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Ex-US Foreign Service Officer Opts For Aston Online MBA

Thomas Marten was ready to beef up his academic credentials, 20 years into a career that spans diplomacy and government affairs in some of Europe's biggest companies

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Wed Jan 23 2013

MBA students are typically in their mid- to late- twenties with five to eight years of work experience, but Aston Business School's Thomas Marten waited till he had over 20 years of work experience.
Tom is a student on the Aston Business School Online MBA. He gained his Bachelors in International Relations from Georgetown University and then a Masters in Economics from George Mason University.
Tom spent the first 10 years of his career in the US Foreign Service and then 15 years in government affairs with MCI France (now Verizon) and air transport services provider SITA, in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. He is currently Director, Justice Services Europe for Sodexo, one of the largest facilities services firms in the world. Sodexo services sectors including schools, universities, hospitals and clinics, assisted-living facilities, military bases, and correctional facilities.
Tom’s objectives in joining Aston’s online MBA programme were two fold: to sharpen some of the skills he needs everyday such as accounting and finance, and to refresh his academic credentials after decades of working. He said, “At my level now, if you can’t read a balance sheet, can’t understand a profit and loss statement, the accountant is going to walk all over you."
His second is objective is to refresh his academic credentials after 20 years in work.
He’s had a really positive experience of the programme thanks to the freedom it’s given given him to keep up with his job, take care of his family, and experience being part of a community of international students. Tom said that the student group is impressive and covers Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. 
Doing an MBA is a huge commitment and Tom has some tips for those considering taking the Online MBA. To be a successful student, “You have to be motivated, a self-starter, able to manage your own time, and be adaptable”, he said. 
Other perks of doing an Online MBA at Aston Business School include being able to fit your studies around your other work and life commitments and being able take exams in your home country. Students also have the opportunity to participate in two residential workshops, in July of each year. This means they can build relationships with the community of academic staff and students from around the world whom they’ve worked with throughout the year. The entire programme can be completed in just 27 months!
Tom recorded this video about his experience of doing the online MBA at Aston Business School while on one of the residencies at the Aston Campus in Birmingham. Here’s what he had to say…