accelerate my career.
Why did you decide to continue your studies?
The MBA gives students detailed insight into critical business issues, from finance to marketing to leadership. Additionally I could see the advantage of learning new skills and developing more advanced tools to help progress my career. The qualification is regarded as the benchmark business qualification; the quality of the institution is important as well.
How did you fund your postgrad study?
A 50/50 split with my then employer – the part-time mode of study is particularly useful as lessons learnt can be transferred to the working environment immediately.
How different was it from undergraduate study?
Very different! The student body is more focused on getting as much as they can from the learning experience. That means there’s a lot more collaboration with academics. The MBA was very interactive, with many real life case studies and lots of open debate rather than textbook study.
Do you think your postgrad study has helped your career?
Absolutely. I now feel I have a broader range of skills; a clearer understanding of how business issues affect different organisations in different ways; and a whole new set of business contacts. The most useful element has been gaining the ability to talk with senior management in their language.
Do you have any advice for students considering postgrad study?
Explore all available funding opportunities. Worrying about living costs will detract from the experience. Have a good understanding of how the study will fit with your overall career ambitions – does it really help you climb the ladder faster or would a period of employment be better?