“I knew that in order to progress my career further, I would need to better understand some of the theories behind management. I believed then, and even more so now, that the MBA would allow me to do this. It isn't just theory based, it's very much a practical qualification”
– Waqas Khalil
Waqas Khalil is currently studying the MBA.
What inspired you to return to the books after being in a successful job for a number of years?
I graduated with BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2008 from Derby and started working for an oil company. What I realised after several years was that I had a technical degree, but I didn't understand management to the extent that I wanted to. I knew that in order to progress my career further, I would need to better understand some of the theories behind management. I believed then, and even more so now, that the MBA would allow me to do this. It isn't just theory based, it's very much a practical qualification.
How do you balance work, study and a family, and how much support does Derby provide in this respect?
I get a great deal of support. When I decided that I wanted to undertake an MBA I looked all around the country. However, because of the support that I had experienced during my time at Derby, I knew that this would be the best place for me to study.
When I first came here it was a bit difficult to adapt, returning to study after a period of work is always hard. However, the support has been excellent, the lecturers have been there when I have needed them and they have an open-door policy, so you feel that you can always approach them.
What was it about the Derby MBA that made it stand out from its rivals?
I already had a real flavour of Derby from my engineering degree. Once you get to know a place, you want to stick with it. However, I did look at quite a few other options and I also looked at how much I would actually gain from going elsewhere, particularly as the Derby MBA is accredited by the CMI, which is recognised worldwide. That's what really motivated me, coupled with my familiarity with the school and the area, and the support that I had received when I was last there.
What are your expectations, in terms of ROI?
I see this as a long-term investment for me. When I tell some people that as an engineer I'm studying an MBA, they wonder what the relevance is. However, in order to move ahead in the current environment, you need to understand how management and administration works. Engineering is a career in itself, but without the MBA I will not get to CEO level and understand the necessary theory. I don't see myself doing the MBA today and getting a complete return a month or even a year after. It's a long-term career development goal. It's something that I'll have on my CV to say that I've reached a certain level of understanding alongside the way I make decisions. It's something that will help me, on a practical level and improve the technical decisions that I make in my engineering career.