I started my journey on the Global MBA in January 2019 with no idea what was round the corner. I spent the start of the programme travelling from Johannesburg to Manchester for face-to-face workshops and the chance to network with my classmates and embrace the culture of the city of Manchester. Then Covid-19 hit the globe and I was completing my live business project virtually, never meeting with the group in person.
The biggest drawback of not being able to do face to face is not being able to network with the amazing group of people that you are doing the MBA with. From a studying point of view it never made a difference to me, the vast majority of the Global MBA is done away from the Manchester centre anyway.” I was however meant to travel to Hong Kong for my final elective, negotiation skills. But I have to give credit to all the staff that ensured this was done well virtually, all the lecturers seem to adapt to the change to online and I never felt short changed. I still got the full benefit of the course, everything was so interactive. It was just a shame I didn’t get to travel to Hong Kong.
I changed jobs shortly after completing the Global MBA: I moved from being a Financial Manager, very focused on products, to running a motor dealership as a Dealer Principal. The largest impact Covid has had is that the South African auto market is down close on 30% YOY. This brings about its own issues such as concerns about job security. As an aside, this would've impacted both my roles as both are in the automotive industry. Since beginning my new role South Africa has been hit by a second wave of Covid-related infections and this has put a greater emphasis on Covid-related risk management in my new role. I am not working from home, and both staff (who are also not working from home) and customers rely on my team and I to provide them with a safe work and shopping environment.
The MBA definitely helped me move jobs and gave me the skills to manage a large team and look at a business very differently:
- I now set targets and goals for a large team so the skills I have learnt definitely aided this.
- Time management: Just like on the Global MBA a dealership has hard and fast deadlines, we are only open for a finite number of hours and targets must be met within these time parameters.
- Delegation: On the Global MBA you need to trust your teammates to deliver when doing project work. It is the same for a dealership: each department has targets; each relies on the other in some way to meet these targets. The business is too big for you as the Dealer Principal or General Manager to think you can do it all. You need to trust your team to deliver and provide an environment where they can.