Emmanual Kirudas’ journey to the Cranfield MBA
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am originally from Uganda but spent over 13 years in the US for my high school and university degrees. I started my professional careers as a civil engineer in New Mexico and Texas but transitioned to the Oil Industry, where I was working for the last eight years in Project Management before coming to Cranfield School of Management for my full-time MBA. Since I hung up my rugby jersey more than eight years ago, I played golf regularly, and I characterise myself as an above-average golfer.
Oil and Gas Industry in East and West Africa.
Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA
Energy Industry, or Financial Investment services
Country of residence before coming to Cranfield
I was in the UK for five years before enrolling at Cranfield.
Where are you from, and what led you to the Cranfield MBA?
I was living in London for the past five years before coming to Cranfield. I researched several UK MBA schools and decided on Cranfield after I visited it and got to understand in person what the programme is all about. Unlike other schools I had seen, the Cranfield programme was the perfect match for my aspirations after a long time in a technical role and wanting to pivot to general management.
What have you done to prepare yourself for the Cranfield MBA?
I visited the area and acquainted myself with the site. I decided to move to Milton Keynes to be close to the campus. I connected with some of my classmates who are from all over the world. And I rested quite a bit because former alumni had warned me about how hectic the programme is. So I came to school well-rested and ready for the work ahead.
What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I hope to gain three main things:
1) Learn the best management science knowledge from some of the world’s best professionals. 2) Learn enough skills, techniques and strategies to pivot my career away from a technical route to a general management route, and 3) Grow personally to be a confident, skilled leader who can lead global teams in the industry.
Do you have any advice about the Cranfield MBA application process for candidates thinking of applying?
Know the school. The MBA is a mature degree, so it is not all about academics. Do your research and truly why Cranfield is the right choice for you. Once you have answered that question, put 100% of your energy and mind into the experience, because that is the only way you will get the best from the school, the curriculum, and your fellow cohort members. Cranfield is a unique management school, and you should be intimate with its ethos before coming here. When you do, every single day will be a joyous learning opportunity; however challenging the subject will be.
When applying for the Cranfield MBA, how did Covid-19 impact your decision?
I made my decision before Covid-19 was a big problem. But once committed and realised Cranfield was the only major school that that I had applied too that had arranged face to face learning at the time, despite the Covid-19 scare, it reinforced my feeling that I had made the right choice. I know many people who had been accepted into other schools who had to defer because other schools elected to have online classes from the get-go. It must be because of the campus’s share size that availed us ample room spaces to enable social distancing during lectures. So yes, Covid-19 restrictions are some of the reasons that would make Cranfield a better fit school than many others.
How do you feel Cranfield has managed the Covid-19 restrictions? (Are lessons online etc.)
As the MBA rep, I have attended some of the school leadership meetings in which they discuss Covid-19 restrictions. I am sure the University has handled this situation as best as any institution could. We have kept the Covid-19 cases near negligible and had a vibrant first term with 100% face to face due to the excellent care and disciplined exercises by faculty and students to adhere to the government guidelines. The lessons during these terms were put online because the whole UK has been in total lockdown since early Jan, and there was nothing Cranfield could do about that. However, all indications are that face to face will come back soon so, I am confident the school will be more than ready to hold face to face classes again.
How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
It is early days, with lots to learn yet, but from what I have learnt so far, I see two main ways I will take my learning into the wider world. 1) I have increased my self-awareness and, particularly in relation to management/leadership of diverse teams. Hence, I will be ready to be part of any diverse team and available to be a leader from day one. All due to the fantastic eye-opening lectures, knowledge and interactions I have had so far. 2)Before coming to Cranfield, I had not thought about entrepreneurship. As Cranfield is big on the subject, with its Bettany Centre being one of the best globally, I am learning a lot about entrepreneurship. So where I end up and in whatever job or industry, I feel that my entrepreneurship mindset honed at Cranfield will enable me to be creative, innovated and ready to initiate new ways of working or new processes and products for the benefit of my new environment.
Any last words?
Cranfield’s ethos is ‘Knowledge into Action’. As you debate whether to come to Cranfield, make that decision based on whether you want to be in a place that is genuinely committed to translating knowledge into action. This is done with real work case studies or guest lectures from industry or student projects in partnership with the industry. But of course, you have to make it happen. You have to be outgoing and seek out all the opportunities that the school will avail you of. If you are the type that what’s to take that step and own your educational experience, Cranfield is the right school for you. Trust me; you will not regret it.
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