NEWS | Are these the signs to start thinking about taking an MBA?

Published On: Wednesday, 5th Jun 2024


Adding business skills to your engineering toolkit is vital for a career in leadership and management. But when should you start thinking about taking an MBA to help you get to that next level?

Our recent Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship awardees reveal what triggered them to look into advancing their careers through business education. Do you recognise similar signs from your career?

Joseph Agnew (INSEAD)

I started to think about an MBA around three years ago (before starting his studies). As part of my future career planning, my manager at the time advised me to speak to senior leaders within the business. It soon became apparent to me that an MBA was a common denominator between business leaders in the chemical industry. It also became clear that an MBA offered an excellent opportunity to step outside of my technical box and develop a wider understanding of business.

Sanyam Mahajan (INSEAD)

I had kept MBA as a back pocket option depending on how my career would unfold, but 18 months prior to starting my MBA, I was convinced that it was the right option for me. This was a result of introspecting my long-term professional and personal objectives and how I could best set myself up for this success.

Lia Turrini (Harvard Business School)

In the last few years, I have been exposed to buoyant start-up environments while evaluating their innovative business models and generating sustainable venture plans at the nexus of traditional subsurface engineering and the energy transition. This steep learning curve and exposure sparked a desire to learn more about how businesses work, appreciating their foundational components from operations, to value levers, and strategic growth mechanisms. This curiosity, paired with an aspiration to upskill from my technical background, and to have a meaningful impact in my industry faster, led me to apply to global MBA programmes.

Giovanni Sobrero (Imperial College Business School)

I come from a very technical background, having a BSc and MSc both with a strong focus in different areas of engineering. After being promoted to production manager in Rolls-Royce, I started noticing that in order for me to continuously make a difference, some more business-related gaps had to be covered. This became more evident after my professional move to Amazon. I, therefore, developed a need to sharp my foundational leadership and business skills to be able to drive meaningful decisions to support future business challenges. At that point, an MBA for me was the obvious choice.

Abigael Bamgboye (Wharton)

I saw a need to learn more about business whilst studying my undergraduate degree, when I realised I didn’t understand the path to commercialisation and scaling of technology – a key requirement for delivering impact from new technologies. After working alongside professionals who had undertaken MBAs, I became more aware of the variety of learnings an MBA provides. As I explored course options, I recognised it would be an excellent way to approach to fortify my business knowledge and capabilities and gain invaluable experiences to build on my career to date.

Lynda Nwike (Harvard Business School)

I was definitely not a person who saw the MBA as part of my trajectory early on! That largely came from an initial misunderstanding of what the MBA is and its value add…I had a general idea of where I saw my career heading, but I knew I needed the time and space to better understand the intricacies of this plan and the more discrete steps that needed to take place. As I reached out to others with varying backgrounds and aspirations and heard how their respective MBA experiences shaped them on not only a professional but a deeply personal level, I knew without a doubt that it was the next step for me.

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