We recently caught up with Antonio Cervo, who graduated from the MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management course in 2018, to reflect on his experiences.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you studied at Alliance MBS?
"Sure, I’m Italian and I graduated from Alliance MBS in 2018 with a Master’s in Business Analysis and Strategic Management. Previously I’d studied in Italy, my bachelor was in Business Economics and I did a semester abroad with Erasmus in Croatia, which is a strange destination but it turned out to be really fun and really helped me understand that I wanted to have more of an international footprint in my development and career. This is actually one of the reasons why I decided to move to Manchester after the bachelor was over in Italy.
"I spent a year doing business analysis for a company called WorldPay and then I moved into a product management role. This gave me the possibility of developing not just the technical, but also the business side of the skills set. It gave much more involvement with strategic decisions around the product, what do we build next, taking feedback loops from customers so you build more engagement with sales and I think it gave me a good understanding of how a business works.
"While I was doing that I also had a side hustle that I was doing before I started at Alliance Manchester Business School which is now my full-time commitment. It’s called EasyBlock, it’s a product based company which I am now fully focusing on."
Why did you choose Manchester and Alliance MBS?
"Well first of all, obviously the School is very well ranked within the business world which definitely gives a boost to your CV. It opens you up to a lot of international opportunities, plus the cohort of students is quite multicultural and come from really different backgrounds which is the sort of exposure that is always useful, to learn to be with different cultures.
"The other thing that was quite key for me was that the University is obviously based in the UK, so it gives you the possibility of improving your English while you’re studying.
"Then I think the key selling point for me was the client-facing project over the summer. It really gives you the possibility of gaining some real hands-on experience in the business world which was the main reason I chose Manchester."
What were your top highlights of the programme?
"I think that for anyone wanting to join that programme, the key thing to understand is that you’re joining a master’s programme, not a bachelors. The way you will be studying and approaching the whole course is pretty different. It’s up to you what you want to get out of that.
"What you are getting when you join Alliance Manchester Business School is the network. So the key thing for me was to be able to engage with professors and have honest conversations on a one-to-one basis. You get a lot of time if you put it in because the main difference you get from the bachelors to the master's is you actually have a set amount of hours with every professor which I think is a brilliant opportunity.
"The other thing that was quite key to me is that obviously when you pick a master’s you have a set number of units that you must do and are compulsory. But then you get to pick the others from any courses at the business school and I think I took full advantage of that.
"As electives, I picked a couple of units that were more in the entrepreneurship space. It gave me the possibility of meeting other students that were studying other master's, getting engaged with other professors and staff, working with companies during the winter project. So I think that was quite key and leverage the network as much as possible would be my suggestion and my key takeaway, it paid off so much afterwards."
What advice would you give to those considering studying at AMBS?
"Well, I’d say the good thing about Alliance MBS is that they have a really hands-on approach, quite approachable, so reach out to current students, connect with them on LinkedIn, ask them questions.
"Whenever you’re applying to an international programme, you obviously don’t know about the city or how the school works. I would suggest once the pandemic is over, if you get an offer or if you are just considering Manchester, hop on a plane if you live in Europe, come and visit it and that is something I did. For example, I wanted to have a tour of the University, see the facilities and the buildings.
"Get familiar with University, try and understand if you would like to live in that City because sometimes there are really good universities, but in really tough cities. The other advantage I would say is to consider that the cost of living in Manchester is way lower than in some other cities. This is a key factor when you're studying for a year, a year and a half in a place as you save a lot of rent and so on.
"I would say again, you will have some doubts, that's normal. Try to note down your questions, reach out to former students or current students and professors, they will be more than happy to help you out!"