Meet The Team: Ashley Arnold, Henley Business School

Henley Director of Recruitment Ashley Arnold said he can identify a Henley MBA when he meets one! Here's what he is looking for...

Henley Director of Recruitment Ashley Arnold has worked at Henley for six years, but was involved in the close-knit community long beforehand. He graduated from the Henley Executive MBA programme in 2009 and later that year was accepted to Henley DBA programme.
Before Henley, Arnold studied Hospitality Management and even grew his own hospitality company for 13 years. But when he realized he “was hungry for more knowledge,” Arnold turned to Henley. And the rest is history! He now heads up the MBA Recruitment department, recruiting top talent for the MBA and DBA programmes at Henley.
What is something people find that they like most about the Henley experience?
Somebody said to me the other day, “It’s almost as if the MBA is a sideline and what goes on in parallel to the MBA such as the networking, corporate events and interacting with mentors is central.” There are some MBAs out there that come out of the experience and say, “Now what?” But at Henley, it’s really the experience because it is something very special. It feels like a family: it gives people the confidence that they can do this. There are MBAs I see who have an air of superiority that I didn’t get from Henley.
How has the profile of Henley MBA candidates changed since your own MBA experience?
I don’t think it’s changed drastically. There is an engrained philosophy and ethos at Henley (influencing global business for over 65 years, so I think we got this right) that we are seeking out people that we want on our MBA. People will come to us, but at the same time, we are trying to identify if these people will add value to the cohort. Would other people want you in the room so they could learn from you?
What does an ideal Henley MBA candidate look like?
We are looking for somebody who is exciting and will add a dynamic to the program and will also add to the diversity of the cohort. But also, they should be easy-going, not too uptight. They have a confidence, but are willing to learn. I was with my wife at an MBA fair and I was talking to a guy in the lift who told me he did the Henley MBA. When I got out my wife said, “Do you know what? I could tell right away he did the MBA at Henley because there is a comfortable, friendly and relaxed demeanour about him.” There is just that warmness; a typical Henley MBA is looking to develop personally. I know a Henley MBA when I meet one.
What are some tips for impressing the admissions team at Henley?
When they are applying, we want to see that they have a diverse level of management experiences. It’s not just looking after a project and that’s all they’ve ever done for three years. We want to see that they’ve worked to a reasonably senior level (for our Exec MBAs) or have sufficient post-graduate work experience (for our FT MBA) and that the knowledge that they have is going to be interesting to the cohort. Because if we have 50 accountants in the cohort, it just wouldn’t be the Henley MBA…we want the learning to come from those who are on the MBA not just from our faculty. We are looking for somebody who is able to share their experiences. People who are comfortable within themselves.
What is something that prospective Henley MBAs must know before applying?
They need to know that we have a strong and established heritage of developing people’s soft skills. Henley was set up during the second world war, so we were developed to figure out how to generate wealth back into the economies both in the UK and internationally (and why we are truly international with offices and alumni groups all over the world). That has to happen through leadership and change. And that philosophy continues today. People need to understand that we are focused on leadership, change, people, and social capital. The decisions you make can have a massive impact on your organization and our society. 

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