MBA Alumni Profile: Chris H Griner, Cranfield

Chris H. Griner talks about his Cranfield MBA experience

Chris Giner completed his MBA in Cranfield over a decade ago. Here, he tells TopMBA.com how he chose where to study and why he stills works in the Cranfield area.

Chris Griner wanted to study outside of his home country, the US for his MBA program. After hearing good things about Cranfield School of Management in the UK, he chose to study there. Now, having graduated over half a deacade ago, the MBA graduate tells TopMBA.com that he is still working in a neighboring town to the Cranfield campus...

I had graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and worked for years at International Paper, the roles ranging from process engineering, project management and finally ending with a production management role.  I came to realize that while I had the honed quantitative analytical and technical skills of an engineer, I was severely lacking in other areas.  I knew that if I was ever going to be the person I hoped to be, I had to increase my business knowledge, especially in new areas (such as finance, marketing and strategy).  Secondly, I knew that if I wanted a career change, this was the time in my life to do so.  An MBA could provide me the vehicle for such a change.

So now that I had decided upon an MBA, I had to decide where.
This is the first question I receive from everyone: "Why would an American go overseas for a MBA?"  For a number of reasons:
a) To build international experience, working with international companies and learning how to do business on a global scale.
b) To participate in a quick full-time program.
c) To experience other cultures personally - to be able to travel internationally, easily.

After researching various international MBA programs, I selected Cranfield based on several criteria:
a) It's one of the leading European business schools.
b) It offers a one-year Full-time program - same skills and knowledge development, shorter time.
c) My student peers would be truly international and experienced, which I could learn from.
d) It was recommended by colleagues.
e) It offered a convenient location - quiet for studying, yet close to London.

Looking back now, I know that my choice of Cranfield was a wise one.  For it opened my eyes in the business sense by allowing me to see the bigger picture, to formulate strategic logic, and to perceive the current concerns with business in other countries (especially developing countries).  Personally, it further opened my eyes to the wide diversity of life - all the terrific places, people and events surrounding me that I had not been previously aware of.

After completing the MBA in September, 2003, I relocated to London to continue the job search I had only just begun at Cranfield.  The Cranfield network of Alumni, especially of the year I graduated, was extremely useful during the job search. We all bonded together and met weekly or bi-monthly to chat, provide each other support, offer tips, CV revision, and all manner of assistance.

I had begun a contractual position with Tate & Lyle in London as an engineer, in order to broaden my CV and gain international work experience when I heard back from Amazon.co.uk with regards to a managerial position at their UK distribution centre.  As the distribution centre is located quite close to the Cranfield campus, naturally Amazon was very aware of the Cranfield SOM and I walked into the interview with a wealth of prestige upon my shoulders already.

I joined Amazon at the end of May, 2004, as an Area Manager.  I have been able to make a difference at Amazon from the start and will continue to do so with the skills I refined, knowledge I gained and techniques I acquired during my time at Cranfield.

So, all in all, was my Cranfield investment worth it?
Would I do it again?  Yes and Yes!  The Cranfield experience has provided me with the tools I needed to obtain my career and personal goals & ambitions. That's why I find myself less than a year later, exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to do!

Written by QS Blogger
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