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Becky Valentine


United Kingdom
I have confidence in my own abilities and my convictions now, backed by my deeper leadership knowledge and capabilities.

More about Becky

Why did you choose Nottingham Business School and your course?

"NBS has a very strong reputation, but the practicalities of doing a part-time course alongside running a business and being a parent meant I needed to be local. I also couldn’t take a year off work to do the full-time course! The SLA was perfect in its application of academic theory to the real world through being an apprenticeship so I could immediately implement at least some of what I had learnt.”

What motivated you to enrol on the course? 

"I have wanted to do an MBA since I finished my undergraduate degree in Management Sciences so many years ago.  With two young children it felt like the ‘least-worst’ time to try and squeeze it into all the other competing demands.  I have been able to finish the course just as my oldest started her GCSEs and my youngest started secondary school – leaving it any later and we would have all been under huge exam and assignment stress which would not have made for a happy house! Becoming an apprentice also made it affordable as working in a micro-SME meant we would not have been able to fund 100% of the cost, so the SLA was perfect."

Tell us about your experience on the Senior Leader Apprenticeship and progress onto the EMBA (if applicable).

"There is no doubt that the course is hard work, but the application of models and frameworks to my company and real-world consultancy opportunities meant that every module provided genuine relevance and tools that could be applied with immediate effect.  Group projects enabled me to learn a great deal from my peers and understand the nuances of different sectors in which I had little or no experience and which enriched my leadership development.

The emphasis on personal reflection I found uncomfortable at first, but it now is a fundamental part of who I am as a senior leader and from which I have gained both personal and professional rewards. Completing the degree during the pandemic while trying to keep my business afloat and homeschool my children meant that the SLA was a far greater challenge than I was anticipating!  However, it also proved to me that if I could achieve that I could achieve anything!

While everyone experiences the course differently, I truly believe that profound change took place in all of us which was unexpected but very welcome!"

What have you taken away with you from your experience on your course?

"So much!  I have confidence in my own abilities and my convictions now, backed by my deeper leadership knowledge and capabilities. From this, I have become more innovative and less risk-averse which has translated into the creation of widespread opportunities both for myself and my company.

It has nurtured my growth mindset, to the point I am now challenging myself to really push out of my comfort zone with some interesting results, including performing in Royal Shakespeare Company’s Henry VI: Rebellion in Stratford despite no prior acting experience!

Ultimately, it has fundamentally changed who I am for the better; someone who hopefully demonstrates far greater empathy and understanding and has the skills to optimise the latter half of their working and personal life."

How has your journey on this course contributed to your career?

"It has nibbled away at my Imposter Syndrome, giving me greater self-belief and confidence to develop my entrepreneurialism and diversify my career as a result.

It has engendered a passion to embed the development of sustainable practices, not only in my own company but within the wider SME sector.  This has been supported through the creation of a new job role focusing on sustainability, wellbeing and building health and a toolkit of relevant models and frameworks learnt from the SLA that I have been able to apply with significant success and from which I am now headhunted for expert panels, webinars and consultancy support.

The Business Research Project has been of particular importance in enabling me to develop my building health consultancy and bring it to market far quicker than anticipated."

What advice would you give to someone applying or looking at studying SLMDA?

"Be realistic about the time commitment you are being asked to make, but don’t shy away from the hard work and intensity the course creates. It will transform you as much personally as professionally and you need to be prepared for that! If you want something badly enough you need to work hard for it, and enrolling on the SLA will definitely give you a very beneficial return on your investment."

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
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