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From Part-time MBA to management consultant and published author

From a Part-time MBA to management consultant and published author. Read Joe’s alumni story.

Joe Copp, who graduated from our Global MBA programme in 2019, spoke to us recently to talk about his career journey since completing the Manchester MBA and how the programme played a key part in this. He also discusses his recent foray into becoming a published author.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA programme?

I reached a stage in my career where I wanted to explore other roles and sectors that I hadn’t previously been exposed to, and the range of modules that the Manchester Global MBA programme offered really appealed to me.

And what specifically about the Manchester Global MBA programme attracted you to the school?

After reviewing different options, the Manchester Global MBA stood out for a number of reasons. In particular, I was interested in the international element – not just the opportunity to visit different centres in other countries, but also to work and collaborate with other students all over the world. I worked on projects with surgeons, engineers, lawyers and everyone in between!

I also liked the structure of the modules; particularly the balance between being on campus for 3 weeks a year and completing the rest of the work remotely. The latter in particular was very helpful when it came to scheduling and planning.

What made you choose a part-time study option?

I wanted the ability to study for my MBA without having to pause my career, and this programme was able to offer a seamless experience in that regard. It also allowed me to directly link my learning with the work that I was doing – particularly for the Negotiation Skills and Live Business Project modules.

How did you balance work, study, and personal life during the programme?

Knowing when the face-to-face workshops were going to take place was really helpful when it came to booking time off work in advance.

Outside of that, I made sure that I allocated time in the evenings and weekends to keep on top of my learning.

Although there is a lot of work to complete, the practical application and connection between the assignments and your own organisation really helps – and it’s still definitely possible to maintain a social life too!

In what ways did the part-time MBA programme contribute to your career advancement or opportunities?

Alongside the key learning, the network that I built was a huge benefit of the MBA.

One of my goals going into the course was to move into freelance management consultancy. With the skills that I developed and people that I built relationships with, I’m very happy to say that I’ve now been working in that field for around 3 years post-graduation.

The breadth of the modules that are covered during the MBA has allowed me to apply myself to a variety of different roles and organisations.

Can you share a specific example of how you applied what you learned in the programme to make a significant impact in your workplace?

There are many examples I could give, but a really impactful one was after the Negotiation Skills module.

I was able to propose and implement a framework that I learnt on the MBA to tangibly improve the way in which strategic negotiations were managed in the organisation I worked for at the time. This was incredibly well received by the Senior Leadership team.

In more general terms, talking about the projects I undertook as part of the MBA has also been a powerful tool for job interviews and has helped me to secure more senior roles and contracts.

We hear you’ve recently become a published author. How did this come about and how did what you learnt on your MBA help you with this?

Writing a book was something that I’d always wanted to explore, but the MBA helped me to realise that dream in a number of ways. Firstly, it taught me to balance extra-curricular activities with my work and social commitments in a way that’s productive without being overbearing.

More practically, when it came to getting the novel in front of publishers, it gave me the tools to identify the right stakeholders, plan how to engage with them effectively, build up my brand in the right way and market myself effectively. It really did pull on the majority of the modules that I studied!

The book is called Camp Terra (under my pen name, J W Copp), and is a suspense thriller novel set in an eerie American summer camp. It follows the journey of six curious teenagers trying to uncover the dark secrets of the camp, whilst their friends begin to mysteriously disappear around them.

It was picked up by a publishing house recently, which has meant the book is now listed with retailers all over the UK (including Amazon, WH Smith and Waterstones). It’s my first step into creative fiction, and it has been very successful already with the Young Adult market!

What advice would you give to someone considering a part-time MBA programme?

Research the modules, map out your existing commitments and make sure you’re able to dedicate enough time to really make it a success.

Don’t just focus on the assignments either – make sure you also take the time to build relationships with other people on the course.

Not only did I grow my own professional network, but I also made some brilliant friends that I still regularly speak to now!

Find out more about our Global Part-time MBA >>