James Perry - Postgraduate - University of Derby


Derby Business School Students Profiles James Perry

“I enjoyed the programme, and the mode of study, and would definitely recommend it to others - in fact I already have!”
– James Perry

James studied the MBA online.

After 14 years of working in the diesel engine business and studying part time for many qualifications, I decided to do an MBA at the University of Derby.

I chose the MBA to gain the skills that are expected of my role.

I believe that senior roles within industry demand the skill set that the MBA can give you.

Far from being the differentiator that it is today, the MBA will slowly become the 'tick in the box' that an undergraduate degree is today.

My employer paid for my fees.

With Mueller Europe prepared to sponsor me, the decision to undertake an MBA was an easy one.

Why I chose Derby

A more difficult decision for me was where to study. I was a little restricted in as much as distance learning was the only real viable option due to commitments at work. My research led me to the e-learning programme at the University of Derby.

At Derby, this MBA is rigorously assessed in exactly the same way as the full time and part time MBA programmes. The only difference being the delivery mode.

I got lots of support - you're not left on your own

I was fortunate to have an extremely supportive employer. Also, the support I received from the staff at Derby University was invaluable and, despite the remote learning environment, you quickly realise that you are not alone.

The residential modules also helped in this sense, as they gave me an opportunity to meet other students and to underpin and consolidate the learning. I was also encouraged with having the support of other e-learning students, who were sharing the same experiences.

I enjoyed the programme, and the mode of study, and would definitely recommend it to others - in fact I already have!

How the MBA has helped me in my job

Professionally, the MBA has been a life changing experience. I no longer look at other departments within my business as being separate functions. I look at them joined up and have a far greater understanding as to the contribution of say the finance department, sales and HR. I also look at things from a higher level and realise that strategic thinking doesn't just start and end with the directors of a business.

I feel much less an operational manager now, and far more a strategic decision maker.

How and when I studied

To study online requires self-discipline and an ability to set out your own timetable of study.

In general terms I found that the time spent at home and at work studying was probably a 50/50 split.

What were the highs and lows?

Without doubt the two main highs for me were the residential schools and the undertaking of the final year thesis. My thesis covered the topic of Manufacturing Strategy Formulation in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) within the West Midlands Region.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exposure this gave me to other businesses, 26 of which I visited during the interviewing and data gathering phase of the thesis. Even the writing up stage was enjoyable (am I the only one to say that?) because by that time I had an enormous amount of knowledge in the subject, which was a pleasure to put into text.

Ironically, the only low point is when you realise the course is at an end. For me, there is always this feeling of anti-climax when you reach the end of a major academic programme... that feeling of 'so, what next then'?  So much so that I am currently considering the Doctor of Business Administration option, and another three years of self-punishment!