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OU MBA Makes Ian Smith Go-To Man At Property Firm!

He's only been doing it a few months but Ian Smith is already applying learnings from his MBA to his job

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Wed Feb 1 2012


Property manager Ian Smith started the Open University MBA amid a busy work and family life with high expectations that it would propel him up the property management industry, and it seems to be working already.

Father-of-two Ian is based in Cleveland, in the north of England. He is due to complete his distance learning MBA from Open University Business School in 2015.

Since 2009 Ian has worked as an Asset Strategy Manager for Sodexo Property Solutions, a firm that provides on-site services such as catering, cleaning and maintenance to offices, hospitals, schools and other big sites. His wide-ranging responsibilities include general management, quality assurance and HR.

Prior to Sodexo, Ian spent nine years working as an architectural technologist and project manager within the construction industry, and managed the successful design and delivery of a housing complex in called The Chequers in Templetown, Gateshead.

Ian admits that he was not the best of students during his school days and that his journey with the Open University began “more by luck than by judgment”. He was inspired by his family to do better so he started off with a Certificate in Management. He was so enthused by the learning process and impressed by the University’s efficiency that he immediately began to explore more advanced courses and programmes.

Upon completing the Certificate, Ian decided to enroll on the MBA programme because of its prestigious reputation. Open University’s flexibility allows him to benefit fully from the programme without detracting from responsibilities to his full-time job and family. His discipline and good planning have allowed him to pay for the programme himself but he admits that there have been many challenges: “it hasn’t been easy; there were times when emotions were high because of having to apply such a strict work-life time balance but you have to make sure you have time for your family. Keeping everyone well informed and taking full advantage of their support and understanding has also helped”.

Ian is already reaping some rewards from his efforts. He has been able to apply knowledge gained from his time at the Open University to his people management responsibilities. Recently, he implemented a new performance management system and a mentoring programme at his company to help people to develop themselves and to be creative in how they go about it.

He looks forward his MBA securing him a reputation as a “go-to man” for problem-solving, finance and marketing challenges and business leadership acumen, but this is not an end in itself for Ian. Central to these ambitions are his dreams of seeing his children through the best education.