Mark Holmes, MBA part-time Executive 2009 Mark Holmes, MBA part-time Executive 2009

Mark Holmes was working at Adnams PLC when he completed the Executive MBA at Norwich Business School.  Since graduating he has not wasted any time in making full use of his updated business skills.  In 2010, he and two colleagues left their jobs at Adnams to form a sales and marketing business called ‘Top5', representing several brands of drinks.  With the same colleagues, he also led a management buy-in of Nethergate Brewery, which promptly won an award for Brewery of the Year 2012!  And on top of all this, Mark also became involved in the sales and marketing of his family business – PHPumps Ltd where he is taking some of the sales and marketing strategies from the brewing world into engineering…

‘Since setting up ‘Top5' in 2010 (our first sales and marketing business which we've now merged with Nethergate), buying the brewery and getting involved in my family business, I've found that what I learnt on the MBA is shaping a lot of my thinking on a number of different subjects.  My studies on themes such as strategy, culture, finance and change management are very relevant as I continue to grow my businesses.'

‘To be honest, while I was employed at Adnams and studying on the Executive MBA, a lot of what I was learning seemed at the time very theoretical and I personally found its practical application to be quite difficult.  At the same time I was looking to explore other opportunities – to leave the security of a great company like Adnams and venture out on my own.'

‘I was working with two fantastically gifted businessmen at Adnams and together we decided to start out on our own.  We formed ‘Top5' - a sales and marketing business representing some really great drinks brands – Purity beer, St Peter's beer, Hogans cider, Frobishers fruit juice and Efferve French lemonade.  One of the main objectives from the start of ‘Top5' was to own our brands and develop them ourselves – but we ended up buying and owning the Nethergate brand and a brewery as well!'

‘The management buy-in of the brewery was a great learning experience - forming a business plan, raising finance from the banks, consulting accountants and meeting solicitors.  I found the MBA gave me credibility, insight and a real understanding of how business operates on a practical level - particularly useful given the current economic situation.'

‘Having applied the learning gained from my MBA to ‘Top5' and Nethergate I wanted to continue to develop and expand into other areas and work with other businesses.  I could see a lot of opportunities to apply what I had learnt to the engineering industry.  We are now starting to grow and develop PHPumps – employing new engineers, developing businesses partnerships and taking on new contracts.'

‘For me the MBA is now all about practical application - my MBA text books, which once lived on a shelf, now lie in a rather untidy pile behind my desk in the office where they can be easily grabbed and flipped through on a regular basis.'