He wasn’t alone in this decision. Both he and his wife, Saltanat, decided to pursue the MBA degree together. After getting married, they relocated from Kazakhstan for their studies.
Ilyas was seeking new opportunities and a move away from the oil and gas sector. He knew that an MBA at Aston would provide him with the knowledge and skills to stand out in the jobs market.
After completing his MBA in 2016, Ilyas switched industries to become an IT risks and assurance consultant at Ernst & Young (EY), working in cyber security. Saltanat has been promoted at Karachagnak Petroleum.
The Aston MBA was a life-changing experience for the couple. Now back in Kazakhstan, and parents to their first child, they're considering taking their careers to the global stage.
BusinessBecause caught up with Ilyas to find out more.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Aston?
Finding the right Business school was quite challenging. There was such a breadth of schools. We chose Aston because of its triple accreditation, which are indicators of teaching quality, access to tutors, subject specialists, resources, career support and investment in the program. We knew these were important factors that would support our professional expertise.
In addition, Aston’s multicultural environment provides an opportunity to meet diverse individuals and build a network with people from all over the world.
How were you and your wife able to balance work-life pressures at Aston?
I believe our MBA journey was special, because we were supporting and helping each other right from the start, from preparation for our English tests to finishing with writing an MBA dissertation.
It was great to be back in a learning environment. The Aston MBA moved at a rapid pace and there was a lot of individual work and reading as well as group work. Inevitably, there was tension during the year, but it was worth it. Overall, I’m happy that we both went through such a challenge together. It has only strengthened our family.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
It did not take long after graduation for me to find a new place where I can put my IT experience and MBA knowledge to use. I joined very strong and talented team as an IT risks and assurance consultant at EY.
During the MBA, I made very good connections among four big companies, which helped me a lot to understand the nature of consulting business and set clear career goals. Saltanat was also quickly promoted at her job when she stated to apply her MBA knowledge and skills. The MBA has helped us both to advance.
What opportunities are there for MBA careers in cyber security?
Nowadays with the exponential growth of technology and digitalization, cybercrime has become a significant global threat. IT risks and cybersecurity are enormous business.
Working as an IT risks and assurance consultant, I would say that demand for IT risks and cybercrime services is increasing dramatically. I recently took part in conducting EY’s global information security survey, and noticed that comparing to previous years, many more companies showed interest in taking part.
Currently, I’m expanding my knowledge in this direction and sincerely hope that my expertise and knowledge will bring value to my clients.
What advice do you have for prospective MBA applicants?
Be clear about your career goals before enrolling. We were excited and motivated by the willingness of everyone at Aston Business School to help us to achieve our goals.
I would say that it was a life changing experience. Saltanat and I would definitely advise a full time MBA for anyone who is seeking new challenges and wants to achieve all of their ambitions.