Alumni Stories - Sam Pettipher, Robert Gordon University MBA ‘16

Robert Gordon University

Sam Pettipher is a graduate of Robert Gordon University's MBA program, currently working as managing director and founder of EBar Initiatives, a start-up aimed at changing the way drinks are served at large events.

Business School Experience

Sam Pettipher1) What attracted you to study this degree?

The MBA is a highly attractive course as it provides deep foundations in a comprehensive range of areas of business. For me, the MBA opened my eyes to the reasons why companies fail to implement strategies in response market forces. The MBA was also a great way to advance my career and most importantly transition into a new industry. 

2) What made you decide on the business school in which you were enrolled?

Robert Gordon University (RGU) is a prestigious institution which has excellent facilities sited across a great out of town campus. The university has excellent links with employers, particularly with those in the North East of Scotland and employability is a key component of the course – namely that the MBA programme includes a placement/consultancy project. My decision to enrol at RGU was a balance between the exceptional value of the programme alongside the employability statistics.

3) What was the best and/or most unexpected part of your degree experience?

I did not expect to finish my MBA and immediately start my own company with the goal of disrupting an industry. The entrepreneurial elements of my degree experience were life-changing and resulted in the setting up of a business with a fellow MBA colleague.


4) What skills do you think you have gained from the study of your degree?

My communication skills and ability to work to deadlines have developed substantially – the MBA helps to develop very efficient time management skills alongside developing an ability to work very effectively in a short period of time.

5) In what way have others around you (e.g. managers/colleagues/new business partners) benefited from your degree experience?

I strongly believe the MBA has helped me become better at resolving conflict and identifying ways in which multiple stakeholders can benefit. It has also helped me to develop an ability to confront the critical issues rather than pretending they will go away. I have substantially developed as a person following the completion of my MBA.

6) What sacrifices did you have to make (personal/professional) in order to embark on your degree?

There were multiple sacrifices with the main one being time and money – the MBA will take up your life for your period of study. Undoubtedly there was a substantial financial sacrifice for me to leave work and study full-time. However, looking back almost two years in hindsight I think it was definitely worth it.


7) How did you finance your degree and do you feel you have received a return on investment?

I used some savings, a Cooperative personal development loan which defers payments whilst you study and the trusty 0% credit card. I would suggest that someone ensures they are ready to take an MBA both financially and mentally as it is a full-on experience. 


8)  The admissions process can be quite a daunting experience. What would be your top tip for candidates to excel in the admissions process of this degree?

One of the key things I have taken from the MBA is that you are always selling yourself or trying to influence a person ultimately. I always try and grab a coffee and a chat with key stakeholders so that you are memorable and you can understand what they are looking for. Secondly, make sure to sell yourself – what is special about you beyond your academic or employment credentials? The MBA group comprises a diverse range of people who help each other along the way. It is really important that you can enhance the group and boost teamwork. 

Amelia Hopkins
Written by Amelia Hopkins

Amelia Hopkins is a writer for TopMBA, covering the latest news in business and business education. A graduate of the University of Leeds and Yorkshire native, she enjoys reading, travelling and talking incessantly about the countryside.

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