Why MBA: Aston Business School — UK

Alex Drago spent eight years as education manager at the Tower of London

Alex Drago, a British student at Aston Business School, is big on education. The MBA has spent much of his life delivering sometimes informal education programs and spinning the idea of learning through museums.

He was most recently an explorer manager at Historic Royal Palaces, the umbrella body for Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace, to name a few. And before that he spent eight years as education manager at the Tower of London, known more for blood and guts that books and study.

The degree will help him transition — into non-profits, education, consulting or organizational development.

Alex received the Aston Excellence Scholarship, worth £2,000, and has been matched with a senior mentor at John Lewis, the British department stores chain — part of Aston’s alumni mentoring scheme.

What are you hoping to gain from an MBA?

I wanted a mid-career change, to move away from the museum sector where I’d worked for about 10 years. But the truth is that this is not a very well-understood sector, and so I was concerned that my efforts to facilitate a career change would be slow and difficult.

I knew that the MBA was a highly respected qualification that would not only build on my past knowledge, skills, and experience, but also add to this portfolio, making me a more attractive proposition to future employers.

Tell us what makes Aston Business School unique.

High-quality teaching with genuine experts in their field, who provide excellent resources. They are also genuinely helpful and supportive, and really want you to succeed.

We’ve also benefitted from hearing from industry experts who bring additional insight and add multidimensional perspectives. It’s a genuine privilege to hear them speak and to ask them questions.

The cohort is also tremendously diverse, with so many different countries, backgrounds and experiences represented. And it’s always interesting and often challenging to have your long-held assumptions tested by such a diverse group.

But there’s also a recognition that becoming a better business leader is also about better understanding yourself, so we’ve been encouraged to look inward and better understand our own strengths and to amplify them, as well as identify areas that need development.

Very few schools can match this combination of experience, so it’s a great privilege to study for an MBA at Aston.

What are your tips for securing an MBA scholarship?

Don’t underestimate your experience; be sure you can communicate the value of that experience; talk with the team about the scholarships and what they’re looking for, as there’s probably more flexibility in their approach than you realize.

What is the best advice your Aston Business School mentor has given you so far?

My mentor is an HR professional, so she’s given me mostly practical advice on job searching, and how the job market has changed in recent years. This is really helpful, as the recruitment processes in my previous sector were quite different.

Where does your passion for education come from?

We often think of education as assessments, exams, and certificates, but for me it runs so much deeper than that. Education is really about personal transformation; it’s an opportunity to understand more about the world and your part in it.

I’m always interested in doing more of it, whether formal or informal. With that sort of a perspective it’s easier to remember that education is a privilege.

What do you hope to do with your Aston MBA?

At the moment I’m still trying to narrow down a few potential avenues which the MBA has already opened up for me. I’m keen to use my skills and experience in not-for-profit and education, but would like to work at a more strategic level. So probably some form of transformative consultancy or organizational development role would suit my skills and experience perfectly.

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