Cathy Kidero, from Kenya, tells us about her experience of the MBA at Strathclyde...
What were you doing before the MBA?
Before joining the MBA, I had recently left a 9-year career in the banking industry to join a start-up in microfinance. I left the bank as a relationship manager for high net-worth clients and took on a role as a credit manager at the microfinance company.
What made you take the programme?
Two reasons for pursuing an MBA: Firstly, my duties at the start-up were overlapping with supporting the general manager. In the roles I held at the bank, all were centred around your role-specific knowledge, whereas now I was required to have a broad knowledge and understanding of business and management issues. I decided that an MBA will bridge the gap perfectly between increasing my knowledge in all areas of business with my current professional experience.
Secondly, I wanted an opportunity for self-development. The MBA experience does just that. I can develop management skills and techniques, while at the same time harness my soft skills like presenting, critical thinking, communication and teamwork.
I chose Strathclyde because of the ranking of their full-time MBA – I used this as an indicator of the diversity offered in the teachings, as well as the calibre of students I would be learning from.
What has been your experience of the classes to date?
The MBA experience has been continuously pushing me to my limits, academically and personally. So far, all the modules have given me a better understanding of businesses by bringing together academic theories and real-life experiences. For example, in Operations Management we looked at how an organisation designs their process/product operations. All this was brought together when we took a field trip to the Rolls Royce site that deals with their engine and turbines.
The classes are structured in such a way that you have adequate time for peer discussions, which I have found is where much of the learning takes place. The environment nurtures a free flow of exchanging ideas, further developing our communication skills.
What are you looking forward to over the rest of your studies?
I am looking forward to the modules and my chosen electives that are dealing with Strategy – Making Strategy, Strategy Analysis, and Strategy Planning. As I plan post-MBA, I would like to be able to obtain the relevant skills and knowledge to be an adaptive strategic thinker and leader. So far, I have identified the “lenses” to which one can develop a sustainable strategy and looking forward to incorporating that into my dissertation.
So far, the course has captured all the essentials required in understanding a business, which I can directly input into my future, be it if I start my own business or return into managerial role in a corporate setting. I am more confident in taking on the next step in my career.
Additionally, due to the COVID19 pandemic and the delivery of learning online, I believe this is preparing us for the practicality of how businesses will be operating in the near future, where we have had to adjust to the changes quickly.
What is it like to be a student at Strathclyde and in the city of Glasgow?
Glasgow is such a friendly, beautiful city. I can endorse that “People Make Glasgow” is true and not a marketing ploy. Despite there being five major universities in the city, there is a perfect balance of students and professionals/locals. I like the fact that Strathclyde Business School is located close to the city centre and has updated modern facilities.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Be open to the MBA experience. The course is demanding and requires good management of time for the full 12-month period. Keep in mind that one of the biggest challenges in group work is understanding individuals, and strive to do that by listening first, and then contributing. I have also found that what you put in is what you get out, so engage with professors in class and during their office hours to maximise your learning experience. The administration staff are also extremely approachable and eager to help.
Lastly, push yourself beyond your comfort zone -
You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.
― Roy T. Bennett