Alumni profile - Jason Matthews
'Henley offered the opportunity to work with people from different companies and backgrounds.'
- Jason Matthews European Marketing & Insurance Manager, Ford Credit, UK
What motivated you to think about taking an MBA?
Being a relatively young senior manager within Ford, I felt that my peers had greater overall business experience and acumen, and hence I viewed the MBA as providing an opportunity to catch up. I also did not have a first degree, and so felt that the MBA would prove my academic ability, offer personal development opportunities and greatly assist my future career progression.
Why did you choose Henley?
I completed a Marketing MBA module at Warwick Business School prior to commencing the MBA 'for real' (one-week residential followed by the usual assignment). Warwick is sponsored by Ford and hence I found myself working and studying with people from a similar culture. Henley offered the opportunity to work with people from different companies and backgrounds (e.g. my consortium represented Vodafone, BAE and Wates Construction). This was of particular interest and the facilities at Henley were superior.
How far are you into the programme?
I graduated in 2006.
What are your highlights so far?
The highlight of the MBA was the final year, which was also the most demanding. Business transformation (the Integrated Strategy assignment), the electives, the third year exam and the dissertation brought the learning together and really tested my academic understanding and business aptitude.
What have been the greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge was balancing my job with the studying!
Tips for managing your studies alongside work/ personal life?
For me, I chose to work long and hard (from 6 or 7 in the morning to 6 or 7 at night during my holidays). This was much more effective than an hour or two here or there. I also came to the office on these days as this avoided any home distractions and ensured that when I was home I was there for my family.
Tips on being a successful flexible learner?
Understand that people work and study in very different (and maybe to you, unusual) ways. Some people choose not to contribute unless forced and are happy for others to do the work in a group situation. Don't get too frustrated with this - use these opportunities to learn more and be a better manager. Try to establish a close-knit group of similar minded but diverse people to study with - this is invaluable.
'I use MBA models to help resolve uncertainty and to provide the framework to help others reach well thought through business solutions'
How has your performance at work changed since you started?
I am a much more 'rounded' individual (I understand more internal company functions, how they operate and their role). I understand 'business jargon' and am now much more developed as a strategic thinker. I use MBA models to help resolve uncertainty and to provide the framework to help others reach well thought through business solutions, by following proven MBA processes.
What have been your greatest achievements since starting?
Achieving an overall A grade for the three years.
Advice to those thinking about studying an MBA at Henley?
Speak with people who have studied at Henley, review independent academic ratings and, if you can, visit Henley to see the facilities.
What are you hoping for when you have finished your MBA?
I have completed the MBA. My advice is to be modest - other employees will know that you have an MBA, you do not need to tell them. Use the learnings, refer to the materials you studied as required, and keep your knowledge fresh.