Where are they now? MBA graduate journeys
Whether you are looking to reach new heights in your existing industry or change direction completely, you will graduate from the Full-time MBA with the skills, experience and confidence you need. Click the boxes below to find out more about our graduates' career journeys.
Consulting is an incredibly varied profession, with roles covering everything from Business Advisor to Management Consultant. We spoke to Katie Cornwell, now a Strategy Consultant at Accenture, London, to find out how her MBA helped her move into her role.
Katie Cornwell, American, Class of 2014.
Strategy Consultant, Accenture, London.
Pre-MBA: Regional Sales Manager, hospitality industry, USA.
“I work for Accenture Strategy, with a focus on customers and addressing their changing needs. My previous experience wasn't an exact match for the role of Strategy Consultant, but the internship and real-life consulting projects that I completed during my MBA were key to securing the position.
“The MBA consultancy projects gave me great insight into the consulting sector and provided me with experience that I could directly apply to secure - and succeed in - my role at Accenture. The projects also helped me identify relevant skills I didn't know I had; I discovered that I can quickly learn and adapt to new business concepts, industries, clients and working cultures. These skills are highly valued in the consulting world, and indeed in any sector, and make me a real asset to my firm.
“The client briefs I worked on as a student have been particularly helpful, as they relate to industries and business challenges I've encountered during my time at Accenture. My co-workers and colleagues have confidence in my ability to understand any business challenge, apply a robust methodology and, ultimately, find a high-level strategic solution.”
For Konain Hasan, Risk Manager at American Express, his MBA "was about more than academic study". He believed that it armed him with the skills necessary to make a real mark in his sector: financial services.
Konain Hasan, Pakistani, Class of 2014.
Risk Manager, American Express, New York.
Pre-MBA: Treasury Manager, Engro Corporation Ltd., Pakistan.
“My current role involves managing fraud risk for American Express' (Amex) global issuing and acquiring partners. I also focus on consulting engagements for Amex's North American partners.
“For me, the MBA was about more than academic study: it provided me with the network and tools I needed to make - and implement - an informed decision about my career. For example, the career counselling, speaker series with business leaders, networking events and internship all helped me build a successful exit strategy.
“The Manchester MBA also promised ‘learning-by-doing’ through live consultancy projects. It lived up to its expectations. I secured a summer internship at American Express and converted this into a full-time role, which I began immediately after graduating.”
As one of the most competitive sectors, it can be difficult to forge a career in technology. However, with the right skillset and background, it's possible, as Jai Somasekharan proved after his MBA, when he secured a role at British Telecom.
Jai Somasekharan, Indian, Class of 2013.
Head of Business Development - Americas, BT Global Telecom Markets, British Telecom, USA.
Pre-MBA: Project Manager, telecoms industry, UAE.
“During my MBA, I was fortunate enough to secure a position on the BT MBA Leadership Programme. This meant that I completed my internship with BT in London, and went straight into a full-time role with the company after completing the MBA. I think the fact I already had experience in the telecom sector did help me secure the position. However, what I learned on the Manchester MBA has had a tremendous impact on my career so far, equipping me with skills and experience that I apply on a daily basis.
“My current role as Head of Business Development is hugely pressurised. Every day I have to manage challenging interactions with very senior executives, both within my own organisation and externally. By placing me in tough situations on multiple occasions, the MBA taught me how to manage my stress and remain calm in a crisis - a key leadership skill.
“Through the MBA I learned how to evaluate our business through different lenses, and understand the implications of strategic decisions on the wider business. I now approach this in a scientific and thorough manner. I also honed my ability to articulate myself clearly, accurately and succinctly: this is essential, as everything I say is scrutinised by stakeholders from multiple angles.
“Technology is the sector to be in right now and it is extremely competitive. The right MBA is the perfect foundation to help you develop transferable skills and differentiate yourself.”
Gerardo Diaz Paredes's MBA quickly helped him to realise that the pharmaceutical industry was his target industry, and ultimately, helped him secure a position as Senior Finance Partner at GlaxoSmithKline.
Gerardo Diaz Paredes, Mexican, Class of 2015.
ESPRIT Senior Finance Partner, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Mexico City.
Pre-MBA: Financial planning, retail industry, Mexico.
“I was focused on the pharmaceutical industry from the early stages of my MBA journey. Participating in the Johnson & Johnson case study competition as a student helped me understand which skills pharmaceutical companies value; completing my internship with GSK gave me the opportunity to put these skills into practice. I was delighted to secure a role on GSK's MBA Finance Development Programme on completion of my MBA.
“My current role is varied: I spend part of my time focused on 'Finance Partnering' activities, which include analysing market trends, leading the monthly financial forecasts and ensuring financial information is accurate, concise and communicated effectively. I also work on market intelligence-related issues and special projects.
“For me, one of the key transferable skills gained on the MBA is the ability to focus on facts and data, avoiding personal assumptions and judgement. I apply this skill on a daily basis to ensure I make effective business decisions.
“The pharmaceutical industry is incredibly rewarding. I know our products help people lead healthier lives and in my opinion, that is a great contribution to society.”
The manufacturing industry is about more than the manufacturing of goods itself - there is business strategy involved, forecasting and data analysis. Fatema El-Wakeel, who graduated in 2015, used her MBA to secure a role in Strategy and Capacity Planning at Jaguar Land Rover, and here's how.
Fatema El-Wakeel, Egyptian, Class of 2015.
Strategy and Capacity Planning - Bought-out Engines, Jaguar Land Rover, UK.
Pre-MBA: Regional Reporting Manager, hospitality industry, Egypt.
“The MBA builds strong leaders with the ability to work in any region around the world. I was fortunate to work on an automotive consulting project as part of my MBA and this gave me valuable insights into the global industry. My background is in hospitality, IT and automotive, but through the consultancy projects I was able to gain the practical experience and the strategic mind-set needed to advance in my career, while applying transferrable skills from other industries.
“My job involves a lot of responsibilities: ensuring executive decisions are supported through strategic studies, providing volume forecasts for bought-out engines and project management, including the improvement of business processes.
“The MBA helped me take on such a varied role and develop crucial professional skills. It also taught me how to think strategically about the holistic business picture, as well as the skill to link theory to practice.”
The energy sector is dynamic and varied, rife with challenges for business-minded graduates to relish. Elizabeth Jenkins, now Senior Project Manager at Centrica, Manchester, has plenty of advice for those thinking of tailoring their MBA to this exciting industry.
Elizabeth Jenkins, British, Class of 2014.
Senior Project Manager (Energy Customer Services), Centrica, Manchester.
Pre-MBA: Product Development Scientist, healthcare industry.
“The energy sector is exciting and challenging. It represents a significant switch for me as I started my career as a scientist. Post-MBA I was employed for my strategic thinking and management capabilities, not my technical or industry knowledge - of which I had little. The company was also looking for somebody who could translate technical data into business-critical, concise, high-level messages. The MBA was integral in arming me with these skills.
“I manage business readiness and change, and am currently working on a full system migration in our largest contact centre - responsibilities that constantly draw on my MBA experience. Project management skills, along with the ability to cope with tight deadlines and conflicting demands, are essential.
“I've learned that it's how you lead, work as a team and take your eagle-eyed, strong-minded colleagues with you that employers are looking for. To be a great business leader you don't need to know the most, but you do need to know how to draw the right knowledge out of team members.”
There's no denying that entrepreneurship isn't a straightforward career choice, however, with the right preparation and a clear plan in place, there's no reason why you can't make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.
Michael Vachon, American/ British, Class of 2012.
Head of Brand Development, Maverick Drinks, London.
Pre-MBA: Systems Project Manager, professional services industry.
“I love being Head of Brand Development at Maverick Drinks, a business I co-founded just one year after graduating from Alliance Manchester Business School. There's no such thing as a 'typical' day: from discovering incredible spirit brands and raising their profile, to stocking retail partners with brands they can get excited about, my role is hugely varied. It's all about balancing the needs of several different stakeholders while delivering extraordinary results for them.
“Something that really helped prepare me for professional entrepreneurship was my MBA Entrepreneurship Project. Alongside incredibly talented colleagues, I researched the feasibility of launching a gin in the UK. I was then able to directly apply these findings to the world of alcoholic beverages upon graduation with my new business.
“Entrepreneurship is hard work, but if you have a great quality product and put it in front of the right audience, it'll do well. Never stop believing in the value of your product.”
It's the dream of many to work in the non-profit sector, but with an MBA on your CV, a dream can quickly become a reality. Teaching presentation skills, promoting collaborative working and honing your management techniques, an MBA can arm you with the skills necessary to forge your ideal career.
Lucie Kennedy, British, Class of 2010.
Director of Development and Communications, City Year UK, London.
Pre-MBA: Marketing & Communications Manager, public relations industry.
“I love working for City Year UK - a youth social action charity that challenges young people to tackle social and educational inequality by volunteering in schools. It's an exciting time right now as the charity is growing, providing a great opportunity for me to test my change management skills.
“As part of the Senior Management Team, I head up a team of development and communications professionals. In addition, I am an ambassador and relationship manager for the organisation, with responsibility for setting strategy and translating that into tangible work plans for my team. I also seek out new strategic partnerships to help the organisation reach its goals.
“I love working in this sector, as it feels like I'm helping to make a real difference. No day is the same - we're always running exciting events and meeting fascinating people, whether they're entrepreneurs, top business people or inspiring leaders from around the world. Working for a small charity does come with pressure, but it is energising, it keeps me motivated and it encourages me to push myself to keep learning and growing.
“Of course, my MBA helped me to prepare for this pressure. I learned how to create a strategy, network and present in an inspiring manner, as well as work to incredibly tight deadlines. My MBA is a stamp of credibility that communicates my business understanding and ability to build mutually-respectful business relationships.”