Harry Alston

Executive MBA, 2021

Director, EAC Consulting Group

MBA graduate Harry Alston

Describe how your MBA study supports your job role.

The MBA study has hugely supported my role as a director, by further helping me to understand the functions of a business, from finance through to marketing which has been hugely beneficial when managing these areas of my business EAC Consulting Group. My knowledge is vastly improved both theoretically but also practically by implementing the teachings of the MBA.

The MBA also supported me in creative thinking, innovation and creative problem solving, the MBA promotes you to look at business and problems through different lenses and from different perspectives, often changing the way you propose to deal with a new initiative or obstacle.

What impact has the MBA had?

A key impact the MBA has had on me is the way that I approach business. Previously I would always aim to be better than our competitors through competing to do the same thing, however, now I approach business with the vision of being different, in turn meaning my competitors don’t actually become competitors at all! This stemming from Porters Generic Strategies, which was studied within the MBA!

Through this focus, I now notice the majority of our ‘competitors’ actually copy our initiatives in an attempt to emulate them, this acting as constant recognition that a focus on being different actually works. Through this ‘differentiation’ approach EAC Consulting Group has become the market-leader locally across our field within the last year.

What have you learnt since starting the MBA?

A key learning has been the ability to utilise frameworks and tools to develop areas of my business, and to solve issues. In business you are faced with frequent obstacles and being able to conceptualise these obstacles and to work through a process allows you to solve the issue efficiently and effectively. Without these frameworks problems can become more complex and messy.

The MBA has also taught me that business doesn’t sit still, you need to constantly be evolving to be able to manage and capitalise on micro and macro factors. Strategic windows can be small, so you constantly need to be in a position to adapt and exploit these.

Why did you decide on MBA study?

Since a young age business has always been a passion of mine, I have been fascinated by the study of business and understanding its different areas. Through this passion I always had an interest in gaining an MBA, which of course is a very coveted degree within the business sector. I believed an MBA would allow me to vastly improve my knowledge base and improve me as a professional, so after climbing the management ladder and becoming a director this seemed like the right time to undertake this level of study.

In your view, what are the benefits of working and studying at the same time?

Definitely the ability to put into practice the theories you are immersing yourself in. Through studying at the same time as working on a day-to-day basis you have the ability to take your learnings from the classroom to a working environment. You can easily create a toolkit of frameworks and processes that work effectively for you in the working world.

What advice would you give to others thinking of an MBA?

The MBA is a hugely valuable and influential degree. The course is only a temporary period, however, the tools you gain will stay with you long-term. Working alongside studying isn’t easy, however, remember the end-goal and embrace every moment because taking the learnings and completion of the MBA can act as a huge catalyst for future progression and a hugely successful career.

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