“I definitely wish I’d done it a long time ago!” says Stuart Turner, a UK entrepreneur who decided to pursue an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School to take his business to the next level.
He started his own telecoms and internet services company TeleSurf back in 2007. For the past decade, he’s helped startup entrepreneurs boost profits and achieve their business development and commercial goals.
Now, he’s aiming to branch out of the telecoms industry, explore new technologies like artificial intelligence, and try something new.
At Warwick, he’s had the chance to do just that. Warwick’s triple-accredited Executive MBA program is ranked among the top 25 EMBA programs in the world by the Financial Times.
Stuart attends classes at Warwick’s London EMBA campus on the 17th floor of The Shard, where EMBA students can take specialisms in healthcare, finance, entrepreneurship, and strategic leadership.
Outside the UK, Warwick EMBA students can travel to China, India, Mexico, and San Francisco’s Silicon Valley on international immersion trips. Warwick’s 40,000-strong alumni network extends over 140 countries worldwide.
One year into his Warwick Executive MBA, Stuart’s already secured new clients and is exploring new business ideas outside the telecoms industry.
Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA at Warwick?
I’ve been following the same career path for quite some time. When you’re working in a particular industry, you become quite limited in your scope. I felt I was a bit constrained in what I knew. I wanted to do something different, to widen my scope, and explore new opportunities.
I had a look at all the business schools based in London. Warwick’s was well-ranked and recommended by a friend. I went to an open evening and the conversations I had made it feel like the right choice.
What stands out from your Warwick EMBA experience so far?
The people you meet on the course are all from different backgrounds. They think in a different way to you, and that’s one of the key learnings.
I’m from a sales psyche. I see things very direct in terms of margin and profit. Other people might have more of a thoughtful approach. When you adopt those techniques, you get a much better, broader way of making decisions.
Doing the business in China module was a great opportunity to go somewhere I’d never been before. We studied at a top local university and visited the Hyundai factory in Beijing – I learned a lot.
How has the Warwick EMBA helped you develop your business?
The EMBA has set me up for the second part of my career. My confidence has certainly grown. When you learn the theory behind what you’re doing, it helps your overall understanding of what you do, and helps you present it better.
The first thing I noticed was a change in the conversations I had with my clients. Within a matter of weeks, I felt like I was talking to them in a different way; a better way which opened up different opportunities.
I’ve done telecoms for many years. I was keen to get into newer technologies like artificial intelligence. The EMBA has helped me get involved in things other than telecoms. Now, I’m more business-focused. It doesn’t matter what the business or subject matter is as such. I can now talk to clients and offer insights whether their business is telecoms or not.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
It’s all about getting customers in and making money. Is your idea good? Are their customers that want to buy it? Don’t waste lots of time building a nice website!
Try to get as many things set up prior to quitting your job and starting your own business as you can. I started TeleSurf because I had a few clients that wanted to help, so I had income from day one.
Why should entrepreneurs do an MBA?
You can become very good at one specific thing driving a business, but there’s so many other areas that are complementary. The MBA gives you an understanding of each area – finance, marketing, sales, leadership – and all those elements breed into the business.
It’s a very practical course – you can really apply it. That’s why I think it’s good to do it while you’re working. Every assignment I did, I did it based on a company I’d done some work for.