Sandra

Derby Business School Student Profiles Sandra Notley

“I'm much more comfortable in giving my position on something and knowing that it has value. It's not just a tick-box qualification; I'm walking away with some real personal developments”
– Sandra Notley

Sandra is studying the MBA part time.

What inspired you to return to study?

I've been out of education for 20 years, so the thought of returning was quite daunting. So I went to speak to the lecturers who gave me the encouragement and support to realise that I was capable of undertaking the MBA. 

How do you balance work, study and a family?

It's not easy. I have flexibility at work with regards to working hours, but it's very reactive and it can be quite tough to plan. I have two children under the age of 10, so managing the school run, extra-curricular activities and weekends, alongside my MBA doesn't leave me much time to have a social life. For me it's been about realising that there's light at the end of the tunnel. I get great support from a network of other mothers and, of course, my friends and family. There is a feeling that you are part of the university and that once you come on board they won't desert you.

What was it about the Derby MBA that made it stand out from its rivals?

For me it was location, studying somewhere close to home was a high priority. Meeting the lecturers to find out more about the MBA, and the confidence they gave me in my ability to do it, confirmed my decision.

Is the MBA helping you at work?

The MBA relates to work, so I'm learning while I'm doing the assignments and the project work.

The Chief Executive is my mentor at work, and he's commented that he has seen a great improvement from me in the last two years. This is in terms of how I network, the confidence that the MBA has given me in my own opinions and the belief that I have in myself.

When I first started the course I would sit back and perhaps not say much, but now I am much more comfortable in giving my position on something and knowing that it has value. I've really come out of my comfort zone, which was frontline emergency support, and moved into unknown areas such as the boardroom.

I've also learnt to manage upwards, which again is something completely new to me. I have come out as an all-rounder. It's not just a tick-box qualification; I'm walking away with some real personal developments at the end of it.