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Strathclyde Business School

From mariner to Managing Director : Applying strategy to a lifetime of operational experience

By Justin Moseley - Posted on 1 November 2013

Former merchant mariner and Strathclyde MBA alumnus, Justin Moseley, discusses how he applied the business skills acquired during his studies to his nautical knowledge, to develop his business…

This week I was pleased to be able to announce the expansion of Green Marine Solutions – the marine services company I set-up together with Richard Pargeter and Crispian Jones, with the opening of our first Scottish office in Glasgow.

When we started the business just after I completed my MBA at Strathclyde Business School in 2012, we knew it had potential but if you had told me then we’d be here today, opening our second office with a business valued at more than £2m, I’d have probably laughed at you.

We’ve come a long way, in a very short period, along with what has been, at times, a very steep learning curve. It’s been exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure, but even at the most challenging of times, one simple idea has kept us going - play to your strengths.

As a former merchant mariner with close to twenty years’ maritime experience, I’ve found my strength is adaptability – something which was particularly valuable when I began my shoreside career, overseeing the marine operations and coordination throughout the installation of one of Europe’s largest wind farms.

During my time on the Greater Gabbard being versatile allowed me to make quick decisions to navigate unexpected issues, which are par for the course on such a large project. When you’re installing turbines offshore and miles out at sea, you have to find safe, quick and cost effective solutions to ensure that the operation continues to operate at optimum levels.

At times this is nerve racking, but it’s nothing compared to starting your own venture. Even with a career’s worth of operational knowledge, I didn’t think I would have been able to take the plunge had it not been for the strategic and leadership skills I learned while at Strathclyde Business School.

As well as establishing a solid foundation of business knowledge – something which I’d not been exposed to in my previous lines of work – the Strathclyde MBA gave me space to consider my own business ambitions in a wider context. Like my time at sea had previously demonstrated, my studies taught me that even the most challenging problems can be solved with the application of a little lateral thinking.

In our first year, I’ve been able to apply these lessons to start a business from scratch, turning my hand to everything from marketing and procurement to finance, to win new business and secure funding.

With the support of a community of academics, fellow Strathclyde alumnus and the businesses school’s wider network of industry leaders, I’ve also been able to meet the right people to help Green Marine Solutions get off the ground – including our Finance Director, Craig Rattray, who I met through Strathclyde’s Enterprise Partner Programme.

Today, we’re privileged to expand our business into Glasgow’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ), which positions us within a cluster of some of Scotland’s most innovative new renewable businesses and gives us a valuable footing in a sector which is set to revolutionise the energy market over the years to come.

It’s a completely different ball game to a life at sea, but it’s certainly no less exciting.

Have you switched careers thanks to an MBA? How do you see the relationship between operational and strategic experience? Let us know in the comments below…

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