As my own version of the famous “Cranfield MBA Experience” ramps up, I think it’s worth reflecting upon the path that has led me here. I’ll certainly find this therapeutic, so if you find it uninteresting it will have still served one purpose.
Firstly, I’d considered an MBA ever since completing my undergraduate degree (mechanical engineering) in 2008. That year saw the height of Global Financial Crisis action, which caught my attention. Having had absolutely no interest in business or finance prior to late 2008, I suddenly found myself regularly up late at night watching The Business on ABC. The world of finance was related to the real world. Business decisions affected people. Real people made terribly difficult decisions, and sometimes terribly. The world was complex. I wanted to be involved. I went to my first MBA fair a few months later.
Fast forward to 2012, and I felt like I had sufficient engineering experience to make the most of further study. My then girlfriend, Chloe, was desperately keen to move to the UK, and I liked the idea. I shortlisted the top 5 UK MBA’s, and noted that the seemingly obscure “Cranfield School of Management” was in a quiet area Chloe and I had separately visited and both loved. Besides being a prestigious business school, Cranfield had a particular focus on personal development. It caught my attention, but an MBA was still a dream.
Chloe and I got married on September 7th, 2013. It was a perfect day. On the last day of our honeymoon in Sri Lanka, we went on a tour of Colombo with a British couple, Rhys and Helen. During the 5 hour tour, we were struck by the parallels between this couple and ourselves. They were celebrating their wedding anniversary, they had honeymooned in one of our favourite places, Rhys was an engineer who had moved into management at my age, and he was the Managing Director of a major equipment supplier for my specific work in Australia. Plus, we liked them. It felt wonderfully coincidental. Conversation continued:
“Actually, Chloe and I have been thinking of moving to England.”
“Oh really? Where are you thinking of going?”
“Well my dream is to do an MBA there, and there’s a university called Cranfield that I’m aiming for at this stage. We’re being realistic and keeping options open though.”
“Really…? Actually I went to Cranfield. That’s an excellent place to do an MBA.”
I was wide-eyed. I knew only a little about UK universities, and I’d been sceptical about what I could find online. Here was someone I liked, admired, could relate and aspire to, and this serendipitous meeting was the strongest recommendation I could receive.
Fast forward through months of effort and further research, a GMAT exam, discovery and contact with the Cranfield Australia Alumni (finding even more inspirational individuals), the written Cranfield application process and interview, and I found myself accepting a position in the 2014/15 Cranfield MBA.
Somehow, on top of all that, I also received the Cranfield Australian Alumni scholarship. If I can be open, this process has felt eerily like the path I’ve been dreaming of and working towards had been laid out before me.
On our first wedding anniversary, 7th September, 2014, Chloe and I flew to England to embrace everything on offer over the next 12 months. I’m so excited! And I look forward to sharing the journey with all my colleagues, and with anyone who might be interested. Whether I actually have time to share it with Chloe remains to be seen.
Next time I’ll introduce the amazing members of my study group. If you’ve ever watched Community… it’s even better.