Today we’re hearing from the 2019 winner of the Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Bursary, Mercedes Notton-Hill. Mercedes is the owner and founder of Solstice Domestic Angels Ltd., a housekeeping and domestic cleaning company, based in Wiltshire. Out of a pool of extremely strong candidates, Mercedes impressed the judges in 2019 with her application, and won the prize of a 100% bursary to study for an MBA with Warwick Business School. Ahead of the announcement of our 2020 winner of the Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School MBA Award, we caught up with her to find out how she’s been getting on.
1). Have you made any changes to your business model in light of your learnings so far?
“Above all, the whole process gave my business partner and I the confidence to believe in our business. I realised early on in the process that I would need to take time away from the business to focus on the completion of the MBA. This has led to some restructuring within the team, with Sarah, our General Director, stepping up from day-to-day management to a more strategic role, and one of our supervisors being appointed as Manager. The confidence gained in winning this opportunity has enabled us to undertake this development within the team.”
2). How do you think the completion of the MBA will change your prospects in business?
“As we all know, this year has been an exceptionally difficult one for businesses. With the impacts of Covid still very much being felt, we have had to put some of our plans on hold at present, as I had to defer my place on the MBA course temporarily in order to take on additional employment to be able to keep the business going during the first lockdown and subsequent restrictions.
With increased demand for our services, we know we need to expand and have been looking at new ways of working. I feel that the MBA will be able to give me greater clarity on the best routes to take to keep pushing the business forward in the right direction.”
3). What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?
“The people! The support you receive on this course is second to none, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to meet a group of people that I would not have done otherwise. Obviously, this year has made it difficult for those face-to-face interactions to take place, but we check-in with each other regularly, and there have been many opportunities for virtual networking and socialising. I am really looking forward to taking up my place again to make the most of these opportunities.”
4). What have you found harder than expected?
“One of the hardest things for me has been the slow Wi-Fi connection in rural Wiltshire! I think it’s important to stress that it’s a big commitment and you definitely need support and understanding from those around you to enable you to undertake the level of work required. I couldn’t have entertained the idea without the support of my business partner, Sarah.”
5). Do you have anything to add about studying during the pandemic?
“I started the second module of the course in March and then became quite unwell with Covid-19, which, along with the difficulties my business was facing, prompted me to make the very difficult decision defer my place on the course. However, the systems WBS have in place – the online portal, breakout rooms, online lectures – are phenomenal. I had been concerned that interaction during lectures would be affected by online learning, but this is absolutely not the case. You are still able to ask questions and undertake group work, and the online programme is very supportive and really enjoyable.”
5). How have you found the flexible learning and course delivery style?
“The flexibility shown by WBS has been invaluable for me. There are so many choices available – online, face-to-face and blended learning – and having been able to defer my place due to my personal circumstances, I am now really looking forward to joining the next cohort.“
6). Do you have any advice for the winner of the 2020 award?
“Embrace everything that the course is going to throw at you! Don’t underestimate the level of commitment that you will need, but you will absolutely see the return, it’s a fantastic opportunity.”
7). Do you have any advice for people thinking about entering the award for 2021?
“I would really encourage anyone thinking of applying to take the plunge and go for it! Where else would you have the potential to win a 100% bursary with a world-class institution? From the teaching, to your peers, and the course materials, there is so much value to be found through this course of study. The opportunities this award presents really can be life-changing.”
The announcements of this year’s Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Awards winners are fast approaching! Keep an eye on our social channels on the 14th December to find out who the 2020 winners of these life-changing opportunities are.
Thinking of applying in 2021? Get in touch with us to register your interest and be the first to know when applications open.