MBA (Master of Business Administration) graduate Laura Castles is Curriculum Lead for Torfaen Training, a profit arm of Torfaen County Borough Council. She speaks about how the part-time course benefited her in the workplace.
What does your job role involve?
As Curriculum Lead, my role oversees the work based learning curriculum, subcontracts, and teaching and learning for Torfaen County Borough Council. I undertake self-assessment reports and tendering for the government as well as being responsible for practitioners delivering essential skills to apprenticeships.
My job fits into the profit arm of the council, so it’s my responsibility to try and bring in as much revenue as possible. I achieve this through various initiatives such as delivering work based apprenticeship training. Any profit made through commercial services contributes towards the protection of front line services, which is why it’s so important to meet targets.
Why did you choose to study the MBA?
Being on an academic rollercoaster, I joined the MBA (Master of Business Administration) following the successful completion of a PGCE, the ILM Level 7, and a Coaching and Mentoring certificate. I felt the Masters was a natural progression and I was drawn to the opportunities it presented. I was also keen to network with like-minded people working in different sectors of business.
During tutorials I was fortunate to learn alongside individuals working in areas such as operations and finance, so there was a real mix of expertise. We learnt so much from one another, and I was able to adopt best practice from other organisations to the workplace.
What have you gained through studying the course?
The MBA has changed my thinking and how I approach my work. I challenge things rather than taking them for face value. Following the course, I consider myself a strategic thinker, planning my work up to three years in advance – something I wouldn’t have considered beforehand. My colleagues have recognised this new strength. It’s part of the reason why I advanced from Training and Developing Coordinator to the role I’m doing now.
Which element of the course has been the most useful in the workplace?
Finance was the area I dreaded on the course. It was also the topic I found most difficult. In hindsight the Strategic Financial Management module was, without a doubt, the most useful. I used to shy away from number crunching in the workplace. Following the course I now manage my own budget and regularly undertake cost and benefit analysis. With my new-found financial knowledge I make it a priority to analyse figures. I also find myself questioning: Can we afford to undertake certain activities? Do the activities fit into a long term or short term plan?
What are your plans, following the course?
The Master in Business Administration has been hugely beneficial; on a personal and academic level. It’s reignited my thirst for learning, which is why I’ve made the decision to return to the University to study the MSc Human Resource Management. The course has given me a fantastic overview of management and I now know how all the cogs work having gained a deeper understanding of the business needs. I appreciate that I’ll never know all there is to know about everything, but I’ve recognised I have a passion for learning and honing my skills – the reason why I find education so alluring.