"The MBA administration team very helpful and prompt at responding to queries."
Khilna Morjaria studied the International Business MBA programme at Birmingham Business School and found studying for an MBA a perfect fit for her career as it provided her with the opportunity to understand and appreciate the aspects that need to be considered when dealing with multi-national organisations and cross-border transactions.
Prior to commencing my degree, I was working as a Tax Adviser for a professional services firm in Kenya. My role was within the international tax sphere and involved giving advice to multi-national organisations to help them fulfil their tax obligations when they set up their operations in countries of different jurisdictions.
As tax is a specialist area, I found myself delving deep into the technical aspects of UK and International tax regimes. However, I wanted to structure my career into a 'T' shape. This translated into having a career which involved acquiring 'breadth' by gaining an understanding of the cultures and work environments in different countries, whilst achieving 'depth' by obtaining a detailed understanding of the various departments that are encompassed within a business.
Why Birmingham Business School?
I was attracted to the University of Birmingham for a number of reasons: The tuition fee was reasonable in comparison to other UK universities, of similar ranking. It offered the opportunity for me to specialise in a particular field (e.g. International Business) as opposed to a general MBA. This was particularly important for me as I wanted to be able to study modules that focused on considering the business environment from an international perspective.
The University is well-known for its diverse international student base and I was keen to be part of a MBA Cohort incorporating students from different parts of the world such that I could engage with and learn from their experiences. The MBA administration team were very helpful and prompt at responding to queries. This was much appreciated as it helped accelerate the decision-making process and also demonstrated the capability and enthusiasm of staff to assist prospective students.
"The University is well-known for its diverse international student base and I was keen to be part of a MBA Cohort incorporating students from different parts of the world"
What I enjoyed most about the course was being able to expand my knowledge by being able to read a vast amount of academic literature. One of the reasons I chose to do the full-time MBA was to spend time reading a large source of varied material. I therefore set myself a personal goal of reading at least 20 different publications prior to starting an assignment.
Thanks to the wide selection of references being recommended by lecturers, I was able to achieve my goal for each assignment that I completed. For me, this has definitely been a personal achievement and a highlight of the course.
The MBA programme challenged me in several ways. The first semester was very intense in terms of managing group projects, individual assignments and exams. It certainly involved burning the mid-night oil on several occasions and sometimes even working through the night! However, it definitely pushed me to develop strong time management skills and prioritise the assessments whilst trying to maintain a work-life balance.
The Birmingham experience
I was impressed with the academic support and facilities offered by Birmingham Business School. I had access to a wide range of academic material via the online library. Additionally, the support staff were very helpful in addressing my queries and concerns. There were always several events taking place including the Distinguished Leader Speaker Series and Careers sessions. These activities presented fantastic opportunities to network with Alumni and learn from their experiences.
The University is located close to the city centre and it was easy for me to travel from Birmingham to other parts of the UK. The University also schedules student day trips to other cities which I think provides a good opportunity particularly for students who have not visited or lived in the UK before. The MBA team organised various social events ranging from barbeques to a day trip to a theme park.
One event that I definitely enjoyed was a competition that the Careers Service team organised with Proctor & Gamble (P&G). The competition involved preparing a Sales and Marketing plan within 45 minutes and making a 5-minute presentation to the P&G team. It was a new experience for me and definitely an enjoyable one as it gave me the opportunity to test my skills in areas that I had not worked in previously. The key highlights for me included being able to learn about the products offered by P&G and the Career opportunities that they offered graduates.
I enjoyed all the modules that I studied as each module provided me with the opportunity to learn and challenge myself. I think the Strategy, Ethics and Leadership modules were the most useful for me as the knowledge that I gained from those modules will help me in my future career roles.
Studying for the MBA has definitely been a rewarding experience. I think it is partly because I decided to pursue my MBA after having acquired five years of work experience. My roles and experience at work enabled me to develop a certain degree of maturity and professionalism that I feel enabled me to understand and appreciate the knowledge that I acquired during the MBA.
Tips and advice
Choose the modules in the second semester wisely. The University provides students with a choice of about ten to twelve modules to choose from for the second semester. Therefore, I would suggest choosing modules that you feel will benefit your future job roles. Also, take the time to talk to the lecturers before selecting a module so as to obtain a detailed understanding of the content and the assessments involved.
Don't forget your reasons and objectives for pursuing an MBA. The course is intense and demanding and there will be ups and downs. However, one thing that kept me going was to constantly remind myself of the reasons for studying for an MBA. It definitely helped me get through the challenging times!
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. The MBA can be a rewarding experience but for you to maximise your learning, you need to be willing to challenge yourself. So, I would strongly recommend that you try and read some, if not all, the references that are provided by the lecturers and take the initiative to do your own research and not rely solely on the notes provided by the lecturers.
Take up a hobby; the programme is time–consuming and demanding and therefore, it can be hard to manage a good work-life balance. I would suggest that you take up a hobby – it could be a regular workout at the gym, joining a society or learning a new sport. I think it definitely helps as you can mentally "switch off" for an hour or two during the day from the studying, engage with other students in the University and have some fun.
Find out more
MBA International Business
The Birmingham MBA