Rebecca Hatch works for a UK lighting manufacturer as commercial director after previously being a consultant lighting engineer for two global engineering consultancies. She says she decided to undertake the MBA to aid her in this role, helping to fill the gaps in her knowledge and learn new skills at a higher level.
Supporting skills and experience gained while working
“As part of my role I manage the sales and marketing teams, sit on the board of directors and report directly to the MD. I am responsible for delivering company objectives in terms of sales forecast, am involved in strategic planning and future business development. I am studying for the MBA to support my experience and the skills I’ve gained while working with academic tools and theory to help ‘back-up’ my knowledge and give me credibility. The transition has been a simple one, having previously studied at LSBU part-time for a diploma in management studies and so when selecting the university for my MBA, LSBU was top of my list.”
A real business environment
Rebecca says that the added focus on entrepreneurship and enterprise that LSBU offers is one of the best things about the programme and that, having already studied at the University once, the transition to postgraduate study has been a simple one.
“The MBA has been what I expected in many respects, having been at LSBU before, but it is very different to other programmes in that the modules are delivered in more of a real business environment and are not isolated subjects. We have worked on live case studies, which was both an unexpected and a great experience. There has also been a lot of group work as well as individual coursework to further aid developing management skills.”
With employers rating the value of an MBA extremely highly, Rebecca believes that this is reflected in the attitudes and personalities of the colleagues she has on the programme.
“An MBA is the mark of a well-rounded business manager and aspiring leader, and gives you the tools and skills to be a successful manager in any industry. That is the appeal to employers. People who choose to study an MBA do so in their own time, and clearly want to improve; this attitude is certainly visible in our MBA cohort this year.
"Studying the MBA encourages you to think like an entrepreneur and provides both academic and practical enterprising skills. The LSBU Business School is a great choice if you want to understand business from a practical point of view as well as learning the academic theory needed. There is great support and opportunity at LSBU for start-up companies that I don’t think you find at the same level at other universities.”
As an active member of her industry’s institution, the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP), Rebecca is currently Vice President Infrastructure and is looking to broaden membership to all areas of exterior lighting. She says that the MBA programme is something that will help her achieve this.
“When I joined the industry there were very few young people and very few women, and so a colleague and I co-founded Young Lighting Professionals (YLP) to support and encourage those in the industry under the age of 35. From membership of just the two of us we grew that to include a functioning committee and membership is now over 300. YLP now host its own events, CPD presentations and provides support to all other functions of the institution. The MBA will definitely have relevance with this activity, through the people management and presenting skills, as well as practical change management, finance, negotiation and marketing.”
Skills for today and tomorrow
On a more day-to-day basis, Rebecca says that she is also using the skill developed on the MBA as part of her everyday work, something that is useful now, but will also help her achieve her future ambitions.
“I am using the knowledge I am gaining on the MBA continuously in my job, particularly strategic planning. My role involves growing our business and the elements of analysis (tools and models) used to decide which strategy to use will be very useful when we review which direction to take at different stages of the business. The MBA skills can be applied to any management or leadership role at any level and it definitely teaches you to think differently."
Over the next few years I plan to complete my MBA, focusing my dissertation on an element of business growth for my company. I also want to continue with my volunteer role with the ILP and do as much as I can to promote the lighting and engineering industry to young people. In five years’ time... I hope to be managing director.”