Having studied his MBA at Cranfield University, Dan is now co-founder and CEO of The Fan Area, a digital home for sports fans providing sports news, views and games
Why did you study for an MBA?
I wanted to set up my own business, but before doing so wanted to develop my leadership and management skills. I was looking for a course that could challenge me, highlighting my strengths and weaknesses as perceived by my peers, to better equip me for recruiting, managing and leading effective teams throughout my post-MBA career.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
Cranfield places a real focus on leadership development. I particularly enjoyed a module exploring organisational behaviour - as well as focusing on your behaviour as an individual, it explored how a team operates and can operate better with a change in management and/or leadership style.
During my time at Cranfield, I was given the opportunity to take part in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), which was a fantastic opportunity to compete against students from top global business schools. The venture capital industry has always interested me and the opportunity to compete against other MBA schools was one I relished. The team I represented from Cranfield won the European round in Barcelona and qualified for the global finals in the USA.
What was the most challenging aspect of the course?
My MBA class included students from all over the world - this was both one of the highlights and challenges of the course. With cohort members hailing from 19 different countries globally, everybody brought slightly different methods and attitudes to the workplace. When the volume of work is intense and the pressure is on, it makes for a real leadership challenge to reconcile these differences into a single way of working.
How has the MBA benefitted your career?
Cranfield has helped me achieve my goal of setting up my own business. The Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship provided support via start-up weekends and funding pitches to external investors. This has enabled my business to secure grants and external investment that have been crucial to getting the venture off the ground.
During the year, I had interviews with some fantastic organisations like Amazon and, while I was tempted to pursue some of those opportunities, I am glad I stuck to my initial goal of starting my own business. Having successfully launched my business I am consistently applying lessons I learned on my MBA, both academically and personally. An MBA equips you to recognise and tackle the issues that arise in starting a business effectively.
What advice would you give to someone considering an MBA?
- Carefully consider what you're looking to achieve from an MBA. There is so much on offer on any MBA course it's easy to forget what your goals are.
- Stay focused on your goals in business as challenges are thrown at you from all angles. The MBA has equipped me to handle challenges not only in the workplace but also in my personal life. I can sincerely say that I have developed in all areas during my time at Cranfield.