The Executive MBA provides you with a chance to learn from brilliant professionals in parallel fields.
More about Andrea
Andrea graduated in 2021 and works as a consultant in the higher education and research sector. We caught up with him to find out how things have been going.
Q: What does your current role involve?
A: I currently work as a Senior Consultant at Research Consulting, a mission-driven business aiming to improve the effectiveness and impact of research and scholarly communication. We work nationally and internationally, with clients including universities, research organisations, charities, learned societies, government actors, research funders, publishers and more.
We support our clients by delivering insight into their work and environment, by helping them enhance strategy development and by enabling and assessing the impacts arising from research and innovation.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: My job is to be a trusted advisor to our clients. This means spending time understanding their challenges and priorities and then mobilising our project teams to deliver tailored assignments. In practice, this involves a combination of calls and meetings, stakeholder management, project management and mixed-methods research. In addition to the above, I am also responsible for some aspects of our organisational management and line management.
Q: Can you share details of how your career has developed since leaving NTU?
A: My career has evolved fast, and the Executive MBA undertaken at NTU has certainly helped. Before this course, I held a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Nuclear and Energy Engineering’s from Politecnico di Torino (Italy), which gave me solid research skills. The MBA complemented these by giving me a clearer understanding of business management as well as by providing me with important tools to continually assess my professional development needs. Last but not least, I should say that studying for the MBA was an important element in my promotion from Consultant to Senior Consultant.
Q: Have there been any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome them?
A: In jobs like consulting (as well as many other fields), we are sometimes referred to as knowledge workers, because we "think for a living". This term highlights the fact that, most often, no two assignments are the same, and that we consequently have to flex our knowledge to cover new and sometimes unexpected territory. Cultivating such a mindset is no easy task, because you always need to be on the lookout for new insights that will enrich your personal and professional development. The MBA was useful in refining my approach to continuous learning, including because it introduced me to the Chartered Management Institute and their terrific resources. When you are committed to learning for a living (and you know how to show it), your growth is virtually unstoppable!
Q: How has your experience at NTU – the learning environment, academic and social life – shaped or helped you in your career?
A: The Executive MBA is a unique programme, because it puts you in touch with an incredibly diverse cohort of professionals from just any field. By speaking to other experienced professionals and working with them in group assignments, we all learned from each other. For example, other students learned lots of consulting skills from me, while I had the opportunity to hear about the complexities of organisational management from very seasoned professionals from across the country. This exchange was very valuable, because, in our everyday roles, senior leaders in the pharmaceutical sector (for example) are very unlikely to exchange views with a consultant working across higher education and research.
Q: How friendly and supportive an environment did you find NTU?
A: Although we didn’t spend a lot of time in formal classes due to the nature of the programme, I think it’s fair to say that my experience at NTU was brilliant. Course leaders and lectures were very available and accessible, and the environment felt supportive all the way through to the final certification with the Chartered Management Institute.
Q: Can you share some exam revision tips?
A: Given that this programme was tailored to senior leaders, the main challenge was finding the focused time to study or write assignments in the context of already busy professional and family lives. We all had to juggle priorities and deadlines, and I think my main tip is to try and be flexible. I had to find some time to study or work towards assignments during some evenings and weekends, which is not too easy when you consider all the other pressures from everyday life. In my view, however, it was all worth it!
Q: Any advice for students and fellow graduates?
A: My top piece of advice is to make the best of conversations with other students. The Executive MBA provides you with a chance to learn from brilliant professionals in parallel fields, so it would be a shame to leave NTU with only a degree.
Q: Finally, what are your tips for success?
A: I’ll try to keep it simple - here are my top three tips:
- Keep learning: When you see yourself as a lifelong learner, there’s no stopping your career or future development. If, like me, you’re a knowledge worker, it is imperative that you cultivate your curiosity and desire to learn.
- Play the long game: Design a future that is right for you and stay committed to the steps you need to make to get there (wherever that is!). Success is no doubt a long game, so it requires steady progress over the course of several years.
- Don’t fear change: If you are on a path that isn’t quite right for you, stop and acknowledge it. Treasure the skills you have learned along the way and leverage them to make your next big move!
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