Marlon Velloza is excited by the prospect of new digital technologies deployed in the workplace. Big data, analytics and real-time communication across continents among other themes are changing how businesses operate.
The MBA student hopes to work for a global technology company upon graduation. He enrolled at Lancaster University Management School last year, after a stint as an IT consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, which supports Latin American and Caribbean nations, in Guyana, a sovereign state on the coast of South America.
While at the bank, he also worked for the technology services provider that he co-founded, as its project lead specialist. Prior to that, he worked in IT for the United Nations Population Fund, an international development agency, one of various tech stints.
He hopes the UK-based MBA program at LUMS will eventually land him a C-suite IT job at a global company, such as chief technology officer or chief information officer.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA degree?
My ultimate career goal along my current career path is to be a C-level IT leader for a multinational firm. Based on previous experience, I found that such a role would require more than just technical skills – which I have, given my bachelor’s in computer science – but also an understanding of the strategic issues surrounding business.
So, I decided to pursue an MBA at Lancaster as I saw the degree equipping me with the knowledge, tools and skills required to propel my career.
What made your business school stand out from the rest?
During the applications period, I chose the Lancaster MBA for a number of reasons:
1. The practical nature of the program: the LUMS MBA offers the perfect blend of academic content and practical applications of theoretical concepts, through its various real-world challenges. One such test is the consultancy challenge, which provides students with the opportunity to solve real time problems for mid-sized companies in the UK.
2. Rigor: the MBA is an intensive one-year program that not only shapes your outlook on business, but helps you to be critically aware of yourself – something which stood out from other universities.
3. Location: [Lancaster is] conducive to studying, while at a pivotal point offering access to larger cities.
4. People: my interaction with the LUMS admissions personnel and director made me feel welcome from the first email and telephone call. I felt as if the university cared about its students and worked hard for their success – which I experienced when I got here.
How would you describe the culture at your business school?
The Lancaster University Management School is friendly, engaging, sometimes competitive and disciplined. The culture is a good balance of hard work and play.
Which aspect of the MBA has been the most valuable?
Thus far 3 things have stood out for me:
1. The Mindful Manager module, which requires us to be critically self-aware of our deliberative, collaborative conduct – a skill necessary for all managers.
2. The Career Advancement program: a very detailed, rigorous and ongoing career development program, which has provided me with the confidence and knowledge required to stand out from my competition in the job market.
3. Practical wisdom: I have been able to learn through engagement with various aspects of the program, from time management to multicultural, cross-functional teamwork and decision making, to making powerful business presentations. These are skills which will remain with me for the rest of my illustrious career.
What advice would you give to people who are about to apply to business school?
Before applying, don’t just look at a brand name or the rankings. Get a sense of the school culture and the staff. If possible, speak to current students and alumni to gain greater insight into the school’s philosophy. I have friends who have regretted not choosing one school over another for silly reasons.
Ensure that you have clear career and personal objectives. These help at the times when studies get crazy.
Prepare yourself mentally and physically. The schedules can be challenging and you will need a system to stay on top of things, such as exercise. I also found it helpful taking Moocs prior to arrival, to orient myself with courses which I may not have been exposed to before. It helps not to be completely clueless.
What excites you about the advent of technology in business?
Where to begin! I think the most exciting thing about technology in business is the ability for companies to use very powerful tools that can aid in their decision making process and ultimately give them a competitive advantage, such as big data analytics. In addition, real-time communication and collaboration across various time-zones [is exciting].
What are your future career plans?
Immediately after the MBA, I intend on working for a global tech company which will see me en route to my ultimate career goal. In addition, I’m interested in a number of entrepreneurial ventures.