As her career wasn't moving at the pace she hoped, Wendy chose to study for a part-time executive MBA at the University of Bedfordshire, which helped her to move into a global marketing role
Why did you study for an MBA?
After completing my Bachelors degree and professional qualifications with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) I had ambitions of moving into a senior management role. However, I felt that I required a broader qualification that would allow me to understand the financial and operational aspects of business, plus develop a more strategic approach.
An MBA felt like the perfect option. I chose to complete the MBA on a part-time basis as I wanted to ensure that I had no gaps on my CV.
The MBA made me reflect on my own leadership style, review my personal strengths and weaknesses, and look at my career potential
What did you enjoy most about the course?
I'd always approached projects with a marketer's view of the world. The MBA allowed me to see things through the eyes of the financial director, operations director, human resources director and chief executive.
I really enjoyed the fact that most assignments were based on real-world situations. Projects were directly related to my day job and certainly placed me on the radar of the senior management team of my employer at the time.
What was the most challenging aspect of the course?
Time management was difficult - working and studying while raising two young children was a huge challenge. The MBA took time away from my family, cut short holidays and resulted in many late nights reading and completing assignments.
Ultimately, though, there's never a 'perfect' time to undertake something like this and I'm glad that I didn't postpone my studies any longer.
How has the MBA benefited your career?
The MBA made me reflect on my own leadership style, review my personal strengths and weaknesses, and look at my career potential.
Part way through my MBA, after seven years with my previous employer, I moved into a strategic marketing position with a new company. I'd been working at the same organisation for a long time and, while successful, my career wasn't moving at the pace that I'd hoped. I've since moved into a global marketing role and have a very clear career plan.
What advice would you give to someone considering an MBA?
Ask yourself why you're considering studying for an MBA. If it's solely to earn a higher salary, forget it. There are other ways to increase your income that don't involve getting yourself into such high levels of debt.
Only do it if you want to build your career, broaden your business experience, develop your skillset and widen your network. The MBA was as much about the contacts that I created and my personal growth as it was about the academia.
Shop around: visit the universities, meet the lecturers, and seek out former students on networks like LinkedIn to ask them about the 'real' MBA experience.
The MBA will give you a competitive edge, but no qualification is a golden ticket to senior management. It's the application of knowledge at the appropriate time that will bring success.