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A Personal View

The Strategy Programme mtime20180921132826

Barry McDonnell

De La Rue International

Director of Manufacturing


Barry, tell us how you came to choose to study at Henley Business School, and why?

‘My company was looking for a programme to help with strategic development of our leadership, and The Strategy Programme (TSP) at Henley was identified by our HR team as one of those that ticked all the boxes. And fortunately, I was one of the leaders chosen to attend!

What were your expectations from the programme, and did it meet them?

‘From the moment I realised that I had some homework to do before even coming to Henley, I suspected that the programme would be a bit different, and it turned out to be a really enjoyable experience, and hands down, the most effective programme I’ve ever been on.

‘The programme itself delivers a great balance between the academic and practical, and the emphasis on the practical elements was way better than I expected. All the insights were meaningful and easily applicable to my own situation, and the tutors made complex subjects seem so simple. For me, it completely demystified what strategy is.

‘The programme is made all the better by the people you meet and ours was a really good group, made up of people from very different backgrounds, and with very different skillsets.

What impact has it had on you and your organisation?

‘It has made me question everything. It gave me the confidence to critique every situation and assess its value to the business. I can see the bigger picture much more clearly now, and even though I haven’t long finished the programme, I know that it will enable me to make better decisions that will make the company more efficient and competitive.’

What was it then, that made Henley special for you?

‘I’ve been on courses before at places that feel as if they’ve been adapted to provide education, but Henley is the real deal – everything about it is right for executive education – the staff, the excellent rooms and facilities, the great food.

‘But more than any of that, Henley is about the people.

‘I was blessed to be a part of an especially articulate and challenging cohort, and the tutors were exactly the kind of impressive people I’d want as personal advisors to my own company.’

So what advice would you offer to anyone considering enrolling on The Strategy Programme at Henley Business School?

‘‘Go all in. Leave nothing in the locker. Challenge Jeff and the other tutors on every point; that’s when they are at their best. You’ll be surprised by the return you get on the investment in this programme.

‘I’ll definitely be going back to Henley again.’


Published 19th September 2019
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