Rekha Karna was an operations analyst for Goldman Sachs in India when the financial crisis hit. With experience in an industry that was truly shaken by the fallout from the crash, Rekha knew it was a good time to upskill and develop her business acumen.
An MBA, it seemed, was the logical next step—she chose The Liverpool MBA after receiving strong recommendations from alumni and colleagues at Goldman Sachs. Liverpool was also European Capital of Culture at the time.
Rekha (pictured) embarked on the MBA at The University of Liverpool Management School in 2008—in the decade since she has seen a major boost to her career, and now works as an executive director for JP Morgan in New York.
A network of opportunities
The MBA was a starting point, she explains, and she credits the program with equipping her with the skills to climb the career ladder.
“It made me think a certain way. Being on the MBA taught me patience, gave me an eye for detail, and an analytical mind that I wouldn’t say I had naturally,” she says.
It also gave her a chance to network with MBA peers from all over the world, and from a plethora of industries. Rekha explains that she uses her understanding of the theoretical concepts of management, around working with people from different backgrounds on a daily basis.
She credits the power of the alumni network too. In attendance at an alumni event in Boston, after moving to New York, she networked with fellow alumni who were part of the University of Liverpool Management School in the 1980s and 90s.
She’s also in touch with MBA alumni who were part of The Liverpool MBA before her time, and says they regularly bounce ideas off one another.
The lasting effects of an MBA
Rekha’s path to New York is an example of the long-term benefits of an MBA. “One of the things when I look back at my career is an MBA does not pay off immediately, you still have to rough it out,” she thinks. Especially, as she was re-entering the finance industry at a turbulent time.
She landed a role with Royal Bank of Scotland just under a year after graduating, in Newcastle under Lyme. After three and a half years she moved to a role in London for six months, before relocating to Manchester and migrating functions across multiple locations.
The MBA career wheel was constantly turning though, and eventually she moved permanently to London and was headhunted by JP Morgan six months in, by an old colleague of hers from Goldman Sachs. The move to New York followed.
“I attribute a lot of my position today to the skills I got from the MBA and I’m totally grateful for that opportunity. It accelerates your career so quickly without you even realizing it.”
A hub for global sport
The University of Liverpool Management School is also a hotbed for the sports industry. Indeed, the school’s Football Industries MBA (FIMBA) is the only course of its kind in the world.
That’s what attracted Chris Winn (pictured below, right) to the school. He’d always known he wanted to work in the sports business, but with it being such a small, niche competitive industry he was adamant that he needed a specialized set of skills to succeed.
After an economics degree from the University of Bath, and a formal finance qualification from KPMG, his plans went in lockstep with the Football Industries MBA.
“I was aware of this MBA that specialized in the football business, and I knew by doing it I would be among a small group of people with this expertise,” he says.
On the course, Chris explains that alongside FIMBA-specific modules the Liverpool Management School also put on weekly lectures focused on career management, CV writing, and the soft skill side of preparing for interviews.
He also cites the networking opportunities as a “road into the industry.”
If you wanted to get in touch with someone, then the faculty members have a book from which students could glean the relevant contacts—after hearing a talk from the English Premier League finance director at the time, Chris was able to leverage that relationship, getting in touch to interview him for his dissertation.
He also heard from the chief executive of Celtic FC, as well as travelling out to Nyon for a two-day operations management module at UEFA headquarters.
Unrivalled industry knowledge
Chris admits that the Football Industries MBA prepares students immaculately to enter the industry after graduating. “I was exposed to many different people across clubs, organizations, and bodies, taking in pretty much on a weekly basis exactly what was going on in the industry.”
Every year, representatives from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group come to speak to the class. It was this meeting that led Chris to the career he has today, as a sports business consultant for the group.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of that team in the future,” he recalls. “So, I went to Manchester a few times afterwards, got CV advice from the guy I had spoken to, and then, when the vacancy came up, they knew who I was and ultimately I got it.”
By doing the Football Industries MBA, Chris explains that he thought it gave him the best chance of taking his previous qualifications and entering an industry he is truly passionate about.
The industry expertise, the career advice, and the networking opportunities, he concludes, ultimately led to him landing the role he wanted. “It gave me the key to the door.”