Case study from Flexible Executive MBA alumna Christine Morrison, Personal Safety at Work Specialist, CMA Training.
Christine, what made you want to do your MBA, and why did you choose to study at Henley?
‘I have enjoyed a rich and varied career, having originally studied Modern Languages at university and worked in Austria and Spain for several years. I then became a police officer with Merseyside Police. Years later I did a teacher training qualification and worked as a trainer at the Home Office Crime Reduction College. I set up my own business in 2003, specialising in the delivery of Personal Safety, Crime Prevention and Problem-Solving training for organisations across the public, private and third sectors. During this period, I also worked for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust as a training consultant.’
‘I’d always been interested in the idea of doing an MBA, but never quite got around to it, until I did a charity trek in Iceland. There I met a lady who worked for Heathrow Airport, and we met up again when we returned to the UK. During a walk along the river in Henley, I was admiring the building I now know to be the Greenlands campus, and my friend told me that this was where she was taking a coaching programme. I remember that I was struck by how her eyes lit up when she spoke about Henley and the programme, and that reignited my interest in doing the MBA.
‘I went along to a Preview Day and impressed as I was, I knew that self-funding the programme could be an issue. However, I was persuaded to apply for a scholarship under the Financial Times 30% Club scheme, and was amazed and thrilled to be a runner-up, which meant that 60% of my fees would be covered. It was an opportunity I really couldn’t afford to miss out on!’
Tell us About your experience and how it has changed you
‘The quality of the teaching, the workshops and the special learning environment at Greenlands were outstanding, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn like that, especially given the resources and friendly staff in the ARC. I especially benefited from the focus on personal development at Henley. I loved staying on campus and getting the full Henley experience, including walks in the local area and tea at the pub in nearby Hambleden village!
‘There certainly were challenges along the way – especially around time management and prioritising tasks – but being a part of a relatively small cohort was wonderful, and I learned so much about myself. The level of teamwork was extraordinary, and everyone was so supportive.
‘As a result of my time at Henley, I’ve gained so much confidence, and am able to speak comfortably to people even at a really senior level. I have been able to apply the research I did for the Management Research Challenge in a practical way. I have spoken at national conferences, and am currently writing an e-learning module based on that research. This has been a big win for me. My passion for my work has been amplified; it seems to really inspire other people now.
‘I’m not afraid to say no to opportunities that don’t necessarily sit with my own values. I’m far more inclined to push the boundaries of what I can do, and I’m aware that I’m actively looking for more challenging projects and pitching for work I wouldn’t have otherwise dared to go for!
‘I think I’m now regarded as a genuine subject matter expert and I’m proud to have achieved that. I’ve recently taken on two associates, and that allows me to step back and see the bigger picture. I like to get involved in Henley alumni events, such as the Regatta Day, drinks at the House of Lords, and Women in Leadership conferences, at which I’ve met some really great people.’
So, what advice would you give to anyone who might be considering doing an MBA at Henley?
‘Go to the Preview Day and speak to alumni, and then just do it! Lots of grants and scholarships are available, and if you possibly can, stay on campus at Greenlands to get the most from the experience. When you look back, you’ll realise that it’s truly an investment, rather than a cost.’