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MBA helps move into family business

By Emma Cartwright - Posted on 19 July 2018

Emma Cartwright undertook her MBA studies at Strathclyde Business School's Abu Dhabi centre. Here, she talks about her MBA and how it benefited her taking on a role in the family business.

Prior to the MBA, I had been working as an Application Engineer in an oil and gas company for a few years after university, but I realised that the corporate world was not a world that enticed me.

My parents had been running their picture framing and fancy dress business in Abu Dhabi – Posters - for over 30 years and were thinking about retiring with no succession plan so after a long family discussion and a lot of deliberation I decided to leave the world of Engineering and join the family business.

With a Bachelors’ degree in Mechanical Engineering, I felt an MBA from Strathclyde would be an excellent qualification to add to my tool box.

While researching MBAs, I was looking for a university that had face-to-face contact rather than online learning and after a bit of research I found Strathclyde ticked all the boxes including flexible hours around my work, good rankings, a recognised British degree and a really approachable faculty who would always make time to listen to you.

I have benefited immensely from this programme; our business has expanded, we have opened three new branches and without the knowledge and experience on the programme I really wouldn't have had the confidence to expand. I really enjoyed the mix of courses and have learnt so many new secondary skills such as leadership, teamwork and time management.

Despite finding it sometimes rather difficult at the time, I think having so many projects that required team work was something that makes Strathclyde different to other universities. The skills and patience acquired from working in a group are very transferable and relatable to the workplace. I also enjoyed the fact that the course focused largely on the bigger picture and strategy - both very transferrable to my own business.

I especially loved working on my MBA project. I worked with one other person, fellow MBA student Ahmed Patel, and felt a real cohesion between our writing styles. We had different backgrounds, different strengths and weaknesses but we both enjoyed picking a topic that was our choice rather than prescribed by the course.

The teaching was quite varied, some of the lecturers were really engaging, inspirational and very passionate about their topic.

I am technically (on paper) in the same job as I started with but in reality I've gone from being my father’s sidekick to running the business and I feel confident in all aspects of the job. This simply wouldn't have been possible without the MBA to back me up.

For anyone considering doing an MBA, my advice would be: tell your wife/husband you love her/him, tell your friends you will be declining any invitations for the next two years and it will be done before you know it!! On a serious note, this is an excellent degree but - be warned - you do have to dedicate more time to it than I had originally anticipated.



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