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Apr 05 2024

Mastering business leadership: my journey through LSE's MBA essentials course and role transition

By Kelly Stokes, Group Head of Operation

In the last quarter of 2023, I completed an intensive MBA Essentials course over 10 weeks, with the London School of Economics (LSE) – and passed with an 88.5% pass rate.

My decision to take the LSE MBA Essentials course coincided with a recent change in job role from Group Head of Postal Services to Group Head of Operations. It aimed to provide me with the tools to step up and support Adam Harwood (CFH Radstock Managing Director) in his role in managing the Operations side of the business.

My change in role sees me taking on additional responsibility, whereby Pat Snooks (Group Head of QHS&E) and Ian Connor (Logistics Manager) and their teams now report through me.

I knew I needed to expand my overall knowledge of what it takes to make a company run successfully. The course was 10 weeks of intensive online training with a new module to explore, an assignment to complete, plus group discussions to partake in (with other course participants from all over the world) each week.

The course covered the following topics:

  • Leading with influence
  • Economics for managers
  • Competitive strategy
  • Corporate strategy
  • Financial accounting
  • Management accounting
  • Analysing financial statements
  • In the mind of the manager
  • ‘Nudging’ behaviour
  • Organisational culture as a leadership tool

Initially, I thought I was out of my depth, as many of the other course participants ranged from Financial Directors to Company Owners and most worked for huge international corporate companies. I was unfamiliar with the course subject information which left me thinking I was potentially at a disadvantage.

However, surprisingly, I found myself more than competent and was 100% invested in each module, thriving on the new rules and tools we were taught for different situations encountered in business. 

This was not a full MBA but a snip-it into each subject, but I feel it was the perfect course for someone in my position, and it has certainly changed my outlook on decisions made within CFH and with the way I would now deal with certain situations.

Adam Harwood said: “I was delighted when Kelly accepted the challenges and opportunities of new job responsibilities and entering into an intensive learning programme, taking on a foundation MBA course designed to stretch the capabilities of business professionals.

Kelly and I have worked together for more than 20 years and I knew that she would meet the learning challenge head-on.

That she outperformed her classmates is a testament to her research skills, hard work and tenacity. Our investment in advanced learning and promotion for Kelly forms a key part of a succession planning initiative which will provide opportunities for staff from all functional areas in the business.”

Everyone at CFH would like to congratulate Kelly on her latest qualification achievement and her recent promotion, it is well deserved!

If you’d like to join the CFH team and maximise your potential, then take a look at our careers page.


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