Ajit Ponnambalam (MBA 1984)

Ajit Ponnambalam MBA, 1984

Managing Director, Snap-on Tools Australia

What was I doing when I decided to do the MBA
I completed my Honours degree in Business Studies at what was then, Sunderland Polytechnic (now Sunderland University) in 1980.  Three years later, I had just qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) in Newcastle, England. I knew, even before I finished my time with Peat Marwick Mitchell that that auditing was not for me! And I wanted to get into management consulting and I saw the MBA as a natural steeping stone into that career.

Why I chose Cranfield
I applied to Manchester Business School and to Cranfield. I was fortunate to be accepted by both and to be granted a scholarship at both Colleges. In the end I decided on Cranfield because it seemed more practical and being out of the workforce for 12 months instead of 2 academic years appealed to me.

What I got out of it
The Cranfield MBA exposed me to far more elements of business than I could have ever expected exposure to in an audit firm. I learned to work with and be guided by members in a small group. And just as importantly, I learned to ask questions.

Since leaving Cranfield, I have worked with US companies where the MBA is almost a requirement. So, the Cranfield MBA also gave me credibility in the eyes of prospective employers.