Our students say...
Student blog: An aidworker's journey through the Global MBA
Regional Head of Greening (Eastern Europe and Central Asia), British Embassy
I chose the Durham Global MBA because it mirrors the agility that organisations need today to adapt to constantly changing circumstances. I can study on site from Durham to Frankfurt but most importantly from my laptop when I have two hours free in a hotel room in Siberia the night before an important pitch or workshop. Both faculty and students bring a wealth of diverse experience.
(Graduated June 2012)
I worked in industry for the first two years post first degree, completing the commercial graduate scheme at BAE Systems. Subsequent to this, I joined a major international private bank where I have since been responsible for creating a number of portfolios of high net worth individuals for whom I provide wealth management advice.
Establishing a portfolio from scratch places huge demands on time and so the only viable option for me to complete my MBA was via the Global/Distance Learning method. This enabled me to stud at my own pace and still maintain contact with my clients.
I spent a lot of time researching business schools and MBA' programmes here in the UK and in, North America and Asia. International recognition of the school, degree content and quality were of primary importance to me. The various league tables (notably the Wall Street Journal rankings) confirmed the international pedigree of Durham University Business School above and beyond anything and it also helped having access to international recruiters who spoke very highly of Durham MBA graduates. The quality of the degree shone through at the taster sessions held in Durham where some of the tutors were present to conduct group exercises. The triple accreditation also provided added assurance as well as ensuring global recognition of my degree.
Whilst it seems almost inappropriate to talk about costs, given that I would be self-financing it was important that I obtained value for money from my MBA. The Durham MBA combines excellent teaching, course content, international recognition and the ability to study whilst continuing to work, with a very reasonable fee structure. I am convinced that there is no other business school that can compete to the same extent on all these factors.
I hope completion of my MBA will afford me a degree of occupational flexibility. I'm a firm believer in giving yourself options and I feel that an MBA can be an excellent way to demonstrate a broader understanding of business which can ultimately open the door to switches in occupation and industrial sector.
It is not just course content and award of those three letters that enables this however. The networking opportunities are of at least equal importance and whilst admittedly more difficult to develop strong networks whilst studying from a distance, the opportunities are there and should be taken advantage of.
My long lasting impression of study at Durham will be that of huge challenge. I decided to complete my MBA in the quickest time possible (2 years) which has meant a considerable workload. In hindsight I may have benefited further whilst enjoying the programme even more had I taken a little extra time but the feeling of achievement post completion is nevertheless, immense. "MBA" will be the only letters I use after my name as I really do feel like I have earned them.
Support was always on standby be it via email or telephone and the flexible structure of the Global MBA means that the business school can accommodate you should you bite off more than you can chew and get in to difficulties.
I am proud to have attended such a prestigious university and am grateful to all of the staff for helping me to get through it. I now look forward to putting the learning and qualification to use. While I think that there is still scope to learn and improve in my current role, ultimately I think that my entrepreneurial instincts will gain the better of me. I see myself working for a smaller organisation where I can influence direction and deploy some of the broader based management learning from the MBA - that or establish my own company. The above is likely to take place in a more international environment.
Strategy and Communications Manager, pharmaceuticals industry
When I first decided to embark on an MBA, I knew I wanted to pursue an option that would enable me to continue my career in parallel. The Durham MBA and its flexible approach, reputable name and reasonable cost appealed to me immediately. More than one year in, I have learnt so much from this course, and have immensely valued the breadth of the topics covered, from psychology to maths, strategy to economics to communications and lots more besides. Meanwhile, the opportunities I have had to practice new skills during my day job have certainly enhanced the learning experience for me. I'll be thrilled to get the qualification when it ends but will undoubtedly miss the intellectual challenge when it's over!
Energy marketer, energy sector
I chose Durham University Business School for a number of reasons:
- I was impressed with the training of co-workers who had earned Durham MBAs (while working in Geneva with International Red Cross).
- I was impressed with the learning model and knew that it would fit in with my travel schedule.
- The reputation of Durham University Business School and the University.
- The module choice - both core and elective - were relevant to my chosen career path.
My experience with the Business School has been truly exceptional. The model of learning is ideal for integrating with competing life obligations, i.e. family and career. The material is well written, assignments have been cutting-edge and relevant to my work in non-profit, corporate, and government environments.
The kind support team has been more patient with me than I deserve. Their flexibility and patience is a reflection of the School's priority to prepare busy business professionals for corporate leadership.
The MBA programme has enabled me to increase the depth and scope of my knowledge in finance. I have increased the value that I bring to my employer(s) by increasing exposure to and knowledge of critical business functions and have also sharpened long-term strategic planning skills within my business function, organisation, and supply chain.
Philippe de Raet
Senior Director, IT sector
My reasons for choosing Durham University Business School were:
- an internationally recognised Business School with a great academic reputation
- good value and return on investment
- flexibility of the program (very accommodating to busy professionals)
- fully accredited
- internationally recognised faculty
- MBA taught from a UK/European perspective
I am continuously applying the theories and models that I have learned from the program to my daily work. My Durham MBA has helped me to better critically analyse business situations and enabled me to grasp the "why" behind the "what", drawing on a more theoretical and substantive base. I am now able to implement international perspectives in my American work environment.
Although I studied through distance learning, I have made great contacts through Durham's various networks (Linkedin, Agora etc.) and have had tremendous support from all of the staff via telephone and email.
My plans are to continue with my IT sales career and I feel confident that this MBA will help me attain more senior leadership positions with greater responsibility which otherwise may have been unattainable.
I would recommend Durham University Business School to anyone who is seeking to achieve a globally recognised MBA and needs a flexible program due to work constraints.
International Marketing Manager, biotechnology sector
I've worked on the commercial side of the pharmaceuticals business for over 20 years, and had been considering an MBA for ages - whilst I've got a lot of experience in marketing, I realised that there were many other sides to the business, such as finance, that I wanted to understand more about. Like many, though, with a hugely busy job there never seemed to be the "right time" to make the commitment. Once I transferred from the UK to Switzerland, I realised that it was unlikely that there would ever be a "right time" unless I made it happen. And that, for me, meant the distance learning route.
Durham University had always been up there with Oxford and Cambridge to me - history, colleges, an ancient seat of learning with a worldwide reputation. And, when I started investigating options, I was delighted to learn that this extended to the business school as well - indeed that the distance learning MBA was seen as one of the top programmes in Europe. Decision made.
For me, one of the great things about an MBA is the opportunity to meet and study with people from totally different backgrounds, industries and professions and from around the globe. Make no mistake - a distance learning MBA is a substantial commitment and the course is intended to be challenging - but at the end, you'll really feel that you've achieved something special.
One area I had concerns about as a distance learner was the potential isolation from both the university and classmates. It really hasn't been an issue. At Durham, students have open access to their tutors via phone or email, there's an excellent residential seminar each semester and a variety of online lectures and tutorials, and many of us also belong to on-line social networking groups.
If, like me, you've been thinking about an MBA, but putting it off because life is happening around you - my advice is to go for it. Go in with the right expectations, the right commitment and a desire to learn and you'll be rewarded with a truly life-changing experience. Good luck!
Social entrepreneur, leadership consultant and coach, third sector
Having worked for a large charity for over 15 years I recently launched a new social enterprise 'Justlife' which is working amongst people with drug and alcohol dependency in East Manchester. As I stepped into this new opportunity I recognised the need for personal development especially in the area of business knowledge and so the MBA seemed a really good option at the right level for me. The course content is relevant and stimulating, even at this early stage of our business.
I chose Durham, because the School has an incredible pedigree for its MBA courses; it is a globally respected school which I feel privileged to be associated with. With the increasing proliferation of MBA courses it really does matter where you study, I would definitely choose Durham again.
I needed a course which had flexibility for me, my new business and my family. I couldn't be tied to a full-time course so this fitted perfectly. The residential elements are really good and helpful but the majority of the work is done when, where and how I choose. The tutors are readily available, there is lots of interaction online and all the DL students are keen to help and support each other which is really valuable.
The course is intense; you need time to get through the material, contribute to the online seminars, complete coursework and of course prepare for exams. Rhythm and momentum are key for me, and making it my first task each morning helps me and my family to see my studies as a high priority.
I had great support from the friendly and attentive staff at the School who guided me through the programme formalities and helped me to select the right modules and create a schedule to meet my study, work and personal commitments.
I attended a residential seminar that enabled me to see the University and the School, meet the DBS staff, make new friendships and enjoy the atmosphere of a beautiful and highly motivating academic environment. I will come back to Durham as often as my working commitments allow.
The materials are demanding but very interesting, with an excellent structure and references to real life examples and case studies.
Consultant, IT sector
My job involves a great deal of travelling. The distance learning MBA gave me the opportunity to study from anywhere in the world. I began my first course reading the course material on the kerb outside Bangkok airport. I finished six years later doing my final report from the sunny Bahamas.
The MBA gave me insight into the different aspects of a business so I could talk IT and know the overall impact to different areas within the business. It also added greatly to my self esteem and confidence to do business and talk at executive level.
Before my MBA I was a successful consultant. During my MBA I applied what I learned on each course to my everyday work life and became even more successful.
Director of Regulatory Affairs, pharmaceutical industry
My academic and work experience was science-related. I believed an MBA would give me increased potential to take on business-related responsibilities. The MBA has opened up a new world and has enabled me to align my department's role with business objectives more closely.
The flexibility of the programme recognised work-life balance and permitted me to progress whilst taking necessary breaks to move house, get married, and have twins. Without such an approach, an MBA qualification would have evaded me.