"The highlight of my Aston MBA was meeting and working with such a highly motivated and inspiring peer group from such diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences."

What did you study at Aston University? 
Aston MBA

What year did you graduate? 

LG Davis

Tell us about your journey so far

After leaving Nottingham University in 1983, I joined the family printing business as a stop gap to decide what career path I wanted to take.35 years later, having worked in a variety of roles within the business, I still work for the company!I am presently M.D and F.D. leading a team of 46 employees. I am passionate about the business andwant to build and develop the company and shape it to be relevant not only today, but in the future.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?

Although I had over 30 years’ business experience, with no formal business training, I recognised the benefits of looking outside the business for ideas, skills, business strategies and personal development. I also recognised my thirst for learning and my need to be challenged.I thought that the legacy of an MBA would be significant to me as a person; as a leader, and to my business. Having spoken to friends and colleagues who had studied for an MBA, the journey sounded both inspirational and life enhancing, and I wanted that experience.I also believed that having worked alongside diverse and high calibre students and academics, I would have a broader professional network of contacts and expertise.

Why did you decide to study at Aston Business School?

Aston was my first choice of University for several reasons. Firstly, it has an excellent reputation globally, nationally and more importantly for me, with businesses in Birmingham. With the Business School’s triple accreditation, I knew that I would getting a challenging and rewarding experience. I have personally worked with Aston in the past through a Goldman Sachs programme and have attended several excellent seminars and workshops. It is local for me and my business.

What as the highlight of your MBA experience?

It was an amazing experience, and it has been a privilege to have been given such an opportunity.  I have learnt so much, not only from the taught modules, but from my cohort, the team work, and the extra-curricular activities.  The highlight, if I had to choose one, was meeting and working with such a highly motivated and inspiring peer group from such diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences.  They truly helped and encouraged me on the journey, and I would now consider many of these to be friends, who I could call upon, to discuss strategy and challenges moving forward.

How has the Aston MBA helped your business?

With the print industry being such a mature market place, I needed to hone my skills to take the business from a position of surviving to thriving.  Since graduating, I have a greater confidence in my abilities.  I am able to use my learnings to mentor senior members of the team, and they in turn cascade these skills to their direct reports.  The business has seen significant growth in turnover, delivered greater efficiencies and increased its profit margin since I completed the course. I specialised in strategy and am using the knowledge I gained to strategically build on  L G Davis’s strengths, and am looking to innovate and diversify for the growth it will need to survive in the continuously changing and fluid landscape that is the print industry today.

What is next on the career horizon for you?

Although a new career is not my intention at this point, studying for an MBA has given me the opportunity to reflect upon my career to date and to highlight opportunities for the future. I am interested in exploring the potential of using the skills and knowledge I have gained to take up a business advisory role or non-Executive Directorships.

I will also focus on the continuous development of my soft skills such as communication, creativity and my leadership skills. I want to not only be an authentic leader, but a transformational one, and for that I need to inspire others to follow me through the changes that are likely to arise.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start or run their own business?

Do it!  Just make sure you are passionate about what you want to do, have the necessary expertise to do it and the self-belief and drive to carry it through.  Be prepared to put in the hours and face each challenge as it arrives.  Get the right people on board, whether that be mentors or employees. Always have someone you respect and trust to use as a sounding board. Keep focussed on what you want to achieve and hold onto that vision. As Churchill famously said: - ‘success is not final and failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’.