With her current role as the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Manager at Aviva, Zoe Slater has a senior and very challenging job. Based in Aviva's Commercial Finance department in the centre of Norwich, she is responsible for a team that lends Aviva funds secured against PPP projects –
‘Our primary focus is on healthcare projects, realising the funding with which to upgrade and build new medical centres or community hospitals. We are also very active in the schools market both with the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and the Building Schools for the Future programme. At the moment we are looking to expand into other sectors such as student accommodation and infrastructure for the emergency services.'
‘I completed the Executive MBA at Norwich Business School in 2009. Everyone warned us that it would be a tough few months - continuing to work full time whilst taking on a masters level study programme - but it was worth it. I enjoyed my course immensely and being so pressed for time actually reinforced the importance of good time management for me and how I had to focus my efforts on the things which counted most. It's a good lesson to learn for all areas of modern living, not just in your working life. But there are two very specific things I took from the MBA into my job.'
‘Because I manage the Public Private Partnership team at Aviva it means that I am not only responsible for the individual team members and the business unit but also for formulating the marketing strategies for our product. There are times when I reflect on the finance, strategy and marketing modules in the Executive MBA and draw on the models and academic principles in those subjects to help inform the commercial decisions I have to make. The MBA has really helped me in my current business strategy thinking.'
‘The other area in which I'd say I'd benefitted from the MBA is that having studied business formally - especially perhaps the consultancy skills modules - I am much better prepared to meet the changing business environment. I see myself as being more flexible than before: for example, Chancellor George Osborne has announced what he calls a ‘fundamental reassessment' of the use of Private Finance Initiative contracts. It is a challenging time for us and the market in general, but thanks to my MBA I'd like to think that I am as well equipped as anyone to move with the times.'