Interview 6: Sam Taylor

Sam Taylor (University of Manchester, MChem – Masters in Chemistry with a Year in North America), INSEAD

Prior to starting his MBA at INSEAD, Sam joined Morgan Advanced Materials on a rotational graduate development scheme in 2013. Over three years he worked in factories across the UK, China, and India; focusing on cross country project management and process improvement. He then moved to a global analyst role working initially from the UK and then Singapore, leading a data analytics improvement programme for the business.

What do you hope to achieve through your MBA experience?
My two goals are to firstly build a global network of high-performance people across multiple industries and interests, and secondly to build a strong set of business fundamentals in finance and accounting which I have not had as much exposure to.

The reason for choosing INSEAD is its conscious global focus. Having worked for a UK manufacturing company in UK factories I see the necessity in understanding your decisions in a global context. From supply chain impacts to customers situated from Merseyside to Mumbai to run an organisation effectively in today’s economy requires a global viewpoint.

How will you use your MBA to further your career?  
In 5 years’ time, I want to be working in an operations team pushing the boundaries of what is possible to deliver. In the last few years, I have led the initiative to bring digital solutions to operations problems in my current organisation, and I would like to cement this experience within an organisation that is driving this global trend. The MBA will help me see how different industries have responded to this change, and allow me to take the best practice from where I find it.

What are your hopes/expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
The chance to join the SMF network was the most attractive part of the scholarship. I would recommend anyone applying to look through alumni of the scheme to see how far and wide the network stretches.

My hope is for the SMF scheme to significantly enhance my INSEAD network in two important ways. The first is that it stretches across MBA programs, allowing you to get insights usually constrained by the school you attended. The second is that it has a UK and manufacturing bias, allowing me to speak and learn from people most closely linked to my background.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
After my MBA I hope to support SMF through mentoring future fellows of the scheme, guiding future fellows of the scheme through decisions in business and their career.

How did you learn about the SMF scholarship?
I first learned about the SMF scholarship very serendipitously. While researching MBA career paths I found myself reviewing LinkedIn profiles, to understand the career progression of certain school’s alumni. On one profile an SMF alumni listed their fellowship, which led me to further research the award. Further conversations with Jacqueline Clay at SMF eventually led to me applying to the scheme.

How was your experience of applying for the scholarship? Anything that you found especially challenging or surprising?
The interview was one of the more challenging I faced during the MBA process. The interviewers put me through my paces, to ensure I understood my industry and choice of MBA institution. I would advise any applicant to be prepared when coming for an interview.

What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?

Every person’s situation is unique, with funding options varying by personal circumstance and personal obligations constraining everyone differently. The two generalisable recommendations are first, plan early – this will reduce the stress of trying to find funding at the last moment. Second, the most up-to-date information on funding sources; as new scholarships and new loan providers are starting every year.


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