MBA (full-time)Claire Jenkins

Claire is a student on our full-time MBA. Claire tells us about the transition from her role in the Royal Navy to a Strathclyde Business School student...

What led you to studying the MBA at Strathclyde?

I was a warfare officer on submarines in the Royal Navy. My role involved navigation, analysing intelligence, operational planning, and co-ordinating operations teams at sea. I had reached a stage in my career where my personal values no longer aligned with those of the organisation, and I recognised it was time to move on. I was not entirely sure what to do after leaving the military. I knew whatever I transitioned to would be a substantial change and wanted to equip myself in the best way possible. I have a lot of team and leadership experience from being in the military, but my wider business knowledge was seriously lacking. I knew an MBA would be a useful way of gaining new skills whilst giving myself time to decide on a new career direction.

My partner and I lived on the west coast of Scotland at the time and moving was not an option. I got accepted by business schools in both Glasgow and Edinburgh but ultimately the combination of commute time and a recommendation from a Strathclyde MBA alum swayed me. The decision to do an MBA was quite short notice for me, (compared to many whom I know had been planning it for years) so it was only possible with the help of the Dean's Excellence Award Scholarship, which I was offered because of my leadership experience.

What has been your experience of the classes?

Coming from a non-business background, I struggled initially as there were so many ideas and concepts with which I was totally unfamiliar with. The first half of the course was online as well, and I struggle to learn without a face-to-face connection. My favourite parts of the course academically were around Strategy Making, Diversity and Inclusion, and People Management – which I know will all be relevant in my future career.

Classes aside, the MBA team organised several extremely useful skills sessions, around topics such as negotiating, and understanding your leadership style. I really recommend making the most of the additional skills sessions, the electives (it was a struggle to narrow it down to only two) and the engagement sessions with industry specialists.

How does the course fit into your future aspirations?

The MBA really complements and lends credence to the skills I have gained over a seven-year military career. As well as the actual knowledge I have learnt in the classes, I am more confident throwing myself into a situation or challenge which I am not familiar with. The transition from military to civilian can be a difficult one and I feel I have set myself up for success with the MBA. Three weeks after the end of the MBA I am starting the Amazon Pathways Programme, and I know I am going into it as well-equipped as I can.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

There is often a perception that the MBA is only for those with a “classic” business background, but that is far from the truth. In fact, having an unusual work history really helps to add a unique perspective when it comes to group discussions. Do not let a less-than-ideal academic record hold you back either. I achieved a 2:2 in my undergraduate degree and know individuals who undertook the Strathclyde MBA without an undergraduate degree.

During the application process and the course, I felt valued as a person and on my entire experience – some other MBAs I was entirely put off applying for due to their academic requirements, which I feel do not account for how a person changes and grows throughout their life.

I recommend pursuing an MBA for anyone looking to further their career, or make a change, regardless of their background.