Alliance Manchester Business School - AMBS

Kim Smith’s experience

Business Transformation Specialist, CDW Ltd

Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Management Practice

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Management Practice was a part-time, blended learning programme focused on strategic learning development.

Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme has undergone a recent redesign and course content is now more closely aligned with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required for a senior leader apprenticeship award.

The newly developed, 18-month Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme, including a Postgraduate Diploma in Senior Leadership focuses on strategic leadership development and provides aspiring senior leaders with new knowledge and skills to advance their career.

An MSc is available as a top-up (paid for by the learner or their employer) to our Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership, which is up to 100% fully funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.

What were your motivations for joining the programme?

There were multiple reasons why I wanted to come on the programme. I typically move roles every four years; however, through acquisition I’ve been with my current organisation for 12 years. I love where I work, but I felt like I was beginning to stagnate and become slightly institutionalised, so I wanted to expand my experience and knowledge and gain different perspectives from people outside of our organisation and industry.


Can you tell us about your experiences on the programme?

It was challenging, but anything that’s worth something doesn’t come easy in life! It was a challenge trying to balance a full-time job in a senior role with family commitments, as well as studying, but it helped me learn how to better balance priorities by putting boundaries in place. I feel very passionate about the things that this programme has taught me about myself. The reflexive orientation is something that has helped me immensely; it’s not just about reflecting on what happened, it’s about trying to get into the detail and unravel the why. Why do I behave like this? Why did that happen? How could this have been approached in a slightly different way? I do find myself advocating this at work and I feel like it resonates greatly, not only with my own experience, but also with feedback given to me from the senior leadership team. There’s been a lot of projects that I’ve been working on where I can see modules that we’ve studied on the programme, practically emerging in front of me.

What impact has the programme had on you as a leader?

The programme has had a significant impact for me in terms of my role within the organisation. It’s opened my eyes to different perspectives. Working with a wide variety of people from public sector, private sector, and not-for-profit organisations has really helped me to understand how different people approach the same challenge in different ways. The programme has also helped to build my confidence; it addressed the imposter syndrome in me and helped me to feel more confident to challenge decisions within the business, but maybe in a slightly different way.

One of the core aspects of the programme was the Hogan Psychometric report. I found it really interesting; continuing through the course with the knowledge of the report helped me to adapt my approach, which I think has resulted in better results for both me and the business.

How has the programme enabled you to take the next step in your career?

Before coming on the programme, my lack of confidence had become a barrier and I realise that I was the one putting a limit on my career, due to my fear of failure. I doubted myself, and even though I’d been successful and had grown to a certain level professionally, I still doubted my abilities. However, I now realise that there is often no right or wrong, but opportunities to try, possibly make mistakes, but not to be afraid, as this allows us all to ultimately learn and grow!

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme helped me to build my confidence and opened my eyes to the new career possibilities. I previously worked as Head of Marketing and Partner Investments and within the last 12 months, moved to our Business Transformation team as we look to grow and scale our business further.

What advice would you give to someone looking to study on a Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme?

If you are thinking about it, then do it, but equally accept that it will be challenging and there is a lot of work you need to do. If you embrace the discomfort, and allow yourself to be vulnerable, the programme will give you the confidence to trust in the process, and in yourself, enabling you to find the balance, grow and benefit from the rewards, both personally and professionally.

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The programme helped me to build my confidence and has opened my eyes to the new career possibilities.

Kim Smith, Business Transformation Specialist at CDW Ltd

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