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20 Years Later: How An Online MBA Is Still Helping This Entrepreneur Succeed

Nigel Shanahan started his software company after completing the Online MBA at Warwick in 2000. He sold his business for over $50 million this year, and now he's starting a new philanthropic venture


Mon Nov 26 2018

A lot of things didn’t exist 20 years ago—Facebook, iPhones, Tesla, and even BusinessBecause.

But one thing that did exist was Warwick Business School’s Distance learning MBA, which, this year, the Financial Times ranked the best online MBA in the world in their 2018 Online MBA ranking.

Nigel Shanahan was working at IBM when he started the Distance learning MBA at Warwick Business School in 1997. Since then, he has launched his own digital software company, Rant & Rave, which he sold this year to a US software company for over $50 million.

“I decided to do an MBA to give me a broader career choice really, and the opportunity to change career if that were available,” Nigel explains.

Back then, Warwick already had a good reputation among Distance learning MBA providers, and it was its good reputation that attracted Nigel to the School in the first place. It was on the MBA that he discovered a passion for entrepreneurship that spurred the creation of his first business.

“The entrepreneurship module was one of my elective modules, and through the process, there were gatherings every 10 weeks or so with presentations from entrepreneurs,” he recalls. “That was when I decided, ‘that really excites me’.”

As Nigel says, online MBAs have “come on leaps and bounds” since he graduated, but he says the skills he learnt on the MBA are still helping him now.

“I gained the ability to go through balance sheets and understand how finance hangs together; an appreciation for organizational behaviour and how decisions get made,” Nigel explains. “It’s really an appreciation for all elements of business, and I think that stands anyone in good stead.”

The Distance learning MBA at Warwick Business School is provided through a bespoke online learning environment, allowing students from anywhere in the world to participate in lectures and access assignments.

Students on the program also attend two ‘Warwick Weeks’, given either at Warwick’s main campus or at their unique London base on the 13th and 17th floors of The Shard skyscraper.

Nigel affirms that it’s the ability to interact with MBA colleagues that makes an online MBA really stand out.

“If I did it again I think I’d spend more time keeping in touch with the people,” Nigel says. “In these days, it’s multimedia and you can bring the program to life in a completely different way to the way I experienced it.”

Since selling his company, Nigel has wasted no time putting his entrepreneurial skills to use again, this time, in a philanthropic venture. His company, Make Good Grow, is a venture which aims to connect volunteers with nonprofit companies that fit their skillsets.

“Make Good Grow is about people’s skills and time being used for good causes, it’s like volunteering with passion inside of it,” he explains. “We only started the company four weeks ago, but I’m quite excited about it!”

Nigel is also certain that his Distance learning MBA from Warwick Business School will continue to assist him in this new venture.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I’m out of my depth in a conversation about anything, and I think that’s down to the MBA,” he says.  

Student Reviews

Warwick Business School




On Campus

BSc Management with Marketing

I loved Warwick business school. The staff is supportive, my academic tutor was key in my development throughout the 3 years and you have to meet with her/him every term. Most professors are helpful and would happily offer support if needed. You also have office hours and can contact professors by email and through the forum. In general, WBS instills in you the willingness to learn and the resilience needed for you for whatever career you choose. Very international community which broadens your horizon and makes you more open minded and self aware. You will most certainly make friends and memories for life. I recommend that you get outside of your comfort zone and try new activities with your friends! WBS also has a great reputation and offers careers opportunities, and careers support throughout the degree. There is the opportunity to do a year abroad to further develop on a personal level. I wasn’t able to do this due to Covid but I would have loved to do it during normal circumstances! Would definitely recommend this. Although Warwick is not a city university, the campus vibe has a lot of advantages, especially at an undergraduate level. You are always around familiar faces, and in a student environment. Moreover, Birmingham is only 20 mins away from Leamington spa and London is only one hour away! Perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway!




On Campus

Life at Warwick Business School

Pursuing my master's degree at WBS has been a game-changer in my life. With high-quality education, interaction with students from across the world, amazing campus life and much more. I was able to learn about business, finance, project management and strategy all in one course: MSc in Management at WBS. Besides the top-notch education from the best professors, I also enjoyed being a part of fun societies and participating in fun activities such as scavenger hunts and so much more. The school also organises many company visits and interactions which help students get a head start at finding a job. As my course came to an end, I also have a good full-time job placement in my hands. Overall, my experience at WBS was a great one.






The Warwick Business School was like a dream come to life for me. The University ranking speaks for itself, from top-tier facilities to some of the best professors I had to honour to study with I fell in love with my course. Interactions with people from all over the world gave me a newfound confidence in myself. Career prospects after graduating are endless due to the contacts of the universities and the success rate for previous students, it does open a lot of doors for students in various career fields. The campus life is quite good as well with a lot of student groups and clubs, and extra circular activities to engage students at all times. Loved my experience.




On Campus

A good business school

It is a very cutting-edge, career-oriented business school, all courses are very practical, and the college does a very good job of career service. From the hardware and facilities to the staff, the student experience is at the core of the school and student satisfaction is taken very seriously. I understand that many universities in the UK are relatively traditional and can occasionally be rigid in terms of rules and regulations, and although WBS has a relatively short history, this makes it more innovative and dynamic, which is essential for a business school. The downside is that because it is on the outskirts of Coventry, it is a long bus ride to the city centre, not to mention the difference in experience from a big city like London.




On Campus


The people, campus, staff. It’s a very enjoyable environment and it’s particularly good for learning and playing sports. The people there are extremely friendly and welcoming and it’s very easy to make friends




What I Like About Warwick

I’ve personally liked my experience at Warwick so far because of the amazing people I’ve gotten to meet and how many opportunities we students are provided with to learn and grow. Within Warwick, I’m part of the Business School, a learning haven comprised of well-structured modules and extremely helpful people All in all, a great place to be :)




Campus Life

One thing that stood out for me was the campus life, you felt like part of a community. The social aspects of the student union and on-campus accommodation meant you can easily get together and enjoy with friends. Additionally, I felt the course provided a variety of subjects allowing me to enhance my knowledge, from Marketing to Law and Finance. Overall I would most definitely recommend this university to friends and family.




Excellence self catered

The campus is very welcoming and Modern. There are many opportunities at Warwick but it is up to the student how do they want to make the most out of it and the staff at the school will definitely helo as much as possible. The location and the ranking have been amazing.




Warwick business school

Warwick business school is one of the best universities around the globe with a solid base of economic and business studies. Moreover, students get a chance to study in a diverse and warm environment with professional stuff which tries to provide the best opportunities for career development. One of the memorable features of the university are great events which sometimes take a place in one of the landmarks of the London city, the Shard building.

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