Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Final farewells

A little over a year ago, I commenced this blog feeling excited and intrigued by the MBA year that lay ahead.  I was particularly intrigued to see what the examined MBA life would bring and whether all the hype around MBA’s was justified.  Having now had the full experience, I can truly say it defies the hype and certainly worth doing for anyone who has the interest and fortunate circumstances.

People have differing thoughts on where the value lies from an MBA.  I think the value can be summarised under three areas:

1.         Knowledge: There is no other course that condenses so much about business, finance and management into one or two years; and does it so effectively. The structure and environment makes getting through the enormous content possible. Inevitably, the knowledge extends way beyond business and I now find that most things I now come across, whether in the news or general conversation, can be related back to something covered in the MBA.  Of course, the trick is to know that not everyone wants to hear things being related back to an MBA!       
2.         General/Personal Development: You quickly recognise that a lot of the value lies beyond the content.  MBA’s are very much focused on the development of the overall individual and Cranfield justifiably prides itself on this focus.  The development comes from the formal subjects, psychometric testing, structured feedback as well as the inevitable development that happens when you are in a challenging environment.
3.         People: You meet so many impressive people from such diverse backgrounds (the cohort, lecturers, faculty staff, alumni, students from other courses and cohorts from different MBA schools) that you inevitably develop as a result.  It’s a vast ‘melting pot’ of great people whom you have the privilege of working with and learning from.    

I have been asked about the process of choosing an MBA School.  Here was my personal criterion:
·       Full-time:  I wanted to do a full-time MBA because I personally like to fully immerse myself in a project. With this bias in mind, I would strongly encourage anyone to do their MBA full time if circumstances permit.  It allows you to give the MBA the attention I think the investment deserves.
·       One year course: There is the two year option, but I personally felt two years too long a period to be out of the workforce.
·       Overseas:  Part of the MBA benefit is being out of your usual bubble and being in a new culture enhances that benefit.  Being away from your home environment where day to day life can be busy also allows you to maximise the complete MBA experience.   
·       Appropriate demographics:  Schools have different cohort demographics ( average cohort age, years of industry experience, a specific subject or industry focus, predominantly international or domestic cohort) so it is worth working out what suits you.  I wanted a school with an internationally diverse cohort with older average age and longer industry experience.  The appropriateness of the school can be gleaned by visiting it/speaking to the current students and sensing how much the school and students resonate with you.

All in all, Cranfield clearly ticked the boxes for me and I feel very fortunate to have not only made that choice but to have had the full Cranfield MBA experience.

In terms of coming up with a short list of possibilities, the rankings is an obvious place to start.  There are only two major full-time MBA rankings (The Financial Times and The Economist) that directly compare schools from around the world.  Business Week and Forbes create separate lists for the U.S. and the rest of the world, while US News & World only focuses on the U.S. market. compiles the results of the big five MBA rankings of the last 12 months to produce the Premiership.  For a comprehensive summary of Cranfield rankings go to the following Link.  (Some of the main ones are as follows: Cranfield is ranked 12th in the EU on (,  ranked Top 10 in Forbes’ ranking of the Best Business Schools outside the US ( and ranked 38 in the worldwide FT ranking of full-time MBA programmes and number 11 for Career progress (  You learn that there are inevitable limitations with rankings and while they are a starting point, I believe you need to give much greater weight as to how a school fits your personal circumstances and preferences. 

For those Australians who are considering doing an overseas, full-time MBA definitely get in touch with the Cranfield Australian Alumni as there is a large, active alumni who you can easily meet up with to find out more.  I went through this process and found it extremely valuable.  There is also information on the site about the Cranfield Scholarships available to Australians; including the annual CAASF Scholarship, currently the most financially valuable MBA Scholarship in Australia!  Good luck in your searching and eventual MBA. 

Well it’s now time to sign off this blog......after a few quick thanks.     

To the 2012/13 Cranfield Full Time MBA Cohort, thank you for sharing the amazing journey – it was one hell of a ride. How will we ever forget our year at Cranfield: those early starts walking into the forum to get to the morning lectures, catch ups between lectures around the coffee machines and later over dinner and drinks at The Social, late night football in the sports hall, team work in the Syndicates, Tuhin’s Q&A, MK, MIRC, LR3 and LR5, 122, QOITS, WACS, MBAT and the long list of subject acronyms (OSC, EOS, SDS.....).   We not only gained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience but a great bunch of life-long friends.  

Thanks to the extraordinary Cranfield School of Management lecturers who passed on their knowledge and industry experience with aplomb, always there to help and handle all the questions and debates thrown at them.  Thanks to the great School of Management staff that do all the work behind the scenes to ensure the year runs smoothly.  Thanks especially to Graham, David and Pam who were the foundation of support for the year. 

Finally a huge thanks to my wife Becky and son Xavier for their amazing support.  Particularly Becky who earned the much more impressive certificate of ‘Partner of an MBA’er’ (whilst also raising a baby).  Impressive!  Thank you.  As for Xavier, as much as I thought I’d learnt a lot from the year, I have nothing on this little guy – while I wrestled with formulas and frameworks he was digesting much more content, without taking notes, using a computer, studying or even asking questions.  Thanks to both of them for reminding me what’s most important in life.  

Until the next blog somewhere in the future, here’s to the examined life! 


  1. Cheers Manfred, Exec MBA's aren't too bad either :)

  2. Yeah! It is a very nice blog on full-time MBA. I also agree that MBA fully supports to explore the overall personality of a person. So I am also interested in doing MBA but I am some obscure about MBA in marketing in which I really want to do. Please help.

  3. You have written an amazing blog David! Thanks for sharing the insights and exiting journey! I read all 12 entries in 100 minutes and felt like I'm there. I'll be interviewing with Mr Simmons tomorrow and feel blessed to have read it all and got insights.

  4. Very useful article David. I would also add that the MBA interview and ongoing engagement can tell you a lot about the school and I found so called high ranking institutions were very unprofessional and not very business like in the early stages and it raises the question that if they can't practise what they preach, what is the real value of what they are preaching ?

  5. This is a very serious question about Final farewells. I'm sure that the speakers will bring new knowledge for the students. I had difficulties to make a report. I also share my resource