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Using An MBA To Advance Your Career In Banking

Susan Beharrell used her MBA to gain more international exposure, taking a module in Dubai while working in banking at BNY Mellon. The result was promotion to a global management role


Mon Nov 25 2019


Why should you consider an MBA? In banking, or whatever industry you’re in, an MBA is a chance to meet a fresh network of people, explore international opportunities, and develop your management knowledge. 

For many, an MBA is a chance to advance a career within the same industry; to get a promotion and take on a leadership role. This is particularly true of professional MBA degrees, such as online and part-time MBA programs, which you can study while you work. 

Native Mancunian, Susan Beharrell, chose to pursue the Global Part-Time MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) alongside her job at BNY Mellon. She wanted to increase her international exposure through the MBA program, which is delivered across six global study locations: Manchester, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and São Paolo. AMBS also held its first ever elective in Tokyo last month. 

70% of AMBS MBA students typically take at least one class outside of their home campus––something the school encourages by paying for six nights of accommodation for each student. 

“We’re no longer living on an island,” Susan says. “We’re a global community and, therefore, it’s imperative to understand how the global community works.” 

Part-time learning in Dubai 

Susan decided to study the MBA’s strategic project management module at the Dubai Middle East Center, part of AMBS’ overseas network. The Center’s director, Randa Bessiso, was named one of the Middle East’s most influential women by Forbes Magazine in 2018.  

Susan’s current company, BNY Mellon, expanded into Dubai in 2008, so understanding the different banking processes there was particularly useful. “It was interesting understanding the regulations in countries I hadn’t dealt with before,” she says.  

Susan was able to have face-to-face conversations with her local counterparts around risk management in banking, which she says gave her a broader outlook of the company she works for. 

“I now appreciate my colleagues who work overseas,” she adds. “I am better able to connect with them and understand their culture and where they come from.” 

It wasn’t the easiest process, and Susan admits she found working in teams with varying cultures challenging. She says working across cultures was a steep learning curve that every successful businessperson should experience—and it’s changed her approach in teamwork scenarios. Instead of forcing others to adapt to her, she says she’s learned how to adapt to the people she is working with. 

This is something she learned at AMBS’s home campus in Manchester, too, which hosts international students from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and North America. 90 countries are currently represented by participants of the part-time MBA program and 176 countries across AMBS' network of 60,000 alumni. 

“To get the best out of people you need to understand how they work, and what their culture is, and you need to adapt to them to be able to do that.” 

Advancing your banking career with international experience 

Since Susan left a catering job in Manchester to start a new life in London 25 years ago, she’s enjoyed a successful banking career at big-name market-leaders such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Co-operative Bank, and now BNY Mellon. 

Yet even experienced professionals, she says, can benefit from the kind of international experience on offer on an MBA program. After completing the MBA, Susan was promoted to a more senior role at BNY Mellon, where she manages projects across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). 

“The MBA has given me the ability to do this because it’s given me the knowledge to have an end-to-end understanding of business,” she says. 

Working for a global company like BNY Mellon, it’s important to be aware of the diversity within the workforce. How do they contribute to the global brand? What do they do differently to you? What can you learn from them? Adjusting her mindset to accommodate this international perspective was one of the key takeaways Susan gained from her experience in Dubai. 

“For anybody doing an MBA and wanting to progress their career, they need this knowledge,” she emphasizes. “There’s usually a rationale behind why people work the way they do, and the Global Part-Time MBA at AMBS shows you that.”

This article was written by Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou and Emanuela Hawker

Student Reviews

Alliance Manchester Business School




On Campus

The course structure

The course is well structured and organised effectively. Every subject in the field of international business is covered in the course module. The lectures are of excellent quality and are simple to comprehend.   ·      The lecturers are also very knowledgeable about their subjects, quite thorough, and very helpful when it comes to answering questions and giving additional information on their subject.   ·      Students can easily access the assignment, lectures, and seminar content thanks to the blackboard technology. Students also benefit greatly from the reading materials that are posted on the blackboard.




On Campus

Practical Business Experience

3 live consulting projects, Non-for-Profit consulting, Commercial Business Consulting and International Business Consulting projects within the programme, provide us with a great opportunity to exposure to the real business world.




Quality education and student support system

What I love about The University of Manchester is the fact that, alongside with the excellent education it provides, it also takes care of the well being of the students and supports them throughout the year.




Endless networking opportunities!

I would 100% recommend this university! Throughout my 4 years there I received endless guidance and support from the amazing staff; both professors and student support teams. A particular highlight was the insightful guest lectures, networking employability events and career meetings, these significantly helped in preparing me for my future career.




Fantastic University!

AMBS provides excellent teaching and outstanding facilities, both of which combine to make a great learning experience. The teaching staff make sure we have plenty of resources to aid our learning, and always make sure we are making the most of our studies. The business building itself is the most impressive on campus, and provides plenty of places in which we can work.




Great facilities and support

It is a great university that provides extra support for its students. The teachers are very helpful and willing to support you and the environment is just great. It offers good facilities, study spaces and workshops that can help in your experience as a student.




New building, innovative teaching methods

The staff is very well prepared and pays a lot of attention to the student. The building is new and full of updated facilities. Teachers propose intriguing learning methods and there are plenty of international students to learn from.




It's an amazing University!

I think that AMBS is among the most well rounded universities in the UK. The cultural diversity among the students as well as the faculty is what catches my attention the most. The campus is very new and beautiful and has all kinds of facilities.




Quality and QS World Ranking

AMBS has the diverse set of batch where the students get the opportunity to mingle with the students coming from different parts of the world. The group of faculty is also very diverse having different skill set. I'd always recommend it for studying masters in business analytics.