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Cass MBA Alumni Q&A

By  Kate Jillings

Wed Feb 3 2010

What are you currently doing?

I'm a project manager for Exploration and Access at BP. My role includes developing strategy and new business opportunities and entails leading multi-disciplined teams, structuring deals & working across the company to ensure alignment. I'm based in Texas in the US.

When were you at Cass?

I studied a part-time MBA at Cass from 1989-1991 as the Cold War was 'ending', the Berlin Wall came down, Mandela was released from prison, and the context of the business world was changing.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?

I was working in an international engineering consultancy, but my job (and career aspirations) were moving away from being purely technical based and I needed to obtain an understanding of business management to have greater impact. An MBA was the right tool to help in this transition.

Why Cass?

Company sponsored, so needed a part-time MBA in London. The curriculum was strong on international business and corporate finance – two key areas in which I wanted to focus.

What did you take away from your MBA learning experience which has been most applicable to business?

The MBA provided an introduction to a diverse set of people from different backgrounds all offering different perspectives on critical international business and management issues. Through classroom discussions and forging some key relationships, I learned the value of diversity of through that still impacts my decision-making. I remain in contact with some of my classmates 20 years later although we're in different parts of the world.

How was your career transformed following your MBA?

At the time, the MBA helped acquire new skill sets and thought processes that enhanced my performance and led to more challenging opportunities for career development. The sense of accomplishment at the end of the MBA helped transition my career to one where I could effectively combine technical/ commercial skills to build and communicate a powerful business case, and later to lead a team to deliver it.

What was the most surprising thing about your MBA?

I recall the diversity of the faculty – some of the lecturers were full-time industry professionals who were able to bring perspective to and discuss real life business issues and management problems.

Final thoughts?

An MBA provides a broader perspective on issues and deeper knowledge which can enable more powerful communication. Based on my experience, an engineering degree with an MBA can be a powerful combination.