MBA Alumni Profile: Nora Naughton, Henley Business School |

MBA Alumni Profile: Nora Naughton, Henley Business School

By QS Contributor

Updated August 20, 2014 Updated August 20, 2014

For Nora Naughton, who graduated from Henley Business School’s MBA program in 2009, improving her business acumen was the key motivation in enrolling.

Different people hold different objectives when applying to business school. Some wish to make the contacts needed to progress their career, for others, developing the managerial prowess needed to head a team can be the end-goal.

“I had been running my own successful company for nine years and wanted to take the company and myself to the next level,” she explains.

“Having had no formal education, apart from short business courses, since the age of 16, I needed to build on my already strong motivational and inspirational leadership skills. Basically, I needed to speak the right language!”

Facing your fears with an MBA

Now, two years after graduating from her program, Naughton has developed her specialist editorial project management company Naughton Project Management extensively, as well as branching out into other areas of her own personal career.
In fact, while admitting that initially she found it difficult during her MBA to find the confidence to speak in public, she has now made it part of her career.

“I lecture at the University of Greenwich on leadership and preparing for employment,” she says, as well as providing “bespoke training for publishers on project management... and speaking at conferences on effective virtual teams.”

Another issue for Naughton was adapting from being her own manager, to working as part of a lager team.

“Coming from a micro-business and being a business owner, becoming accustomed to the ‘corporate way’ and how that impacts on people’s behavior was a challenge.

“Many team members are already senior and middle managers not used to being challenged. Dealing with those issues was difficult, and at times my own too!”

Juggling an MBA with family life

For the majority of business school students, studying an MBA can be extremely demanding, and at times difficult to juggle a family life with.

“Ensure you have ‘buy-in’ from the family,” Naughton advises. “Make times when you are absolutely not-available.  I was lucky as I had my own office and went there.”

“Allow your partner to take over. One of the huge unanticipated benefits for me was the change in the relationship between our two daughters and their father.

“They are far closer; he makes many more decisions now taking into consideration what they need. They don’t think twice about whether they ask me or him. It used to always be ‘ask your mum!’”

Naughton made the decision to apply to Henley’s MBA program for four main reasons: reputation, personal recommendations, program suitability, and the availability of finance.

“People whom I admired had studied at Henley, including my mentor… I was also attracted to the modular route – it suited my lifestyle, two children, my own business. I needed to be able to compartmentalize my studies and the modular route ticked all of those boxes for me.

“Finally, I won a full scholarship to study an MBA at Henley, by taking part in an essay-writing competition, Do women need women’s networks to progress in business?”

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in August 2014

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