Staying ahead of the game
How an MBA can give you a competitive edge in a changing world
It’s tempting to view the business landscape through the lens of pre- and post-pandemic. While it’s true that the changes brought about through Covid-19 have altered practices unrecognisably, in many ways the pandemic has amplified existing trends – the impact of technology chief among them – into key issues for organisations to address. Understanding a rapidly changing environment can be the key for organisations to ensure their business thrives in an evolving competitive landscape. We speak to Emma Aherne, Sales Manager at Palletways and current Executive MBA student, about how her MBA is helping to give her, and her organisation, a competitive edge.
We’re seeing rapid changes across all industries as we adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic. How do you think the competitive landscape is changing, and what do you think are the key issues organisations need to address to meet the demands of the future?
Emma: “Technological innovation is one of the key fundamentals modifying the competitive landscape. Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, resulting in the competitive landscape forever changing.
“Organisations need to be flexible to adapt, and this is clearer now than ever. The organisations that have embraced technology and innovation have thrived throughout the pandemic and will have an advantage in the future. A flexible organisation needs efficient systems and processes in place. Critically, they need employees to be learning new skills continuously to achieve business goals and prepare for the future.”
What insights from Nottingham’s MBA programme do you think organisations can benefit from? Is there one key takeaway from your course?
Emma: “There are a whole host of benefits the MBA programme offers students and their organisation. The programme is supporting my transition from a manager to a strategic leader, and providing me with the capabilities and knowledge to support my team and my organisation. The course is supporting organisations to create competent, well-rounded diverse leaders with analytical skills.”
How do you feel the course is helping you to add value to your role and your organisation?
Emma: “The MBA has allowed me to enhance my skills to drive organisational performance. The modules are based on core business divisions such as finance, operational management and marketing. I dedicate my assignments to identify and explore current business issues and opportunities. Using the skills and frameworks the university equips you with, I can create comprehensive recommendations for my business using multiple lenses. For example, I’ve had requests for advice from senior members of the management/leadership team to draw on what I have learned, which has increased my confidence and ability to show that I can become a valued member of the senior team.”
What advice would you give to someone considering studying an MBA at Nottingham?
Emma: “I became a manager through my expertise in my field, which seems to be a typical situation. The promotion didn’t automatically give me the skills to successfully lead a team or an overall business understanding to constructively and confidently challenge the status quo. There is an abundance of skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to manage effectively. The MBA provides you with the tools and real-life experience required to become an effective leader, with unique opportunities to meet and work alongside diverse individuals from different sectors and draw on their knowledge and expertise.”
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