Who studies at Derby?

Extend your network

Our MBA participants come from all over the world and from all professions, so you will be learning with - and from - a diverse group of people.

Everyone brings their own unique talents, experiences and opinions to the table, so expect lively end enlightening discussions. Think of your fellow participants as your new global network of experts.

Ali Darwish Karbon from Qatar is studying at Derby for the second time, having completed his undergraduate business degree here several years ago. He’s had an interesting career, initially as a mechanical technician in the oil and gas industry and then as a paramedic; a job he always wanted to do. Having worked his way up to be a senior operations manager in the Qatari Ambulance Service, Ali set his sights next on becoming a member of the Executive and was advised to do an MBA. Having enjoyed his bachelors degree so much, his first choice was to return to Derby and study full time:

“The University made such a good impression during my bachelors degree: the great effort that all the tutors put in and the co-operation and support I had from the International Student Centre. Now on my MBA, the support has been just as good; I could never have expected more.” 

Nicola Downes is a recent MBA graduate. She was sponsored by her employer, Marley Eternit. When she started the MBA, Nicola was Contact Centre Manager, but she had worked her way up to this position over 13 years, initially joining Marley Eternit as an administrator. Since she started the programme she has been promoted and is now Head of Customer Service and Logistics.

“Having passed on going to university when I left school and opting to go straight into employment, I wanted to prove to myself that I could academically back up what I had learned over the years. I also wanted to progress within the company and I felt that an MBA could help. At first, the thought of writing assignments really concerned me. However after the first semester I felt so much more comfortable with the process and I met some great friends who were really supportive. The MBA at Derby gives you a good understanding of all business areas and encourages a more strategic and critical outlook.” 

Tim Slater was a manager in the NHS when he joined the MBA programme. Though his career had progressed well, he was looking for formal management qualifications to take him further. The MBA gave him that and more:

"I have progressed not only in role (I have been promoted twice and also moved areas/roles twice) but also my confidence and capabilities as a leader have grown, culminating in me achieving CMI Chartered Fellow status recently. I feel I am using the very practical elements of proven leadership and management theory on a more regular basis.

"I'm about to move roles again – this time to be Head of Operational Resilience and Emergency Planning based in Leicestershire."

Neil Cufley, former soldier and now Director of Operations for an independent school in South East England. recently graduated from the MBA. Neil chose to study online with University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL):

“For those wishing to gain a greater understanding of business, leadership and strategic management I cannot recommend the MBA enough, especially the modular and online route that was so key to my success…I was hugely pleased with the recognition I gained from Chartered Management Institute qualifications, also allowing me to continue to the next level of study.

“Juggling a busy career and a family is a difficult task in itself without the addition of masters level study, but the CMI and UDOL set-up allowed me to achieve what I had first set out to do. As an MBA graduate I feel that I have the confidence and ability to talk authoritatively about my trade, as well as having the credibility that the qualification provides.”

Kimberley Simonis is from the US but relocated to the UK in order to be with her boyfriend and to study the MBA full-time. After working in IT sales and marketing, and before that running her own language training and business consulting company in Brazil, Kim decided to take an MBA to help her find a managerial position in a new field. It’s certainly paid off – she’s now Business Engagement Manager for the University!

“I chose Derby over the University of Nottingham because of its reputation and affordability. I had an extremely positive experience…Being able to work with real businesses in the community allowed for real life and real time learning which I found extremely valuable as a full-time student... 

“The MBA gave me the understanding and confidence to be able to go after my current position. The skills and knowledge I attained from my modules were put into play straight away. From developing marketing plans, business reports and financial analysis, to creating innovative solutions and strategic plans, the MBA set me up for success. 

“By employing graduates like me I feel that the University has really shown faith in its students and their ability to have a positive impact on an organisation."

Simon Lavender has joined the MBA as a full-time student after 25 years in the field of banking operations, the last five of those being spent in Singapore. Simon wanted to improve the depth and breadth of his knowledge so he had greater choice around his next career move.

“I have genuinely learned extensively about business but more importantly and most unexpectedly I have learned about how I see the world, how I learn and how I can adapt to the challenges ahead.”

Laura Hunt was working as the Asset and Estates Manager at East Staffordshire Borough Council when she began the MBA several years ago, and was a fully qualified Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS). As well as juggling full-time work and study for two qualifications (she took a Sports Massage Diploma during the second year of her MBA!), Laura overcame difficulties in her career and personal life during the course of her MBA, including dealing with redundancy.

“I would 100% say that the MBA helped me through this very difficult time. I learned to deal with these situations and apply myself during times when I think most people would not…Fortunately, I got a new job within a week of being made redundant! I now work as a Project Manager for an international construction company called Mace. Currently I project manage the construction of Free Schools across the country working with the Education Funding Agency."

Sharman Aldridge is a senior manager in the NHS and graduated from our MBA several years ago. She's found that the qualification has had a positive effect on all areas of her working life: 

"The subjects I covered in the MBA have all enhanced my work performance. The MBA language has helped me understand subjects in greater depth, especially strategy and finance. I am able to pass this learning on to my teams as well. From a personal point of view completing the MBA with a good grade feels a great achievement in itself. My confidence has strengthened and I am certain I offer more in my role with this additional knowledge."