Norfolk Network stories

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Mark Merrywest, current Norfolk Network scholar on the executive MBA

Mark Merrywest
Made Agency

This year’s Norfolk Network scholar Mark gives us a snapshot of how his life has been over the last 16 months at Norwich Business School.

The email came through last week… could you just write something about your MBA experience, now you are back from your consultancy project in Prague and everything. You have a few days, so it should be fine right? Well yes, ordinarily it would be, but that doesn’t take into account the huge team project report from the week long consultancy visit, the 4000 word essay on Service Based Marketing due next week and of course the day job and family!

If you haven’t been put off just yet and are still interested in doing an MBA, then you should consider applying. Of course this is an extreme example, but one of the biggest things I was told before I joined was about the amount of time it takes up of your personal and work life and to be prepared. So far I have found I have been, and I have a very accommodating family, but there are definitely flash points in time when you wonder how on earth you will get things done.

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I have found it incredibly interesting, useful beyond my expectations and it is already making a difference in my career.

So that’s the bad bit and really the only bad bit I have found. Sure, writing an essay for the first time in over 15 years was a tough ask, doing all of the reading and background research is not easy, but I have found it incredibly interesting, useful beyond my expectations and it is already making a difference in my career.

My wife commented the other day that I seem to be doing it properly this time around; a reference to my rather laid back approach to my undergraduate degree. It is only when you are sitting in a real company in Prague discussing ideas for their future strategy, or with a qualified accountant discussing the accounting principles for capitalising and depreciating assets, that you really realise how far you have come. I had an idea about a great deal of what we have learnt before joining the course through running my own business, but an idea is very different to having the confidence and knowledge that an academic background gives you. One of the key things I have picked up from the lecturers is that they are not teaching us to be specialists, but generalists. We have to know enough about everything to work at a senior level and to ‘smell’ when something is not right. My new instinct has come in handy on many occasions over the last 16 months and I am sure it will do many more times in the future.

So knowing what I know now, would I have made the same decision again two years ago when I was considering an MBA? Without a doubt. It is absolutely the right thing for me at the right time in my career. I know my family are very much looking forward to this time next year when they can have me back, but it definitely helps that they can see how beneficial it has been and how much I am enjoying things.

So there it is, 500 words (there is always word limit), written at a brief moment between breakfast and work which hopefully provides a snapshot of life as an MBA student. Make sure that applying is the right thing for you, then do it and don’t look back.

Are you interested in applying for the Norfolk Network scholarship?

The next open evening takes place on Tuesday 25th April from 6pm-8pm at Norwich Business School. Register your interest

For more information email mbateam@uea.ac.uk or telephone 01603 591753.