Not many people choose to leave a big American city for a small English town but after four years managing events for Microsoft, Margaret Sherer was ready to make the move.
Margaret left her high-flying job with Microsoft in New York City to enroll on the Cranfield School of Management full-time MBA, which she completed last year.
Leaving life in New York City was a big deal for Margaret but a unique Crisis Simulation exercise offered on by Cranfield had her sold.
Whilst researching the best programme to suit her personal and career aspirations, Margaret met with Cranfield MBA grad Bipasha Ghosh. Bipasha, who graduated in 2002, is now the Global Director of Marketing for Thomson Reuters. She mentioned the module to Margaret over a coffee in New York City and got her excited!
The Cranfield Crisis Simulation exercise is a crucial part of Cranfield's Organisational Behaviour and Personal and Professional Development courses. The exercise places groups of students in front of a panel of real-life journalists in a press conference, to discuss a fictitious business problem. It gives students awareness and understanding of how to handle the media in a crisis situation, which fit well with where Margaret wanted to move professionally.
Margaret, who was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, attended California Polytechnic State University where she earned her BS in Business Administration, Marketing, International Management, and International Relations in 2004.
She landed the role of Event Program Manager at Microsoft “by accident”: she was recommended for a three-month project there by a temping agency, which eventually turned into a full-time role. Based in New York City, Margaret was responsible for bringing subject matter experts onto customer sites for workshops and knowledge transfers.
The most memorable project she worked on was co-producing a video where Microsoft staff spoke about how they related to the company’s core values and their motivations for working with the company. The video was featured on the Microsoft website and in sales campaign packages.
Margaret also received the Most Valuable Professional award, and a global award called the Silent Hero for her outstanding contributions to her team and the company.
She was doing well at the Microsoft, but she saw the MBA as a signifier of personal achievement that would help her career in future. “A lot of people get pressured into the MBA but this was something I wanted to do for me”, she says.
She also wanted to live abroad and to learn about new cultures, and the Cranfield MBA is particularly diverse, with over 40 nationalities represented each year.
At Cranfield, margaret quickly immersed herself in MBA life by helping to organize events, parties and trips, including a Valentine's Day party for MBAs with families. She also captained the Cranfield women's soccer team, and competed against the likes of London Business School at the MBA Tournament (MBAT) games last summer!
As if all this action wasn’t enough, Margaret also caught Manchester United play on their home ground during a trip organized by one her MBA colleagues. She also squeezed in a ski trip, a regatta, and a study trip to China organized by the School.
Our MBA action lady also got to live out her dream of taking part in the crisis simulation exercise. Her group faced two cases: one in which her company was accused of corporate espionage and price fixing; and the second in which her company, a manufacturer of baby food had experienced reports of dangerous substances such as glass being found in their products. The journalists fed their thoughts back to her group and found their presentations to be respectively "good" and "disastrous"!
Margaret recognized the exercise as crucial training for anyone in business today. She’s currently exploring job roles in London that will allow her to continue growing in marketing but at the same time undertake complementary account management roles. We discovered that she’s used the new buzzing social network Pinterest to create an interactive and very cool CV.
She explains that courses such as Strategy, Advanced Negotiation and Crisis Simulation at Cranfield make it easy for her to identify the practical applications of this new MBA knowledge. In the meantime she is working for her alma mater Cranfield, conducting market research for a feasibility project for the School.