What was I doing when I decided to do the MBA
Industrial Relations & Personnel Manager, Container Terminals Aust. Ltd. I had negotiated manning levels, rosters and local work agreements with 6 different unions in preparation for the opening of a new container terminal, and once operational, the role became one of a caretaker. That is, less challenging, more mundane, more reactive to events, in an industry that enjoyed better employee benefits than most others. I needed to move outside my comfort zone, and an MBA would give me a taste of other business disciplines.
Why I chose Cranfield
I would not have given an MBA its due attention In Sydney, due to the usual distractions (sport, social etc). I had attended school in London for 3 years, where I recalled the climate being 11 months of winter and 1 month of bad weather. I sought counsel from a few who had undertaken MBA’s both in the UK or France, and after investigation, settled upon Cranfield. The timing was right, and the length of the course suited. In the middle of an airfield and Brussels sprouts patches, the absence of familiar distractions would require me to focus on my studies, and benefit from the experiences of other participants. Successful completion would enhance my employment opportunities overseas, where potential employers would pay less regard to my last job. [Whilst only an assumption at that stage, it turned out to be an accurate assessment.]
What I got out of it
The single greatest benefit was learning from other participants. Twenty-five years later, I am still good friends with a number of course-mates, including some from my own study group. Secondly, it facilitated a move in to a different industry (business acquisitions, followed by financial services), which would have been harder to achieve had I done the MBA in Australia. Thirdly, certain lecturers and their subjects or case studies provided reference points for me for many years, serving as a reminder of the relevance of case-based study. Finally, it was a great experience: I had fun, we produced the first Cranfield Year Book, and without having too great expectations, it delivered what I had hoped it would.