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Alumni profile: Fraser Stewart

Global MBA alumnus Fraser Stewart shared his experience of studying the Global Part-time MBA and how this has helped him to transition to his current role as a co-founder and chief commercial officer for a fintech platform.

Give a brief overview of your role and what it is you do on a day-to-day basis.

I am the co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Lyfeguard, a fintech SaaS (software as a service) platform that neatly organises our customers’ lives, helping people to manage their life admin, track their finances and protect their legacy in one platform.

I am responsible for shaping the commercial direction of Lyfeguard, whether it's product, sales, marketing, or customer relations. My guiding principle is a customer-centric ethos, making sure our service resonates deeply with our users' needs. Each day brings a new challenge, a new lesson, keeping the journey forever fresh and exciting.

What attracted you to this job/industry?

During the early stages of my career, I dabbled in both finance and the digital world. I worked at both HSBC and British Airways and they both instilled a deep curiosity about the potential of fintech to shape meaningful, human-centric solutions. I’d always wanted to take the entrepreneurial path, but I was searching for that one idea which resonated.

I believe that sometimes the toughest times can bring the clearest ideas, and this is how Lyfeguard started for us. After the death of a close friend, my father, Gary, who co-founded Lyfeguard with me, was asked to close their estate and it quickly became clear how difficult such a task can be. You have the grief to manage and then sorting out all the necessary documents made everything even harder.

We sat down together and envisioned a platform to ease this process through the centralising and sharing of vital records, enabling loved ones to navigate difficult times with clarity and peace of mind. Lyfeguard was born from there and has grown into the essential life management platform it is today.

How did the MBA help you and your career?

The MBA was pivotal in broadening my understanding of the intricate world of business. Not only did it enhance my technical know-how, but the real-world applications and networking opportunities offered by the programme propelled me forward.

This comprehensive exposure was instrumental in my shift from a digital marketing role to taking the entrepreneurial leap with Lyfeguard. The MBA equipped me with a holistic view of business, encompassing strategy, operations, finance, and beyond. This understanding, combined with the extensive network I built, has been invaluable.

Why did you choose Manchester to study your MBA?

While the reputation and ranking of Alliance Manchester Business School were factors, it was the hands-on, real-world approach to learning via the Manchester Method that truly sold me.

The idea of learning through tangible business scenarios and projects, combined with the opportunity to engage with diverse global peers, was invaluable.

What skills did you learn on the MBA that are transferrable and do you still use these now?

Beyond the hard skills like critical thinking, strategic planning, financial management, and operational efficiency, the MBA also enriched my soft skills.

Communication, leadership, teamwork, and adaptability were invaluable lessons that are essential in my role with Lyfeguard.

How long had you been considering an MBA for? Had studying an MBA always been something you wanted to do?

The idea of pursuing an MBA had been in the back of my mind for a while. I've always been a firm believer in ongoing self-improvement and education. But it was during the challenges of Covid, when I introspectively identified gaps, especially in areas like finance and operations, that I felt an MBA was the necessary next step in my career journey.

What advice would you give anyone considering an MBA?

Embarking on an MBA is not a decision you can make lightly. It requires deep commitment, countless hours, and a desire to grow. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, at times, but it's in those moments of uncertainty, when you grapple with concepts that seem elusive, that real growth occurs.

I would also add that it is so important to seek opportunities to expand your network. The relationships you cultivate might prove as transformative as the learnings themselves. Embrace the discomfort; it's a sign you're on the path to genuine progression.

What was your favourite memory of the MBA?

The Advanced Strategic Management workshop in Singapore is my favourite memory. Being my final workshop in the programme, it held special significance.

It wasn't just the vibrant learning environment that stood out; it was the culmination of my journey, the friendships I'd formed, and the tangible sense of how much I'd grown that made it truly unforgettable.

What was your favourite part of the programme?

The moments, either during or after a workshop or assignment, that a concept suddenly 'clicked'. That "aha" moment, where confusion cleared and turned into understanding. It proved the value and reinforced the rationale behind taking the programme.

Find out how you can develop your business management skills with a Manchester MBA.