After finishing his undergraduate degree, Amrik Nagra secured a job working in finance. But, struggling to progress, he realised his studies in ancient history and languages had not equipped him with the skills he needed for his career.

Studying at Cranfield helped me fast track my career in the city

Following conversations with friends and family, Amrik decided to study at a business school, and chose the Cranfield Master’s in Management.

“The MBA wasn’t quite the right fit at that time,” he told Business Because. “I didn’t have enough work experience, and MBAs don’t really lend themselves at that level.

“I started looking around at master’s in management courses because the content of the course is similar but geared towards people with less work experience. Although I knew a lot about a little, I wanted to adapt the management experience that I had.”

Amrik was attracted to Cranfield by the three-month internship offered at the end of the course. Working to solve a live problem for a business after a year of academic teaching seemed to offer the perfect combination of management experience and formal training that he needed.

An internship at London-based financial services company Clear Treasury led to a full-time role at the company after graduation.

“I did the Master’s at Cranfield and then went back into finance management in the City at a much higher level, at a larger brokerage, with a higher level of responsibility – which is exactly what I wanted,” he said.

Amrik then went on to achieve a partnership at corporate finance firm the Legacy Group and become director of luxury dining start-up Galliano Dining.

He credits his fast progression up the career ladder to the quality of teaching at Cranfield, particularly the faculty’s strong grounding in real business alongside their academic profession. For example, programme director Professor Michael Dickmann is also head of the Human Resources department at Cranfield and has more than a decade’s experience in consulting in HR prior to his academic career.

“You’re not just reading from a management textbook,” Amrik explains. “You’re learning about actual projects the professors themselves have worked on. [Cranfield’s connection to industry] is evident in the way the course is taught and I really enjoyed that. It was probably the main thing I gained.”

Another draw for Amrik was Cranfield’s focus on encouraging entrepreneurship and start-ups. As well as the opportunity to study electives and pursue internships in start-ups, students on Cranfield’s Management MSc have access to an extensive entrepreneurial network and resources like the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship.

“Cranfield has a very creative spark to it,” Amrik explains. “If there’s a project and a way you want to work on it, the attitude is: ‘Let’s talk about it. Let’s do it’, which I really liked.

“The two things I’m doing now have really entrepreneurial streaks to them. I never thought my working style was like that, but it really responded and now I’m working in two businesses that work in similar ways.”

At young financial advisory company the Legacy Group, Amrik helps corporates and individuals looking to manage their wealth in a way that will pay dividends well into the future. The job requires creative thinking to connect investors on one side of the company’s client pool with smart young start-ups on the other, giving new businesses the launchpad they need while helping the newly wealthy invest for their future.

“Our typical client is someone who has just sold a business for, say, [$60 million],” Amrik explains. “Suddenly they’ve got this massive bank balance and they don’t know what to do with it. Plus, they’re bored because they’re not working in the business anymore. We have to understand how to make the money last a few generations, because although [$60 million] sounds like it will last forever, 97% of wealth is lost by the third generation.”

Amrik credits the Master’s in Management at Cranfield with his success so far.

“I think anyone that has the drive to succeed in business [would do well at Cranfield],” he said. “I would recommend it to someone who wants to learn from the real world. Cranfield is a very theoretical school, but it won’t be solely theoretical in the way it teaches.

“There’s a reason why [Cranfield] has a school of aviation but it also has a runway on campus. [The hands-on learning] sets it apart.”

Article originally published by Business Because.