Max Hopkinson is Head of Online Marketing for his family business Mark Two Distributors Ltd, one of the country’s leading distributors of kitchen and bathroom products and kitchen design services. He is currently doing a Part-time Executive MBA at Bradford University School of Management.
I always regretted not making the most of my time at university first time around and when I went on a leadership course in Chicago in the summer of 2010, I got a second chance. We had a taster MBA module at Kellogg School of Management and I was so inspired I decided to look at how doing an MBA could help me achieve my career aspirations. Just that one lecture made me think differently about business.
1. MBAs aren’t just for those who want to work for someone else
After getting a variety of experience travelling and teaching skiing abroad, working in advertising in London and as a buyer for an online retailer, I felt ready to make a valuable contribution to my family business. From a very young age, I have been surrounded by entrepreneurship and it has really rubbed off on me. I have never had aspirations to work for a big corporate. The Kellogg School of Management experience made me realise that an MBA could give me the confidence, framework, tools and contacts to help grow and run my own family business.
2. SMEs can benefit as much as global companies from being part of an international business school
If anything, it is more difficult for SMEs than big corporates to break into new international markets because they don’t already have people on the ground in different countries. Some of my fellow MBA students from India and other countries are valuable contacts who can not only help me grow our business internationally, but give me a real insight into different business cultures. These relationships and insights also give us kudos when trying to win new business with multinational companies.
3. You get out what you put in to an MBA
I firmly believe that my career is in my hands. Going to a business school to get an MBA will not automatically get you a top job or grow your business. Whether you want to be a successful entrepreneur, get a management position in the public sector, or work for a multinational company, you need self drive and determination to get the most out of an MBA and make it happen. Inspirational lectures, group projects and career advice don’t make you successful on their own.
It’s a year since I started my MBA and I’ve already started implementing what I’ve learnt about marketing and strategy into the business. We’ve already grown one client from a £2m to £15m account and are looking at £30m turnover for this year. I’m also using some of the international contacts I’ve made to scope out new markets.
Despite tough economic times Mark Two Distributors is doing well and, being at the forefront of making it a success, I have struggled to fit my studies around my work. The School of Management has been very helpful and given me the flexibility to take some time out to ensure that the business doesn’t suffer. I’m now looking forward to getting back into the classroom.