Ian Cowley

"Ask questions and do not always accept the status quo. The MBA gave me confidence to do this, and to challenge the status quo in the broader business environment."
About my career

I am currently the Sales Director for Promat UK, who specialise in fire protection and high performance insulation, and completed my MBA on a part-time basis whilst working.

My MBA gave me an improved understanding on how business practices and departments work alongside each other, to achieve growth and success. In particular, I found strategy very interesting and now find myself heading our business strategy sessions by facilitating workshops and ensuring strategic alignment and delivery along the way.

My MBA also gave me a more rounded understanding of different business models, and how they are used within my role. I am now able to make business decisions with the knowledge that I have assessed and considered the impact my decisions will have on others and their roles.

The skills I have found particularly important have been people management, measurement and strategic planning, attributes I use on a frequent basis at work.

It was not easy to balance the MBA alongside work and my family life. For two years the social side of life took a back seat, I did not pick up a golf club for two years! That was a tough decision! Nevertheless, I did manage to maintain a balance between work, family life and study.

However, some of the MBA scenarios and assignments are work centric and therefore benefit the business, as well as you individually, and therefore you can practice what you have learnt in the workplace.

My top tip for students is…

Ask questions and do not always accept the status quo. The MBA gave me confidence to do this, and to challenge the status quo in the broader business environment. At times we can all get consumed in our area of expertise, not realising that there are more areas of business that are just as important as those that we may specialise in.

Work on your planning and preparation skills too, these are key to delivering effective results.

I’m inspired by…

In a business context, this is when most people would say “Richard Branson” but for me the inspiration is my father, who supported me throughout my life and taught me the value of hard work and by doing the best you can will often return positive results.

Why I love Manchester Met

Everyone says that meeting new friends and sharing experience is their highlight, and in many ways it is, and it’s great to keep in touch with people, however the lessons learnt from study and implementing some practices back in the workplace and seeing positive results is the most rewarding thing.

Without the MBA experience I would not have developed as much as a person, nor would I be a Director of the business, the MBA has certainly helped with my career.