Independent/Durham Business School MBA scholarships: High flyers spread their wings - Postgraduate Study - Postgraduate - The Independent

Independent/Durham Business School MBA scholarships: High flyers spread their wings

If MBA student Tim Forber was hoping for a quiet fortnight to study for impending exams, he'll have been disappointed. Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the BNP all came to Oldham in the coming days ahead of the by-election – and Forber is the senior police officer in charge.

"No chance of having my head in my books. It's very difficult to plan in my job. Don't go into an MBA with any illusions, it's incredibly hard work," says Chief Superintendent Forber. Last year he won the Independent MBA scholarship at Durham Business School and has another year of study ahead of him.

While the past year has been tough – he also has three children under the age of five – the course content has been directly relevant to his expanding managerial responsibilities in the police force. "Everything I learn, I can apply immediately to my job. We have to cut £133 million from Greater Manchester Police's budget over the next four years and we're becoming more customer-focused – the MBA gives me a head start in understanding how we can do that," he explains.

While none of this year's scholarship winners are working in the public sector, their aims match those of last year's contestants: self-development and a desire to manage well and spread the benefits.

Annabel Cornish, 42, winner of the two-year executive scholarship, heads up her own web design and software company The Zebra Group. Nigerian IT specialist Adetokunbo Omotosho, 34, is taking a break from his senior role in Interswitch Ltd, a Lagos-based electronic transaction switching and payment processing company, to take up the full-time scholarship. Christel Adamou, 31, a French lawyer with the United Nations in Nairobi, has won the new distance learning Global MBA. In total the hotly-contested scholarships, now in their sixth year, are worth around £50,000 in total.

"I'm not in this for the money," says Cornish, who recently employed a business coach to cast new light on her business. "I fell into this line of work back in the days when you had to explain what the internet was. Focusing with a coach was invigorating. I'm very open to sharing ideas and learning. Durham has such a good reputation. I realised how much more fulfilled I feel personally and professionally when I'm progressing."

After graduating in history of design into the recession of 1991, Cornish worked in a Ford dealership before seeking more creative work with web design agencies. She and her business partner acquired what became The Zebra Group in 1995.

Just as the staff she trains externally are expected to apply their knowledge at work, she plans to put her study into practice immediately. As for how she will squeeze in a weighty academic course with the demands of work and family – she has three children – she has her fingers crossed. "We're a very supportive business. This course is very much for everybody's benefit; we want to expand," she says. "And I'll train my children to become more self-reliant. They're fully behind me; it was great for us a family for me to win this scholarship."

Omotosho predicts that one of his greatest challenges will be learning to become a student again and switching off from the demands of his work. "It's been seven years since I studied, but I'm sure I'll adapt," he says.

He chose Durham above other schools because of its focus on boardroom activity. "I wanted something to give me practical experience of leading business from the word go," he explains.

After undertaking several shorter management courses in preparation, Omotosho is looking forward to consolidating his experience so far. He says: "I want to be a business leader and return to my country and make an impact and a change in society. An MBA is a means to achieve that. I've been planning this for three years."

An MBA seemed a natural step for Adamou, whose string of qualifications include a Masters in law at the Sorbonne in Paris. Following an internship with the UN in New York in 2004, she has progressed to working in Nairobi, setting up a news justice administration system within the organisation.

Adamou won the Global MBA scholarship, a flexible programme of around three years, which allows her to study from a distance. She says Durham appealed to her because of its "blend of tradition, modernity and excellence".

She is seeking to broaden her understanding of business and management. "[Having an MBA] means being able to work in an international organisation at a strategic level or to face the global arena of business with confidence in the full knowledge that I will have all the tools to be successful and possibly make a difference anywhere in the world," she explains.

As a doctor with four more years of clinical practice before consultancy, last year's winner of the global scholarship, Helen Winslow is coping well, one year into her flexible course. Most of her study is off campus as a distance learner. She is based at Liverpool Royal Hospital where she works as a registrar. She says: "It's hard work, but the real carrot is attending seminars and meeting up with others – I've met other doctors on the course."

Although some of the management concepts she comes across on the course, such as using competition to drive staff, might need modification for the public sector, Winslow hopes to apply them constructively in the future. "People are well-intentioned, but the NHS has flaws. This [MBA] will give me options in a few years' time. The scholarship has been hugely helpful as I don't anticipate the course will immediately increase my earnings," she says.

MBAs have been heavily criticised for focusing on profit and high risk strategies that contributed to the global downturn. Durham has been at the forefront of reflecting a shift in focus in its MBA towards business ethics and sustainability, which contributes to its popularity. "Our reputation gives graduates a persuasive brand on their CV, but moreover their experience helps our graduates achieve their personal or career goals," says Professor Rob Dixon, dean at Durham Business School.

Colombian lawyer Carlos Sanchez Garcia, another of last year's winners, hopes the kudos of Durham will enable him to consolidate his experience in Europe for a couple of years before returning to Latin America. He is currently studying alongside his wife, who also attended Durham's full-time MBA. "It's been a year of work often until midnight," concedes Sanchez Garcia. The couple also have a two-year-old daughter to take care of.

While he had initially looked around at other leading UK business schools, Sanchez Garcia is delighted with Durham's standards – and the financial bursary. "The academic level of the teachers, and they way they teach, is amazing," he says. "The level of discussion adds so much. A lot of it has been theory, but with my background in law and political science, I'm happy with that. An MBA is a fantastic tool to use in the real world."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 5 Teacher RequiredThis temporar...

Reception Teacher

£100 - £163 per day + £100 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are a ...

KS2 Teacher

£80 - £100 per day + negotiable : Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 2 Teac...

KS2 Teachers needed for day to day, long term, permanent roles

£110 - £130 per day + TBA: Randstad Education Reading: Primary Teachers needed...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week