Connecting with Global MBA student Ed Jennings

Posted by Bayes Business School on 29-Sep-2022 09:00:00

Find out how entrepreneur Ed Jennings has made the most of his experience studying for an online Global MBA with Bayes Business School. 

This post is an edited version of a webinar transcript. You can watch the full webinar recording with Selima and Ed on the Global MBA course page.

An MBA is considered one of the most prestigious degrees in the field of business. MBA graduates are often sought out for the array of skills and wealth of knowledge they possess. If you’re looking for a career boost, an MBA is a great way to change the trajectory of your career and gain an upper hand in a sea of applicants.

Our Course Adviser Selima Rehman sat with current student Ed Jennings to get his perspective on the Bayes Business School’s Global MBA programme.

Selima: Hi Ed, can you introduce yourself?

Ed: My name is Ed Jennings. I'm currently on the Global MBA course at Bayes. A bit about my background – I spent just over 10 years in travel and hospitality, working at the Thomas Cook Group. I moved through different positions and then unfortunately, Thomas Cook collapsed. After taking some time off, I spent just over a year in a hospitality group managing the business, then as a chief of staff and during the pandemic helped create a new home cocktail delivery business, which is going well even today.

And I now work across three companies and have been growing one myself that I'm particularly interested in so, mainly working in the sustainability and reward space with a business called 'The Good Box', and then also a media company called 'That Nursery Life'. I like to work across lots of different industries with different challenges and different people. And that's where I am today.

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Selima: Can you tell us a bit about how you decided to do the Global MBA programme at Bayes?

Ed: There was a few things, really. First, I think I always wanted a degree, but I don't have a bachelors. I went straight into work and trained as a helicopter pilot, so totally different to what I'm doing now!

But I knew I always wanted a degree at some point – in fact, about a year ago, I thought maybe it was too late or it was beyond me. My partner encouraged me to start looking. She holds a master's degree, and I didn't realise that I could go for a master's degree based on my own personal experience.

Second, I’d say networking is important to me. I wanted to expand my network, meet with like-minded execs. I think when I was about to start my application and having my first conversations with various business schools around the world, I knew flexibility was really important to me. I wanted to make sure that I could work full time still, I didn't want to sacrifice that. But I found the Global MBA, I looked it over, and a few other business schools as well.

I can't even tell you how many I looked at. It's a bit overwhelming. And eventually, I went to an online fair which pulled together the top business schools around the world, and I narrowed it down to five, basically. When I spoke to Bayes, I knew they had a really strong reputation in the MBA space – they'd won lots of awards and are triple accredited. And I think those were things that appealed to me, but there were lots of others.

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Selima: Let’s talk about the course content. How, if at all, did it prepare you for your career?

Ed: It's quite funny how the course content you learn and the case studies you've used become part of the conversation. I remember I was having kind of an informal chat about a potential role in London, and I got into talking about the vertical integration model of Tesla. I'd just learnt about that as part of the operations and supply chain management module.

It came into conversation, and we had a fantastic chat and it led on to further opportunities. So, it's helped me in a professional sense in the way I communicate some of the frameworks that I've been able to bring into my own practice and in setting up new ventures.

And then I would also say from a networking perspective, and on a personal level, it's a huge self-confidence boost. When I went into the degree, I was nervous about jumping straight into a two-year commitment. And I think going through that work and spending time with people from all over the world, in different industries, but at similar levels, from a leadership perspective, gave me a huge self confidence boost about the challenges I was going through.

Selima: What was it like doing the course online?

Ed: It wasn't easy at first, it was a challenge. There's no slow build up to it. I would encourage students to try a few different ways to get used to it and to fit it into your schedule. I’d say the weekly content takes around 10 hours a week on average for me.

Once you get to the end of the module, you then have an individual and a group assignment. The individual assignment is always a paper, so it might be a reflective essay on principles learnt, or diving into a topic that you've identified as a passion of yours or an opportunity. When you get to that week at the end of the module, you're looking at 15-20 hours.

It is a commitment but if you put the work in, I promise you'll love it. You're going to be with people who have worked in business for more than five years, and everyone's coming from different company cultures, company backgrounds and from different places all over the world. So, you've got to be open-minded and respectful that views will be different across your study group at times.

You also need to be organised, of course. Each week’s content is broken down into short videos. You have a few readings and then you have a case study to review individually and as a group. You do a mini quiz at the end of it to check your understanding.

They don't count towards your grades, so you don't need to stress about it. It's a progress checker for you, but it also helps the lecturers. They can't see the individual results, but it helps them understand how well that week's content is understood.

For Operations and Supply Chain Management, the lecturers we had openly mentioned that a percentage scored lower on a video, and so they brought in a number of new examples to help to bring the course content to life. And that really helped me in that module.  So some weeks are harder than others, but use the support around you and you will absolutely get through it.

Selima: What would you say is the biggest success you’ve had during this course?

Ed: Learning about these different areas and theories, not coming from an academic background but coming directly from a professional background, and knowing that I can do it is amazing because that was a doubt I had a year ago. So, massive confidence boost.

And I would say the networking, I mean, I was going to start exploring career changes and, towards the end of January I had coffee with the managing partner of one of the biggest consulting firms on the planet. Knowing that I'd got that through the top tips I'd learnt, that was a huge win for me.

And I've got business out of it as well. I've got sales opportunities out there and I'm talking to a couple of my cohort about starting businesses or entering them in some of the school competitions. So, confidence boost, networking. They would be my big two successes, I would say.

Selima: Would you say the careers network was helpful?

Ed: The careers team at Bayes were amazing. And I think it was something I considered at the beginning, but I didn't realise the depth in which they would support me.

I've been specifically working with someone who has worked with, at least 30 of the biggest names you could possibly imagine. I'll never forget seeing him pop up the slide of all the brands he'd worked with. Working with someone with that experience has been a real game changer for me, in formatting my CV for different industries.

The careers team has impressed me the most and supported me and helped me develop, probably, I would say, as a person and as a leader.

Selima: Any tips for those aspiring to do the Global MBA programme?

Ed: My top tips would be to know what you're looking for and create that list of what's important. Bayes was the only school to actually tick all the boxes for me.

I would say, as I mentioned earlier, when you start your MBA, make sure to find that balance of work, study, and personal time. The first thing you drop when you get busy, or if you feel overwhelmed or stressed is your personal time. But your personal time is just as important, because if you're feeling well rested and you're still getting to do at least some of the things you really enjoy doing, the studies will be so much more enjoyable for you, and you will take a lot more away.

I’d also recommend that you have a look at the electives that are available. Year 1 is fixed to give you a foundational understanding of the core aspects of any business. But in Year 2, there is a huge mix, and obviously you can do them in person or go overseas. That's what I'm doing now – I’m starting to look at and choose what I want to do in Year 2. I would say just explore the electives and see which ones are right for you.

And as I've mentioned a lot – network, network, network! Don't get so busy you can't interact with your class, or you can't take the opportunity to reach out to people who are alumni of the school, because they all have a relationship with that school. So, the people you can be talking to, the people you can interact with – use the opportunity whilst you're at Bayes to do that. They would be my top tips.

Thank you to Ed for sharing his insights on studying a Global MBA with us!

Bayes Business School is a triple-crown accredited business school and the part-time online Global MBA course offers students the chance to study without taking a career break. If you’d like to know more about this flexible degree, complete the form below and a Course Adviser will give you a call back.

Topics: Global MBA

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