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Why MBA: Cranfield School of Management

High-flying accounting manager eager to learn personal development and management skills

By  Sunny Li

Thu Jan 28 2010

Junelle Wellington has always wanted to become a successful business leader, but not until she turned 30 did she realize that doing an MBA could be the catalyst.

The native of Trinidad and Tobago spent almost a decade in accounting management, working for blue chip multinational companies such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Unilever and CNBC Europe. But when it came to knowing business as a whole, she felt the need to go back to school.

“I have a lot of experiences in accounting and strategy,” she says of her career, which includes working in both Trinidad and the UK. “But I always feel a bit limited, so I would like to develop management skills and… more knowledge in business.”

Wellington was the account manager at CSMG, a global strategy consultancy firm in London, when she started paying attention to various MBA programs. Initially, Oxford University’s Said Business School and Imperial College Business School were her preferred choices.

But an open day visit to Cranfield School of Management, approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) from her central London office, changed her mind.

“It just felt right,” recalls Wellington of last year’s visit. “I liked everything about this place: the facility, the staff and the atmosphere – I was sold on the day!”

Wellington withdrew her applications to Oxford and Imperial, quit her job at CSMG and sent in her Cranfield MBA application.

She quickly found her fate: not only was she accepted; Wellington was also awarded a partial scholarship by her future alma mater.

To complete her scholarship bid, Wellington had to take math and spatial tests, give a five-minute presentation and face a Cranfield faculty member packed with questions.

The pain was worth it: Cranfield’s strong focus on personal development, described by the school as a “defining feature” of their MBA program, is exactly what Wellington wants.

She says developing professional skills and building her leadership style are her priorities, and joining the school’s Women Leadership Association has given her an edge.

“The objectives are to celebrate the success of outstanding women leaders, networking, and creating awareness of challenges women face to progress in business,” she says. The Association holds workshops and networking events.

Once she becomes a business all-rounder, Wellington wants to jump into banking and strategy in an international finance firm. Getting into a U.K-based international bank such as the Barclay’s and HSBC wouldn’t be bad, she jokes.

Quitting her previous job for an MBA may sound risky. However, Wellington has no regrets about going back to school under crunch time.

“Go for it” is her advice to those “in the same shoes”: “It’s definitely worth doing an MBA. It’s a great way to learn not only about technological aspects of business but also about you,” she says.

Wellington is excited about what’s next in life: “I may have had nine-years in accounting but I’m still young for the next chapter in life,” she says.

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