Selima [00:00:01] Hello, everyone, and welcome to our live Q&A session. My name is Selima, I work for Bayes Business School, its part of City, University London. I'm a student recruitment consultant. Some of you may have come across me before, but today we'll be discussing the MBA, the Global MBA here at Bayes and with me today I have Ed Jennings. Ed, why dont you just introduce yourself.
Ed [00:00:27] Hi everyone. Good evening. Good morning. Wherever you are in the world. It's great to be here. My name is Ed Jennings. I'm currently on the Global MBA course at Bayes, I started in September last year.
Speaker 2 [00:00:42] So my background, I spent just over 10 years in travel and hospitality, working at the Thomas Cook Group and started in the call centre and then went through various different roles through a leadership programme and ended up with the longest job title in the world as 'Head of Campaigns, Communications, Innovation and Events' try putting that on a business card. So I was there and then unfortunately, Thomas Cook collapsed as you may or may not know. A few years ago, I spent seven months off travelling around South Africa and then came back and moved into the world of start-ups, really. So I spent just over a year in a hospitality group managing the business then as a chief of staff and helped create during the pandemic a new home cocktail delivery business. So we were running deliveries all across Europe out of the UK, and that was pretty successful and still going today. And then after just over a year, then I moved on, continued as a chief of staff, and I now work across three companies and have been growing one myself that I'm particularly interested in so, mainly working in the sustainability and reward space with a business called 'The Good Box', and then also a media company called 'That Nursery Life', which focuses on managing a community of about 450000 people in the early years space and then also working for a separate contracting business. So I like to work across lots of different industries with different challenges and different people. And that's where that's where I am today.
Ed [00:02:22] There was a few things, really, I think I always wanted a degree, I actually don't have one. I don't have a bachelors. I went straight into work and I actually trained as a helicopter pilot. So totally different to what I'm doing now. But I knew I always wanted a degree at some point. And I think when I got to where I was about a year ago, I thought maybe it was too late or it was beyond me. My partner encouraged me actually to start looking. She holds a master's degree and I didn't realise that actually, I could go for a master's degree based on my own personal experience. So that was reason one I think, two, I would say the networking piece was really important to me. I really wanted to expand my network, meet with like minded execs. And I think once I'd decided to do it, I think moving on to the kind of the Global MBA, for me, flexibility was really important. Going back a year, I think when I was about to start my application and having my first conversations with various different business schools around the world. Flexibility was really important to me. I wanted to make sure that, I have a family. And I wanted to start my own business; I wanted to work full time still, I didn't want to sacrifice that and I wanted to be able to study. So I guess not asking for much, really. But I found the Global MBA, I looked it over, and a few other business schools as well. And they were really the motivations behind it. I would say.
[00:04:03] So I can't even tell you how many I looked at. It's a bit overwhelming, I remember when I was searching and particularly not having any university experience at that point or academic experience. I remember going through that challenge of Google Top MBA schools, all these different fairs and things like that. And eventually, I actually went to an online fair which pulled together the top business schools around the world, and I narrowed it down to five, basically. And I think when I spoke to Bayes or Cass as they were at that point, I knew they had a really strong reputation in the MBA space and they'd won lots of awards and I saw they were triple accredited. And I think those were things that appealed to me, but there were lots of others. So I remember going back a year and trying to create what that checklist is of things that were important to me to make a decision. And the reputation and the awards one were absolutely
Speaker 2 [00:05:11] number one and two. I think the areas that I wanted to study in, so in corporate strategy and innovation, obviously being an entrepreneur and wanting to start more businesses, finance is also very important there as well. So they were kind of the things I was looking for, as well as flexibility, which not many other schools I found offered. I think also some of the other things I was looking at was how big are the class sizes. And one of my steps when I was trying to choose the right school for me was I always made sure that I spoke to some alumni, people that have graduated from the school or were currently studying. And I found with the main school that I would say most people, if they're looking in the UK, are looking at or exploring, I was really surprised to find out that they have 3 to 400 people in their version of the Global MBA, and instantly that put me off. So those were some elements, I'd also say the companies that the business school worked with, that was another factor for me. So since September, we've worked and spoken with various business, from PWC to consulting to AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical group and a few other things. The case studies, I would say I wanted to know more about the case studies because I wanted to have a genuine interest and obviously, take things away. So I'm going to say that I'm proud to say I'm now an expert on the Parmigiano industry in Italy. We learnt lots about Parmigiano, we learn about Tesla. We worked on a marketing campaign with Axe and supply chain with Zara. So those were things that I was also looking at, is what are the case studies that I'm going to be looking at while I'm studying to, to bring the content to life? And then my last thing I would say I was looking at was, the electives that I could choose in Year 2 to specialise in, but also the additional opportunities within the school over and above, just doing the MBA. So you know, I was definitely at a point just over a year ago where I was questioning, am I on the right path career wise or should I be exploring other sectors as well? So I wanted to make sure they had a good careers team and you had support. And also being an entrepreneur, having the entrepreneurship angle to the school was also something else that was important. So all of those factors I looked at and those came out on top with all of them, quite simply. And so it actually was quite an easy decision once i'd ticked off that list of the things that were most important to me.
[00:08:00] It was a factor for me at the beginning, I think when I heard that the name was changing from Cass to Bayes, being totally honest and most of my class, I think, expressed it as well. We were all quite nervous. I think what changed it for me was we actually got shown some of the marketing campaign, which was, I think it was a couple of million pounds investment from memory last year that was going into the campaign change of the name. But I also flipped on its head in a way and said, well, this is an opportunity where a school is not just advertising for new people to come and join the school, but advertising them as a brand of what they really stand for, out in the market and to the recruiters. So I also saw that as a positive, you know, being transparent over the last year, I have been looking at opportunities like I mentioned exploring what really is the right career path for me and when I've gone through conversations, either in networking or in interviews, when you actually apply for a role, you'll see it doesn't come under Bayes anyway, it comes under City, University London or it comes under 'Bayes (formerly Cass)' is what I found. So actually in those conversations, I haven't hit any barriers and it was a concern, but it's not anymore.
[00:09:27] You know, this last year, I've been, like I mentioned, I've been kind of exploring two other things, so, exploring new opportunities and trying to find what I want to do. So on a, I guess, personal professional development level, my skill set as a Chief of Staff, typically you are a consultant before you become a Chief of Staff, and I've gone in quite a different way where I had ownership of multiple different departments and that moved me into a Chief of Staff role. So I was exploring the consulting move, I would say, from when I started in September, and that really came about with, you have these online webinars that are available to you whilst you're doing your MBA, with different companies. So some of them are coaches such as coaches to get into the consulting industry, or there was one specifically where it was a careers coach, specifically in private equity, and we had another one, which was specifically from companies. We had one with PWC, one with AstraZeneca. Totally up to you to join which ones you want. You know, what you put in you absolutely get back. And so from one of those, I went on the consulting one, which was a guy who had lots of experience connected to the school. He was a careers coach for the consulting industry specifically. And they gave you kind of a really honest view of exactly what that sector was like. And it absolutely appealed to me. I think after that session, I then had a separate call with the chap who was running it. And after that, I then went into the careers team who then helped me reformat my CV, gave me access to case studies, told me about the opportunities and what I should expect in interviews. But I think the real benefit, I would say from the course, I'll come onto the material in a second, how that's helped me, but is actually in the networking area. So through someone who was part of my 1st study group who I would say is a close friend now. She linked me up with someone else who happened to run a managing consulting business, who I had a coffee with, who then was happy to link me up with a managing partner strategy consultant for one of the biggest consulting companies in the world. And I had 45 minutes with this person and it was purely through my network, through the school. So on a professional level, I had my networking conversations and I try to network with someone new every week with an online or in-person coffee. But it gave me that opportunity to go and have this one to one with that managing partner strategy consultant. And actually, whether it's good or bad, I guess it's good looking at the positive. It showed me that that is not for me. I was told very clearly that I would be quite bored if I went straight into that sector with what I'm doing now in the start-up side, so that was one.
[00:12:32] In terms of the course content, I think with some interviews I've had or with some networking. It's quite funny how the course content you learn and the case studies you've used become part of the conversation. So I remember I was having kind of an informal chat about a potential role in London back in November, and I got into talking about the vertical integration model of Tesla. And I'd just learnt that, I was just doing operations and supply chain management, and that was something I didn't know anything about. But it came into conversation and we had a fantastic chat and it led on to further opportunities. So it's helped me in a professional sense in terms of the way in which I would say I communicate some of the frameworks that I've been able to bring into my own practise and in setting up new ventures. And then I would also say from a networking perspective, and yeah, on a personal level, it's a huge self-confidence boost I think. You know, not having a degree and this being my first one, I'm very confident at work. But I think when I went into the degree, I was nervous, you know, you're jumping straight into a two year commitment. And I think going through that work and spending time with people from all over the world, maybe in different industries, but at similar levels, from a leadership perspective, gave me a huge self confidence boost about maybe the challenges I was going through. So, too many probably to name on this chat we're having today Selena, but, it's impacted me in an absolute multitude of ways on a personal professional level.
[00:14:16] It wasn't easy at first, it was definitely a challenge, I think, because you kind of have those four days, the contents there, and it's go. I would encourage you, I think in that beginning period, try a few different ways to get used to it and to fit it into your schedule. So the weekly content for me takes around, I probably put in about 10 hours a week on average. And then once I get to the end of the module, at the end of the module you then have an assignment, an individual and a group assignment. The individual is always a paper, so it might be a reflective essay on principles you've learnt, but on a particular theory or framework. Or it could be diving into a topic more specifically that you've talked about that you've identified as a passion of yours or an opportunity. When you get to that week at the end, you're looking more 15-20 hours, definitely for that week. But what I would say is I don't think I've ever reached that 20 hour mark because you can see the end assignment pretty early on in the module you're working on. So, the way I'm working now and the way I've adapted as I've gone through is, I kind of write as I go through if it's an essay or it might be produce a video with your study group or it might be do a presentation to the group for five minutes on your chosen topic. So that's that, in terms of practically on a week to week basis, how I specifically work, and I would say everyone manages differently. For me working across start ups, I'm quite lucky that my time is a lot more flexible, so I have two ways. If I haven't got a really busy week ahead and I can do my work between Monday to Thursday. I will do all my work on Friday to have the weekend, so I'll put in 10 hours on the Friday. It's not always realistic, so if I can't do that in the week ahead, I'll do one to two hours each day and that gets me through. So those are the two ways I do that, but I know people are different. Some dedicate their Saturday, some do a morning Saturday, a morning Sunday. Yeah, but that's how I manage it.
[00:16:48] Well, the statement I'd say at the beginning is you have to really want this. It is a commitment, It's not easy. But if you want it, you will put the work in and I promise you'll love it. You know, as I understand, we've had no one drop off our course, and we've been doing it since September. So you really have to want this, to do it, because you are going to be putting in 10 plus hours in a week for the next two years. So I would say that I think in terms of the specific skill set traits committed, obviously with what I've just said, you've got to be open minded. And I say that because, this course, it's a Global MBA, but it's for people who have experience already. You're going to be with people who have worked in business for more than five years, and everyone's coming from different cultures, company backgrounds, company cultures, to different places all over the world. So you've got to be open-minded and respectful that views will be different across your study group at times. And the theory that you're presented with may challenge the way you've done something. But the way to look at it is, you know, another skill I would say is be reflective throughout. So something that's really helped me is just as I've gone through I'm looking back at the experiences that I've had in situations I've had and applying the theory or looking at the scenario of how another business has handled a scenario, and could I have handled that better and what would I do differently. So committed, open minded. You need to be organised, of course. Whilst a benefit with this is it's all online and of course, you have deadlines but within like a two week window, because you can work up to two weeks ahead. You need to be organised and the more organised you are and the more structured you are and the more regimented with what time is study time, the quicker you'll get through it, the more you will also take away from it. And a huge part of this I would say, something I definitely lost at the beginning, trying to find my balance. You're working, you're studying. That personal time that you have is just as important, and you need to keep that while you go through because you're working really hard, so organised in the sense of making sure you have time for all three. And then time management I guess so, committed, open minded, organised, time management and you need to really want. Those are the ones I think I said.
[00:19:43] Probably what I mentioned earlier, actually, that it just starts. There's no slow build up to it. You know, i know the course runs from memory, I think there's a September and a February intake. I was in the September, as I mentioned earlier. But yeah, I was away for my summer holidays, came back, went into my first four days and that is it, you're in the routine. And so I think getting started and finding the best way that worked for me, it took me a few weeks. So that was probably my biggest challenge. But now I've got that routine and I know I have two different ways that I can get through the content quite happily and still enjoy it, because we're spending a lot of money on this, you have to enjoy it as well as take things away. So, I'd probably say getting into the routine and some weeks are harder than others, we all have strengths and weaknesses. We've worked in certain areas and not in others. So some weeks can be more challenging than others. But as long as you're utilising the support there, you will get through it and you've got a great study group who are all experiencing the same so, some weeks are harder than others getting into the routine, but they are both totally and utterly manageable, if I give one example. I know during the supply chain operations there was one week and I struggled to just fully understand the concept. And one of the things that I really like about it that I didn't know a year ago was that when you're going through your modules, so each module, or each weeks content let's say, it's broken down into short videos. You have a few readings and then you have a case study to review individually and as a group. When you're going through those kind of individual videos, which vary, some are five minutes, some are twenty five minutes. You do a mini quiz at the end of it to check your understanding. Now they don't count towards your grades, so you don't need to stress about it. It is a checker and it's a checker for you. But it also helps the lecturers. They can't see the individual results, but it helps them understand how well the course is understood or that week's content of that video is understood, which I've seen them then adapt in supply chain operations and innovations. You know, the lecturers we had both openly mentioned that a percentage scored lower on this video, and so they brought in a number of new examples to help to bring the course content to life. And that specifically actually helped me in supply chain, specifically for me. So, routine, some weeks are harder than others, but use support around you, you will absolutely get through it.
Speaker 3 [00:22:40] It's really hard to narrow it down to one, actually, i'd probably say two again. I mentioned these earlier, but one is it's given me such a huge confidence boost. You know, I guess in my own personal ability, that I can absolutely do this and learning about these different areas that potentially I hadn't learnt or theories, not coming from an academic background but coming directly from a professional background and knowing that I can do it is amazing because that was a doubt I had a year ago. So, massive confidence boost. And I would say the networking, I mean, in your first four days in office, four days we had a guy who runs a major podcast on Spotify and various other platforms and came in and did a session on networking, and it was awesome. I took so much away from it and I took a lot of those top tips away, knowing I was going to start exploring career changes and, having that coffee that I had, I think it was in January, actually, towards the end of January with the managing partner of one of the biggest consulting firms on the planet, if not the biggest one. Knowing that I'd got that through the top tips I'd learnt, that was a huge win for me. And I've got business out of it as well. I've got sales opportunities out there and I'm talking to a couple of my cohort about starting businesses or entering them in some of the school competitions. So confidence boost, networking. They would be my big two successes, I would say.
[00:24:14] The careers team for me were amazing. And I think it was something I considered at the beginning, but I didn't realise the depth in which they would support. So, there's a really good careers team at Bayes that I've had interaction with, and I've been specifically working with someone who has worked for, or with, at least 30 of the biggest names you could possibly imagine. I'll never forget seeing him pop up the slide of all the brands he'd worked with. And because we have experience, we're coming from a professional background where execs are aspiring execs. Working with someone like that with that experience has been a real game changer for me, in formatting my CV for different types of different industries to pointing me in the direction of tools that are included. So there is tons of tools you get access to on the careers team site, and that is from CV reviewers using AI to give you the perfect CV and scores, to ones that will take you through case studies that are used by some of the biggest brands like PWC or [inaudible] in the consulting space. Yeah, to interviewing techniques to executive coaching tools that are on there as well. So the careers team is the one I would say that's impressed me the most and supported me the most and helped me develop, probably, I would say, as a person and as a leader.
[00:25:48] My top tips would be to try and make that grid of what you're looking for, I would say, up front. Bayes absolutely ticked all the boxes for me over and above any of the others. So I guess know what you're looking for and create that list of what's important. And as I said, Bayes ticked that list, they were the only ones actually to tick all the boxes for me. I would say, as I mentioned earlier, when you start your masters and you start your MBA, make sure to find that balance of work, study and personal. When we had the executive coaching sessions and networking with other people, the first thing you drop when you get busy, or if you feel overwhelmed or stressed, is your personal time. But your personal time is just as important because, if you're feeling well rested and you're still getting to do at least some of the things you really enjoy doing, the studies will be so much more enjoyable for you, and you will take a lot more away. And I would say you would also get through it a lot quicker, if you have that balance. And my last two things would be electives, have a look at the electives that are available. Particularly in Year 2, in Year 1 it is fixed for you to give you that kind of foundational understanding of the main core aspects of any business. But Year 2, there is a huge mix, and obviously you can do them in person or go overseas. That's what I'm doing now, i'm starting to look at and choose what I want to do in Year 2. If you want to concentrate your MBA in something specifically, which courses link with that. So I would say just explore the electives and see which ones are right for you because that they are different everywhere. Bayes ticked those boxes for me, I'm looking at either finance for advanced corporate strategy or innovation and entrepreneurship, and I'll probably go down the innovation and entrepreneurship route now, to explore the electives that are right for you. And as I've mentioned probably 50 times today, network, network, network. Don't get so busy you can't interact with your class, or you can't take the opportunity to reach out to people who are alumni of the school because they all hold a relationship with that school. So the people you can be talking to, the people you can interact with, use the opportunity whilst you're at Bayes to do that. They would be my top tips.