Interview 4: Kieran Chandler

Kieran Chandler – (MEng University of Bath, CEng IMechE) INSEAD2020 Scholarship Winner Kieran Chandler




Before starting his MBA at INSEAD, Kieran worked for Lokad, a software company based in Paris which applies the latest statistical techniques to optimise supply chain decisions. As a Solution Specialist he was directly responsible for establishing a dialogue with companies worldwide and managed all commercial aspects of the business from project definition to contract negotiations. He also presented a dedicated Supply Chain YouTube channel, (LokadTV), where he conducted weekly interviews on Industry 4.0 topics such as forecasting, artificial intelligence, blockchains, machine learning, cloud computing and big data.

Prior to this, Kieran gained technical experience working for Frazer-Nash Consultancy as a senior design engineer. In this role he worked across a wide range of different industries contributing towards the design of a next generation power plant, the certification of aerospace components and most notably as project manager of an early stage innovation project for the energy industry. Since graduating Kieran has remained in touch with the engineering profession and qualified as a Chartered engineer in September 2019.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?
Throughout my professional career I have taken routes which have taken me out of my comfort zone. Embarking upon an executive education at this time in my career allows me to put into context my previous professional experiences and further challenge my growing capabilities.  I believe this will play a vital part in the direction of my future career and unlock a number of new opportunities whilst allowing me to build on my growing skill set and further my potential.

What stage in your career were you at when you decided to do the MBA?
After working in both technical and commercial roles and achieving Chartered Engineer status I was at somewhat of a crossroads professionally.   The relatively small size of my current company allowed me to take on greater responsibility and experience a wide range of tasks at an early stage, but opportunities for rapid career acceleration were limited.  As such, I was looking for the next step which would help me acquire further experiences and knowledge to support the development of my future career.

How will you use what you learned on your MBA course to further your career?
Studying for an MBA will equip me with the skills and leadership capabilities to support the teams of tomorrow.  With businesses becoming ever more reliant on IT and the analysis of data to inform decisions, modern industry requires its leaders to combine cutting-edge technology and advanced statistical techniques, with the softer skills of managing a team.  This I believe is well-suited to the skillset of an engineer and I am hopeful that an MBA will give me the commercial toolkit to put this knowledge into action.

What are your expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
As we now operate in a global marketplace, I see real potential in extending the boundaries and connections of my network through working and interacting with industry leaders.  I am hopeful that being part of the SMF network will potentially lead to many future opportunities and I am particularly looking forward to the opportunity for further collaboration with professionals from a range of different backgrounds and industries.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school?
In the longer term I hope the experiences gained during my MBA will help me gain a more senior role, where I will have the opportunity to directly contribute towards the development of future professionals through repaying the financial support that I have received.  As a Chartered Engineer a key part of our role is to inspire the next generation and I hope that I will be able to build on my mentorship commitments by working directly with future engineers and contributing towards the development of their careers.

How did you find out about the SMF scholarship?
First, I just did a simple Google search related to scholarship opportunities at my chosen business school.  Then, once I had found out about SMF, I set up a call with a current awardee to learn more.  They were generous in terms of the time they gave me and the advice they gave regarding the application process was really useful.

What difference has the scholarship made to you?
As someone from a relatively modest background the financial burden of studying for an MBA is a major consideration, due to the overall cost of taking a year out of work as well as the financial commitments which are likely to occur personally in the near future. The scholarship has made it possible for me to study at one of the worlds most highly regarded business schools and made it possible to financially justify a year without a salary.

What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?
The costs associated with doing an MBA can be incredibly intimidating. However, do not let the high fees and lack of salary put you off!  Talk to someone, learn more and don’t forget that an MBA is an investment in your future which will impact upon you for the rest of your career.

Find out how to apply for a scholarship.


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