Meet Warwick Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Jamie Graham

Warwick Business School            

“A self-confessed aviation boffin, travel addict, rugby supporter, and craft beer enthusiast!”

Hometown: Newport Pagnell, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have survived three natural disasters including a magnitude 7 earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption and being stranded in the Canadian wilderness in -20 degrees Celsius conditions with limited basic supplies.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Huddersfield, Aviation Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: British Airways, Senior Manager – Operations

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m very proud to have led over 3,000 people in my career to date across several operational roles and industry sectors at both DHL and BA, often in highly complex and demanding environments. It’s difficult to pinpoint one single major accomplishment (there have been many highs and lows!), so I’ll simply say that seeing those I have developed and supported over the years grow themselves has been a very humbling and gratifying experience.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? There are 119 extremely talented men and women from 40 countries across the world on the Warwick MBA, and each individual brings something different and unique to the table. Supportiveness would be the most fitting quality to describe the Warwick MBAs. There is a great deal of passion, energy and drive from the people I’ve met. This ‘get up and go’ attitude is reflected across all 16 syndicate teams, where natural competition to achieve the best grades possible is also met with collaboration and a willingness to want to see others succeed. See it as ‘co-opetition’. In the business world, wanting your competition to succeed is rare, but seeing it play out with cheering voices echoing between the walls of a lecture theatre during a formal assessment is a truly heart-warming experience!

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programme that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I visited Warwick at a preview day in May 2019 and began the application process the minute I returned home. I experienced a distinct feeling of the school being the perfect fit for me; it had a lot to do with the culture of the school and the people I met on the day. The team at Warwick was welcoming, hospitable and demonstrated a genuine interest in me and my experience, something that other business schools failed to achieve. The cultural element, combined with the ranking of the business school, were the two most significant considerations of mine during my MBA search. Working with talented people at a well-respected and globally recognised institution goes a long way in making for a stimulating and fulfilling year with many opportunities to develop.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Why do you think the Warwick MBA will equip you to become an effective business leader?” At face value, it’s not a difficult question to answer, particularly for those who have done their research and recognise the value of an MBA in developing their career. However, I felt compelled to answer this question contrary to the typical interview protocol.

I began by explaining how I felt ineffective in several areas. First, I had limited knowledge of finance and accountancy and minimal exposure to industries outside of contract logistics and airlines. Most of all, I lacked practical and hands-on experience outside of operations. In truth, I have found it challenging to take on more strategic roles in the past due to a lack of experience outside of running an operation. In my view, to become a strategic business leader and decision-maker, you need an understanding of how the wider business context adds significant weight and credibility. This enables you to tackle the bigger challenges and hurdles that you will inevitably have to confront.

How did you determine which business schools best fit you? I listed five key factors before making a decision to apply for business schools. As mentioned, culture and rankings were at the top of my list and these were closely followed by geographical location, connections to wide-ranging industries, and fees.

After purchasing a house, an MBA is, without doubt, the second largest investment decision that a prospective student is likely to make at that moment in their life. For me, it wasn’t feasible to study abroad and I ruled London out given the high cost of living. Remaining employed with BA and having family in Buckinghamshire, I also wanted to be in close reach of both work and home.

Aside from Warwick, I narrowed my search to two other leading MBA programmes across the UK and extensively researched their offering. I met with students, watched online review videos, reviewed Poets and Quants past cohorts, and met with alumni.

Compared to Warwick, both competing MBA programmes appeared to have more narrowed industrial connections. Access to wide-ranging industries and an extensive global network of alumni across wide-ranging industries was a critical requirement for me because of the opportunity to learn about them during the MBA and being able to meet my personal career ambitions post-MBA.

Warwick, therefore, offered the most enticing value proposition: It is highly-ranked, well-respected, close-to-home, and close-to-work. It offers competitive fees and scholarship opportunities and well-established across a multitude of industries. Most of all, it has a unique culture that I believe is hard to replicate anywhere else in the world!

Connect With Warwick's MBA program.

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