Lancaster University Management School Q&A
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio USA. It’s in the Midwest region of the States and I have lived there most of my life. You will be 27 when you complete your MBA.
Do you see a trend of MBA education shifting to younger people?
Masters degrees overall are becoming the norm, particularly in the States. I do not know if there is a substantial trend of younger MBAs, but I am the average age of most students in my current class. Compared to other Masters programs in the Management School overall, we are, on average, a couple of years older.
You've worked in educational sector before coming to the UK. How has your previous professional experience prepared you for intense MBA life?
Working in the therapy industry gave me a number of soft skills that have been invaluable given the substantial amount of work we do in small groups. I used to lead small groups of 3-10 teenagers on therapeutic wilderness expeditions where we would camp together and perform behaviour interventions with the students. Learning how to get confrontational teenagers that do not want to participate involved and engaged in a group activity has made the team work I do now much easier. Predominantly I learned a lot of key lessons about actually listening to others and seeking to understand their points of view before adding my own and being willing to sacrifice what I want for the collective wants of the group.
Why did you choose Lancaster University Management School?
I chose Lancaster for its incredible reputation and the emphasis it places on gaining real world business experience through its projects. I was also very intrigued by the international diversity Lancaster attracts, especially when it is based away from larger cities. The MBA staff really goes out of their way for the students and has made the management school into a second home. That may also pertain to the fact that we spend the majority of our time here, but seeing smiling faces every day is certainly a bonus.
Which class taught you the most?
Hmmm....that’s a difficult one. Coming from a Marketing and Communications background, I did not do much with numbers so I would have to say Accounting and Finance. The professors we had were very knowledgeable as well as exceedingly patient. They provided informative, engaging lectures and gave us assignments that really made us grapple with the concepts to understand how they relate to the real world.
What's the best thing about Lancaster University Management School?
I would have to say the reality-based course content and the international diversity of the student body. We have had lectures recently where our management professor told us explicitly that we would never have all of the answers and that is the nature of being a manager. I had not anticipated such an honest and thoughtful outlook on real world business when I came on the program and have been delighted that our professors are willing to talk with us about the realities of the work facing us after graduation.
Has the financial downturn changed the way you think about business?
I don’t think so. For example, the worldwide ripple from the US economic downturn has had large-scale impacts all across the globe. For me it just confirmed the fact that all of the world economies are closely integrated. Hence why I wanted to focus on business from a more international aspect and learn about business in other countries from my international colleagues.
You were awarded a scholarship by Lancaster University, and in your undergraduate years at Mercer University you had a full scholarship too. Any tips?
My advice is simple: take the time to apply and apply early. This seems obvious, but you cannot get a scholarship without writing the essays and the sooner you apply the less competition you face. Plus, an earlier application also conveys your interest level. Additionally I picked schools where I was somewhat of a diversity candidate and I think that worked to my advantage. Write about why you are different and about what’s true; not about what you think someone wants to hear.
How is doing business in the US differ doing it in the UK?
Being American, we tend to get straight to the point so we do not take up too much of someone else’s time. Being efficient and effective is considered polite in the US. In Britain, however, things take a bit more time. There is a significant emphasis on relationship building and pleasantries before talking business.
You also speak French and Spanish, so any plans to stay in Europe after Lancaster University?
I would love to stay in Europe after Lancaster University. My goal is to work for a European-based large-scale international non-profit in a marketing/communications role.