Gordon Knott works in Norwich as a busy Finance Director for a company with several bases in the UK. In 2009 he decided to apply for the part-time Executive MBA at Norwich Business School. Having gained a senior position within his company, Gordon already had a great deal of management experience, so we wanted to ask him why he decided to apply for an MBA and why he chose to study at the business school at UEA?
‘For a start, my employer was very supportive about a course which would broaden my business understanding and skills but on a more personal level I was looking for a way to test my management experience for my own satisfaction. I wanted to see if all the things I had learned in my job to date would stand up against other people's skills and knowledge - how my experience would look against the rest of the cohort, the people with whom I shared the course. At the same time, I also wanted to get something concrete on paper, something which could demonstrate the value that I can bring to a business.'
‘When I had decided to pursue the MBA idea a little further, I did look at a few places. I decided on Norwich Business School and UEA for two reasons. The first was that I had lived and worked in Norwich for a long time and UEA is local to me and easy and quick to reach from home or work. Also the timetable for the Executive MBA suited me well. I liked the way that the modules were covered in six week chunks and that there is no requirement for a great big block release of time. The timetable really suited me and my employer too for that matter.'
‘I will finish the course in a few months time and when I look back even now I realise how much I have learned. Quite a few of the modules are taught using groups of us working in teams. I am lucky to be studying with a great group of people and I can honestly say I've learned as much from them as I have from anyone. The people in my cohort come from a variety of backgrounds and I think they complement each other very well. When you work in groups, although there may be a natural leader, no one is in authority over you so it teaches you to work with other personalities – to work better with other people.'
‘Some of the modules like the consultancy projects are marked using group effort, at least in part, and then it doesn't feel like an individual slog to get assignments in on time. The consultancies put a lot of pressure on you but there are lots of opportunities to work with other people on coursework which is good.'
‘There's a good mix of teaching styles too from informal teamwork to formal lectures and exams and all the lecturers have a way of keeping their sessions lively and interesting. There are a few modules I've enjoyed on a personal basis and there are others, such as Strategy and Strategic Risk Management which have been really useful to take back to my job. Most of my colleagues and friends on the course also report that they have been able to use modules to study their own jobs and businesses and this is already proving a practical and valuable benefit of the Executive MBA.'
‘If I was to sum up I'd say that the course has exceeded my expectations when I signed up for it. I've got all the things I expected to get out of it. I would highly recommend anyone considering an MBA to go for it!'