Andrea Wilson, 28, from Birmingham, UK had always known she wanted to do an MBA at some point in her career, but was waiting to gain more work experience before starting it.
This is why, after graduating in European Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2005, she decided to work in financial services for almost five years, spending the last three and a half years in a venture capital company in London.
Finally last year, Andrea decided to apply to Aston Business School and to Birmingham Business School. “I wanted to do an MBA to improve my confidence, my ability to engage in high level thinking, to gain more strategic skills, and basically to reinforce and broaden all the other skills I needed”, she explains.
Andrea, who got an offer from both universities chose Aston’s MBA program, despite it being the more expensive between the two degrees, because she already knew the school.
“I had already come here for a workshop years ago”, she says. “So I already had the opportunity of experiencing the university, and I just felt more comfortable here.”
For Andrea, the main attraction of Aston’s MBA program is its dedicated team of coordinators that help students during the year and give them advice.
In addition, she chose Aston because she preferred its modules: “Birmingham has very good modules as well, but I preferred the ones at Aston”.
“I really enjoyed all my lectures”, she continues. In particular, she learnt a great deal from classes like Creative Decisions for Effective Change, Strategic Human Resources Management in a Global Context, and Organizational Behaviour.
She reckons Aston has a very broad program. “It doesn’t target just one type of person or one segment: in the full-time MBA there are people between 25 and 35 years on average. You have people from every sector and industry, who have their own businesses or work for big companies”.
Andrea also enjoyed the lectures given by outside speakers: “They add variety and they give you more real-world perspective, which can be very enlightening”, she explains. “Another thing I enjoyed was the group work [with her classmates]: I find the brainstorming process very stimulating. I also found that every time that we worked in a group, our marks ranged from 65 to 90%, which is excellent”.
To MBA applicants, she recommends that they follow their "gut feeling” when choosing an MBA program. “As much as you can rely on the brand, and the ranking, you need to have a good feeling about how you can spend one year or so in that particular business school. Rankings are important but they are not the most reliable source. You need to trust your instinct.”
To make the most of the program, she thinks that time management is crucial. “The MBA is quite intense, but is a very fantastic journey”, she explains. “It is very important to manage your workload as well as your socializing and your personal time.”
Andrea is member of the Aston Entrepreneur society, which recently organized a networking workshop to help its members improving their networking skills.
Now the term has ended, Andrea is doing a consultancy project for an international construction and consultancy company in London and is starting job hunting.
She hopes to get a job in a mid-size consulting firm in Europe: “I’ve already worked for a small company and for a very large company, now I want to try working in a medium one”, she says. In six years, she hopes to start her own consulting business.
Read more about the reasons people head to business school in the Why MBA section