Norfolk Network stories

Blog Member Stories

Why the UEA MBA is the one for me

Sarah Daniels
The RedCat Partnership Ltd

Oh my! I am starting an MBA in September, and my last formal study seems a long time ago. Here I muse on why this course is right for me right now.

My first degree was finished back in 1988, long before the internet was around, before I had the commitments of a mortgage and a family and staff! The degree enabled me to seek gainful employment and the skills I learnt then have been the absolute rock-solid foundations to my subsequent career. I feel I choose well. I have used those skills extensively. My cohort really was my first experience of networking. We remained a close bunch and even now 30 years later I know I can call on them.

I have undertaken much post graduate study, as my now Chartered Status and personal needs require. I am a lifelong learner; I love learning new things, and there is so much to learn. Learning & development are part and parcel of every day for me; my professional world as a Health and Safety Consultant revolves round problem solving. My life in its simplest form is learning from clients about their concerns and work through some sensible solutions. My world rotates around the Plan Do Check Act management tool!

But why an MBA and why now? Well age is just a number but as the birthdays ramp along it does give us time to pause and reflect, as well as celebrate.

I felt I was at a crossroads, I was looking around at my world, where would the next 50 years take me…. I am currently running 2 businesses, both different but with some shared core values.

But do I really know how to run a business? Have I just been lucky (there is a failed investment in my past, so it’s not all been plain sailing)?

So, I start the MBA with some trepidation, but with an absolute deep desire to soak up all the challenges and knowledge thrown at me. I am scared I will have the time; the Executive Course at the UEA is part time over 27 months. I will make the time. Not just to attend but to fully engage. The dates are in the diary, I have the reading list. To be honest after running a business for 20 years it will be just what I need to take a step back but also a giant leap forward. I am a pragmatist, I have learnt to be a reflector. I love facts and understanding why things work. The MBA sounds perfect for me. The modules are well structured. There are case studies and real execution of the theory to be had; for example, by taking part in a week-long study of another organisation.

I have spoken to other folks who have completed the qualification; their enthusiasm is infectious and no one has a negative word to say. The opinion is that this really is the qualification for me. I was therefore hugely relieved to successfully achieve the Norfolk Network scholarship too. The icing on the cake for me to be fair.

I am also looking forward to spending a considerable length of time with my fellow students; I attended an Open Day, so have connected with a few folks already, we took part in some thought provoking & challenging activities on the day & have helped each other through the should I/ shouldn’t I conversations! The supportive network has begun.

But what will I do with the qualification? I will share in whichever way I can, in whatever way I can. It will shape the future of RedCat & No8. But also, all the other organisations we touch, both as clients and the supporting role within the business community.

I am ready for the next stage of my career. I have firm foundations. I now, thanks to NN have the chance to build on them. I also have the absolute support of my husband and my daughter- also currently doing a Masters (at Imperial in Mechanical Engineering). But this will also be a legacy for my Nanna. She is 98, now in very poor health, but has always been my rock; she did not have the opportunities she has helped me achieve, and only last night we spoke about our different worlds. Her real lesson to me is that if you work hard you can succeed. I am sure I will be re-learning this on my journey through the next 27 months… MBA or bust.