The More You Put into the MBA, the More You Get Out

An Interview with Matthew Brookes, London Business School Graduate

Matthew Brookes, 41, is Finance Director for the Consumer Products division of BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), he had a number of finance and general management roles within The News Corporation and The Walt Disney Company prior to joining BBC Worldwide. Matthew completed an Executive MBA at London Business School in 2003.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?
I was fortunate to work for someone who was completing an Executive MBA at London Business School and she was able to provide insight into the content and benefits of the course, as well as help secure funding from my employer. I was looking for something to take my career to the next level and, having qualified as a chartered accountant previously, I wanted to develop my general business skills and knowledge beyond my specialism.

What were the most important aspects you considered when choosing an Executive MBA course?
One of the significant challenges with an Executive MBA is balancing the requirements of the course with the demands of your job and therefore the School’s location was important to me. In addition, London Business School has a fantastic reputation that was confirmed by the experience of the students to whom I spoke.The combination of these two factors meant that there was only one choice.

What was the most difficult part in getting the Executive MBA?
The vast majority of classes were so mentally stimulating that time at the School went quickly. The most difficult part was finding sufficient time out of School, whilst fulfilling the day job, to meet with the other members of my study group and write assignments. It is a clichѐ but the more you put into the MBA, the more you get out and there is only so much time, so it was important to know where to draw the line.

What was your goal and how will the EMBA help you achieve it?
I was aiming to gain a broader knowledge of business outside of my specialism and the Executive MBA enabled me to achieve this, which has proved beneficial ever since. The variety of electives available in the second year meant that I could focus my studies on topics that were relevant to my career aspirations.

What did this executive MBA course add to your professional experience?
The Executive MBA gave me broad business knowledge that I have used regularly in the last ten years. In addition to the intangible benefits, I have been offered roles because I have an MBA and left Finance for a period to move to a genera l management role.This was a career path that would never have been considered without my time at London Business School.

How would you describe the learning environment at London Business School?
The learning environment was very supportive and stimulating, led by faculty. The accounting course in the first year was taught by Sir Andrew Likierman (now the School’s Dean), who is something of a legend in UK accounting circles, and at that point I knew the School was proud of its faculty. However, just as valuable was the high quality of my fellow students, who came from a wide range of companies and specialisms. I gained as much from the students as I did from the lecturers, which is a compliment to both. One of the advantages of an Executive MBA is the prior experience of the students and there were occasions when someone in the class had worked at the company at the time of the events being discussed in a case study, which added an additional perspective. Faculty were always keen to draw out the relevant experience of the students, even if this meant that they talked less.

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