The announcement of the 2020 winners of the Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Awards is fast approaching, and our catch-ups with the previous winners of this fantastic opportunity have continued. This week, we have been chatting to Iain Church, the inaugural winner of the award in 2018. Iain is the Chief Operating Officer for Moringa Miracles, and impressed our judges with the strength of his application, winning the prize of a 100% bursary to study an Executive MBA with WBS. Iain has been studying with WBS throughout Covid-19, with one term taking place fully online. However, since September, WBS have returned to face-to-face teaching, offering flexibility through hybrid option for those who are unable to physically attend the programme.
Iain is now reaching the end of his time on the MBA programme, and we wanted to find out about his experiences.
1). Have you made any changes to your business model in light of your learnings?
Overall, my company’s business model has remained the same, however, the way in which I pitch key detail to potential investors has changed significantly. For example, I am far better equipped to breakdown key markets and walk investors through where market detail and figures come from – I am no longer simply stating that the market is x size, and we will achieve x portion of that market.
2). How do you think the completion of the MBA will change your opportunities/ prospects/ view on business?
One of the major frustrations in building a career outside of the military is being able to translate military skills into something that civilian companies understand. This can lead to a confidence issue whereby you can feel that you are not as capable/experienced as civilian counterparts and you can end up accepting more junior roles to then build yourself towards more senior roles. Adding an Executive MBA to your CV not only helps address the issue of convertible skills, but it also highlights how you stack up against a peer group of senior people; this addresses the confidence issue. Combined, these factors allow you to seek out far more senior roles than might have otherwise been the case.
3). What have you enjoyed most so far?
Both the staff and students at Warwick Business School (WBS) have made the face-face modules a really enjoyable learning experience.
4). What have you found harder than expected?
Some elements of the coursework have been tough, particularly in areas where you have little or no prior knowledge. The issue this causes is the volume of research you must do in order to ensure that your broad understanding of a subject allows you to set your work in the right context. That is to say you do not want to quote someone as an eminent authority only to find they are a maverick that no one pays too much attention to. Similarly, you do not want to be presenting dated or defunct theories. This process can take huge amounts of time and it is very easy to become consumed by an assignment.
5). Do you have anything to add about studying during the pandemic?
WBS offer a distance learning MBA as a matter of routine. They were therefore well placed to use this expertise as all teaching switched to online methods. The loss of face-face modules was a blow as networking plays a significant role in the enjoyment of each module. However, restrictions simply mean that you must try other ways to maximise the other opportunities that WBS has to offer – for example webinars. After speaking at a third sector event, I have been invited to join the committee of WBS’s Third Sector Group – an opportunity that will let me give something back to WBS and no doubt open other doors in the future.
6). How have you found the flexible learning and course delivery style?
The course delivery has been first rate. WBS generates an ideal learning environment and the face-to-face modules have been outstanding. The Executive MBA students are treated in a mature way and any issues are resolved quickly, for example assignment extensions or changes to modules. What is particularly good is the willingness of WBS to listen to genuine concerns and then introduce solutions to the issues raised.
7). Do you have any advice for the winner of the 2020 award?
First, do not be overawed by the fact you are on the Executive MBA – imposter syndrome soon wears off and you will fit right in. Second, hit the right work life balance and do not leave assignments until late in the day – I have had a few late nights and early mornings as a result of doing this. Third, network, network, network – your cohort and the wider staff are a mine of useful links/information so use this to your advantage. Fourth, add value wherever you can – for example suggesting speakers and case studies from your own network, or offer to participate in WBS hosted events. Finally, enjoy it!
8). Do you have any advice for people thinking about entering the award for 2021?
This is a huge opportunity. Not only do you receive a prize worth over £50,000, but you get to study in one of the best business schools in the world. You have nothing to lose by entering and, as I said to myself, someone must win it; it might as well be you!
The announcements of this year’s Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Awards winners are fast approaching! Keep an eye on our social channels on Monday 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.