University of Surrey

Is an MBA worth the investment? An inside look at Surrey Business School

Is an MBA worth doing? That’s a question I get asked because I spent the past couple of years doing an Executive MBA at Surrey Business School. The course is one or two weekends of teaching per month and a steady stream of coursework and group presentations to deliver. And although it involved a fair amount of blood, toil, tears and sweat (well, maybe not the blood and tears), it was an incredible learning experience that made all the work worth it.

I chose Surrey because the course is bang up to date, with modules on subjects like “Digital Platforms and Business Model Strategies” and “Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management”. AI and Big Data and the latest thinking on analytics is there on the course in a module on “Manager Decision Making and Insight”, along with modules covering subjects like financial management and accounting, operations management and strategy.

The lecturers frequently brought a wide range of their own commercial experience to discussions, so it was never a case of crusty, dry lecturers with elbow patches and sandals trying to imagine what real business is like, but top academics with a great deal of first-hand expertise of the business world and PowerPoint decks starting with the logos of companies they’d worked with.

As a marketer, I was particularly appreciative of the modules on “Marketing in a Digital World” and “Advanced Consumer Behaviour”, which looked at the strategies and techniques used by leading marketers today, backed up by lots on the degree about business models, innovation and strategy. Meanwhile, the optional module on “Leadership” made us reflect critically on our own styles and what applying best practice might look like.

Outside of lectures, the support Surrey Business School put around the course – the “MBA Help” email account, the admin support, the course director, and the fact that the lecturers would reply quickly to emails – all added glue that contributed to making the degree a really strong experience.

There are those in life who believe that you can just “wing it” with most things in life and pick everything up by accident. But in my opinion, there’s a lot of practical learning that I experienced on the degree that I wouldn’t have thought about without the formal studying and reflection that an MBA provides. Undoubtedly, by studying I was able to develop a much richer understanding of best practice and a set of tools that have helped me to provide greater rigour and insight in what I do at work. So yes, I do think an MBA is worth doing, and – if you’re considering business school – I would definitely recommend putting Surrey on your shortlist.

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