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Adrian Keighley – MBA Class of 2016

After serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF) for 11 years, Adrian Keighley decided to take his career in a new direction, towards a role within business. Adrian joined the RAF straight from school, aged 18, and was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer; he spent seven years within this role, completing three tours of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Adrian then spent several years teaching officer cadets at RAF College Cranwell, before progressing to a more corporate role, working in the Ministry of Defence as the Military Assistant to the Director of Strategic Partnerships.

During his last six months in the RAF, a close friend and colleague in the MOD suggested Adrian attend the three week Advanced Management Achievement Course (AMAC) at Alliance Manchester Business School. The course is specially tailored for commissioned officers leaving the Armed Forces and provides an insight into the world of business. During his research and discussions with a career advisor on the AMAC, Adrian found that the absence of an undergraduate degree could hinder his opportunities within certain industries.

Following Adrian’s positive experience on the short course at Alliance Manchester Business School, he decided to go down the route of gaining further education through an MBA. He chose the 18-month Manchester MBA programme as it combined theory based learning with practical experience, and also offered an opportunity to complete an internship as part of the programme. As part of the application process, Adrian applied for, and was lucky enough to be awarded, an Excellence and Opportunity Scholarship that covered the full cost of the tuition fees.

During his MBA, Adrian attended a presentation by the building materials and DIY business, Travis Perkins PLC, one of many organised by the Postgraduate Careers Service throughout the course. Adrian’s interest was piqued by the company’s culture, coupled with their ambitious growth strategy and managed to secure an internship with the FTSE 100 company. From this, Adrian was offered a full-time position as an Investor Relations Manager, following graduation.

Now employed full-time in the Investor Relations team at Travis Perkins, he feels that his MBA has helped him across a number of different areas within his role. Adrian commented, “During the MBA, every single elective module that I completed has had a relevance to my day-to-day work, from corporate finance to strategic retail management.”

Adjusting to working life away from the RAF was a welcome challenge for Adrian, who felt that one of the highlights of the MBA was that it allowed him to experience working as part of a group within a less rigid and hierarchical structure. This approach to group work was something that Adrian believes has really helped him adjust to life outside of the Armed Forces.

Adrian added, “The MBA internship really helped me to understand how large companies interact with potential investors, shareholders, brokers and investment banks. The programme itself highlighted my strengths, but also weaknesses and allowed me to actively address those areas and develop myself further”.

“Changing sectors from the Armed Forces to the building materials and DIY sector is certainly not a typical switch; however I felt the MBA programme was the key component in providing me with the skills and confidence to smoothly transition into my new role”.