2023 MBA To Watch: Jack Victor Gatacre, Warwick Business School

Jack Victor Gatacre

Warwick Business School

“Inquisitive, extroverted, confident, flexible, growth mindset, wide ranging life experience, kind and very relationship-focused.”

Hometown: Chichester, West Sussex, Great Britain

Fun fact about yourself: Kayaked solo and unsupported (sleeping in a tent each night, often on rocky beaches and buying provisions en route, using a solar charger etc.) 1,250 miles from Istanbul to Hatay in 2022, navigating by night, escaping shipwreck, large container shipping and military arrest and managing 40c plus conditions between Mersin and Hatay.

Undergraduate School and Degree:
Exeter University, Human Geography (with modules in Finance and Central Asian History), Dissertation on The Challenges facing English Vineyards.

Founder and President of Exeter University Wine Society, prioritising inclusion of access, perception and enjoyment of wine.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Marshalls Plc, Specification Sales Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I was still working for my previous employer Marshalls Plc.

Where will you be working after graduation? Hilti, on a Sales Managerial Development Programme.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Established Anglo Turkish Business Society to establish business and diplomatic ties between the two great nations, with an event upcoming with a variety of WBS alumni and my former boss, who are working in diverse sectors from digital transformation to construction sales to finance.
  • Co-president of Global Leadership and Business Society
  • Founding committee member of Strategic HR Society
  • Encouraged and helped a friend to establish Military in Business Society to foster links between British and other armed forces and the private sector and help build his network, something he had not done formally during his active service
  • Regular participant and volunteer in Community Action club, most recently serving food in a homeless shelter in Leamington Spa. Tree planting on campus is next, something I look forward to as I am a keen and experienced gardener
  • Mentoring a Paralympian fellow student

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
Mentoring a Paralympian athlete to enter the Consultancy sector through the process of applications, phone interviews, assessment centres, and case studies. Hearing his plans, hopes, aspirations, and opinions is very interesting, as he is a decade younger than I am. I enjoy being able to boost his confidence, guide him, make suggestions, impart advice and we have become great friends over time too.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Moving to Istanbul and learning Turkish to the extent that I was able to attend technical financial analyst conferences across Istanbul and network with other participants.

Why did you choose this business school? Its great reputation as a good business school for those coming from ‘industry’, as well as the wealth of interesting cultural and business experience of my colleagues and friends.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? Christos Kolympiris (Innovation and Strategic Innovation) as his lecture was majorly thought-provoking with interesting and pressing current issues. Each topic was vividly explained and linked ideas from many disciplines and was delivered in a very charismatic manner. Dr. Kolympiris made lectures very interactive and managed the class well, gently encouraging louder participants to give way and calling on those who were not normally confident to say much to contribute creating a rich atmosphere which I really enjoyed.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Careers Manager Sarah Jackson (who facilitated a session on the Leadership Plus module) was very warm, approachable, knowledgeable and encouraging. A great listener with equally good advice and insight to offer too.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? It was one of the Development Centres we attend. It involved a simulation of an interview, a medical case study presentation, and a boardroom scenario These followed on from sessions focusing on interview technique and how to answer questions more sharply. Being able to apply frameworks such as STAR and CAR in these situations, as well as other techniques, was really insightful. It was a great opportunity to consolidate our previous learning and act upon feedback. The day was anchored on a unique and relevant case study of a mutual fund hospital. It was very collaborative, with many opportunities to learn from colleagues, which is a central ethos at Warwick Business School.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I would have found an efficient and regimented routine earlier so I could manage my time and energy and achieve more, as well as start job applications earlier.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That WBS is very focused on the automotive sector due to its location in the Midlands auto cluster and that it would be overly engineering-focused. Whilst JLR is a major employer and draw to WBS, the cohort has a far wider ranging commercial background than this previous perception.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Coventry has a poor reputation in Britain, but there is great beauty in amongst the brutalism and overly car-centric 1960’s town planning. There is also a great blend of old and new. For example, there is Coventry Cathedral, which is an impressive and emotion provoking modernist building from an era when Britain was trying to discover its post-war identity and role in the world. There are some beautiful buildings, small hidden courtyards, and cobbled lanes in this area as well as near a 15th century almshouse. The atmosphere is also friendly of a small but well serviced city. Its diverse population provides a great food, drink and shisha scene.

What surprised you the most about business school? It was how much I would learn and experience in such a short time and how the learning from different modules can be applied in many different directions and cross referenced in many situations.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? It is hard to say, but I hope my dedication, keenness, growth mindset, and enquiring attitude helped me secure a generous scholarship at WBS for which I am deeply grateful.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Fulgence Ikpe.

Fulgence is a dear friend and a great man who I admire and have learnt a lot from. I had the fortune of working with him in a syndicate group last year, so got to know him well. He was initially introverted, exacerbated by him joining our group a week late due to a paperwork issue in his native Ivory Coast. I was first to meet him and introduce him to our group and we quickly warmed to each other. I initially realised his intelligence when our team were preparing our first assessed presentation in Organisational Behaviour. Despite a very friendly atmosphere with psychological safety, he said little. However, a few hours in, he quietly made an invaluable suggestion relating to a topic we had discussed a while back. The idea was gladly accepted and saved us from a major potential mistake, which resulted in an 80% mark (the best I have ever achieved in an academic career).

This is his style, to reflect and think and make a short vital contribution when he has considered the matter. It was very different to my more rushed approach, which is something I am trying to adopt. His ideas are almost always interesting, unique, and well considered. More recently, I discovered he is an aviation specialist for Cote D’Ivoire Airways who has met cabinet ministers in his country including the aviation minister and has suggested policies to them. When I asked a question about 5th freedoms of the sky in Africa he informed me about challenges the African aviation sector faces linked to its post-independence history, traffic levels, industry trends, and occasional political risk. He also achieved the impressive Chevening scholarship, but was incredibly modest about this. I realise he is the only person from the Ivory Coast on this comprehensive scholarship on any programme at Warwick University. I had never met anyone from Ivory Coast before, so the chance to hear about its culture and history and his experience there was also fascinating. He has even had to temporarily leave his young daughter in the Ivory Coast to achieve his MBA.

Fulgence is also kind and gently authoritative as well as great fun. More recently, we have collaborated on assignments and shared ideas on topics and questions. He asked for a topic for our Strategy assessment, so I suggested my old employer, Marshalls. He achieved the highest result in the class with 80%, clearly a magic number for him! We have become great friends. My only sadness will come when, as part of the terms and conditions of his scholarship, he will have to return to Ivory Coast for a short while. I will miss him dearly, but shall not think about that day till it comes.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to become a senior leader focusing on successful implementation of a long-term strategy and transformation of a large institution as well as to gain international experience, perhaps in a different dynamic country such as Nigeria or Pakistan, having been inspired by many of my colleagues and friends who have come from there.

What made Jack such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

Claire McKeown, MBA Careers Coach, said: “Something that stood out about Jack for all of us very quickly is his interest in and commitment to people. He is enthusiastic about each activity that he takes part in on the MBA programme, and highly collaborative, ensuring that each person is included in the task or situation. Jack demonstrates a genuine interest in learning from and learning about each member of his cohort, and also has a great deal to contribute so others can learn from him.”

“He is respectful of cultural differences and traditions, and awareness and understanding of these differences and his desire to learn about them is clear. He hosts parties for members of the cohort, whether for cultural or religious festivals, or to celebrate birthdays and achievements. Jack’s compassion and strong link to Turkey was demonstrated recently with his efforts to provide support following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, alongside a Turkish member of the cohort.”

“Jack is genuine, open, and honest – his respect for others means that he will always give honest feedback, even when that is a challenging conversation to have.”


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