2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Freddy Bob-Jones, Warwick Business School

Freddy Bob-Jones

Warwick Business School’s Distance Learning Online MBA

“Problem solver with a long-standing passion for technology, Africa, and international development.”

Age: 42

Hometown: Originally from London, UK but currently living and working in Kenya.

Fun fact about yourself: I sat next to Kiera Knightly on a flight back to the UK from Egypt in 2004, but didn’t realise who she was until I saw her in the movie ‘Love Actually’!

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA (Hons) Politics and Economics, University of Reading (2000) and MA (Econ) Development Economics, University of Manchester (2001).

Where are you currently working? I’m at International Planned Parenthood Foundation (an international NGO) where I work as the Operations Director on an international donor-funded regional health programme working in 15 countries across Africa and South Asia. Prior to that, I worked in management consulting (for firms such as PwC and Deloitte) and as a senior economic advisor in the UK civil service.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of the work that I did while working as for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), where I was an Economic Advisor in Afghanistan between 2007 to 2009. I worked as part of a close-knit DFID team that developed a range of important programmes that supported and helped the Afghan Government deliver key public services such as health and education to millions of Afghan citizens. I’m proud to have made a positive contribution during that time and still remain in touch with many Afghan friends and colleagues from that time.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? With a full-time job in Kenya and a young family, doing a full-time MBA wasn’t a feasible or practical option. So I chose the Distance Learning MBA at Warwick Business School primarily for its excellent academic rigor, global standing (WBS’ Distance Learning MBA has been ranked 1st in the world by the Financial Times three years running), flexibility, and also for WBS’ excellent links to industry.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The best part of the distance learning MBA is the sheer diversity of my MBA cohort. I’ve been privileged to study alongside an excellent group of colleagues from all over the world (187 students from 55 countries). They have brought a rich diversity of experience from all walks of life and professional backgrounds that has in turn positively enhanced my experience in the programme.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The unrelenting pace. I was expecting the programme to be intense so I was prepared for this – but it was still a relentless baptism of fire! The online platform used by WBS is fantastic and is designed to fully enhance the student’s learning environment and user experience – from the ease of access to course content and lectures to communications with WBS teaching staff and students, through to easily access the many other amenities available from the University of Warwick.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? It’s different, but in a good way. WBS has adopted a hybrid format for the DL MBA, so in addition to the online course delivery, we get a chance to attend two weeks of in-person tuition on campus during the first year of the MBA. It was great to get to interact with the Business School teaching staff, and WBS alumni during ‘Change Maker’ events and of course getting to know my course mates better in the various tutor groups and social occasions.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Dive in and completely embrace the sheer diversity of knowledge and rich experiences that the programme has to offer. The Distance Learning MBA is no less intense than Warwick’s full-time MBA, so it’s important to plan and organise your time well to ensure that you don’t fall behind with your studies. The course also offers an excellent selection of electives to choose from in your second year, so take the opportunity to think about the areas you’re interested in or would like to specialise in your second year.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? Nothing at all. The WBS MBA is fantastic! Warwick has clearly scaled the learning curve in terms of developing a world-class learning product that delivers excellent value on all fronts.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It’s helped me appreciate how the various dimensions of running a business (or non-profit organisation) fit together – from a better appreciation of the impact of strategy and the economics of the business environment to being able to delve deeply into financial statements through to the role of innovation, creativity, and culture in driving forward institutions.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to start a business that combines my passion for technology, Africa, and international development. Digital technologies have had a transformative impact across the African continent with mobile phones as a driving force powering this digital revolution. Despite the short-term disruptive impact of COVID19, Africa’s long-term future is bright and digital technology will have a central role in that future – by enabling better social service provision and supporting new livelihoods and jobs such as the opportunities generated by the Mpesa mobile money ecosystem in Kenya.

Don’t Miss: The Entire Honor Roll of the Best & Brightest Online MBA Grads of 2020

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