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Alumni Insight: Tom Felton, MSc International Business and Management

We recently caught up with Tom Felton who graduated from the MSc International Business and Management course at Alliance Manchester Business School.

What were you doing before your MSc?

“Before enrolling at Alliance Manchester Business School, I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a  combined-honours Bachelors' degree in History and Spanish. I had always wanted to learn a language and combined this with a traditional subject that was fairly open in terms of application.

"History is a great subject for developing an analytical mindset and improving critical reasoning, skills which are highly valuable and sought after by employers. I am also a strong supporter of learning languages - this not only develops your cognitive skills (particularly listening!) but also opens up employment options in an increasingly global economy. As one of the most accessible and widely spoken languages, Spanish is a great option.

“Perhaps most rewardingly, languages enable you to connect more authentically with a whole new group of people, offering you insight into other cultures. With many university courses now offering the opportunity to study abroad (even if you are not enrolled in a language degree), students have the opportunity to develop their language skills with native speakers in the target country. I have studied abroad in Spain and Denmark, developing an international network, gaining perspective on my own upbringing and experiences, and most importantly having loads of fun.”

Why did you choose Alliance MBS?

“The decision to study for a postgraduate degree at The University of Manchester was a no-brainer for me. The University consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the UK and Europe, pulling in significant research funding every year. As a result, the facilities and lecturers are excellent and students experience an extremely high level of teaching.

“AMBS is no exception. The lecturers are renowned researchers in their respective fields and deliver units that encourage students to think critically and challenge existing schools of thought, something of great importance in a constantly developing global business context. These courses therefore naturally rank highly. For example, I enrolled in MSc International Business and Management, ranking 5th in the UK and 24th globally (QS Business Masters Rankings 2021).

“As a result, the courses are highly popular, with postgraduate degree courses, in particular, attracting application numbers many times higher than the class sizes. For the 2021 MSc IBM course, 1,358 applications were received for 105 places. In a job market where the number of graduates with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees is ever-increasing, the strong reputation and exclusivity ensure that a degree from AMBS is highly valued and respected by employers and recruiters.

“As a location, Manchester is buzzing and there is a palpable feeling of growth in the city.”

What were the top 3 highlights of your programme?

“Most importantly, the MSc International Business and Management programme gave me a global network. The students on the course represented some of the brightest and most ambitious people I have ever met, from 18 different nationalities. Seeing our cohort graduate into the workplace, taking up positions in a range of enterprises, countries and industries has cemented my belief that networking is one of the major benefits of pursuing a degree full-stop, and Manchester is up there with one of the largest and most diverse student bases in the UK.

“In the same vein, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to spend a semester abroad at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. AMBS has established partnerships with a range of top business schools across the world, enabling students to broaden their horizons and enhance their employability by gaining exposure to another culture. For anybody considering an exchange semester, CBS is a great option. Considered widely as one of the most prestigious business schools in Europe, CBS is a truly international university, with students from all over the world. As a city, Copenhagen has a rich start-up scene (particularly tech companies) and is way ahead of the UK in terms of sustainability and is a far more equal society - a great opportunity to gain some perspective!

“In relation to the course specifically, in addition to being a 12-month programme (many Master’s degrees are 2 years), the MSc International Business and Management course did not require previous business-related studies. In effect, this course, therefore, enabled me to quickly pivot into Business, increasingly my employability significantly.”

How has your career developed since graduating?

“Following on from the previous point, I was able to use the degree to approach the financial institutions with the biggest presence in Manchester, choosing the Operations Campus Analyst Programme at the Bank of New York Mellon. BNY Mellon is a leading global financial institution with a significant presence in Manchester spread over offices at One Piccadilly Gardens and Hardman Street. The company is also one of the most accessible financial institutions in the city, with employees from a range of career backgrounds.

“Having passed the halfway point of the 2-year graduate scheme, I am thoroughly enjoying my time here. At BNY Mellon you are able to get stuck in and achieve great things, and the management team in Manchester are highly supportive and encouraging when you go above and beyond the call. In just over a year, I have been recognised as Tax Employee of the Quarter, as a Diversity Champion, and have also been recognised by ProManchester as ‘Graduate of the Year’ for the 2022 ‘Made in Manchester' Awards.”

What advice would you give to anyone considering this course or Alliance Manchester Business School?

“The MSc International Business and Management course is well suited to students with limited previous business experience, with the first semester designed to bring you up to speed on the theory - to a more experienced business student this may feel repetitive/not add much value for you and maybe a better option to consider one of the more focused programmes.

“That aside, my advice would be to get involved as much as possible - it is a unique opportunity to gain some life-changing experiences so the sooner you drop your guard and get involved, the better. The 12 months flew by and if I could go back and do it again I would do so in a heartbeat - so enjoy it!”