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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Michael Stark MBA2016

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You gain the most benefit when you are working hard and being challenged.

Why did you want to study for an MBA?
I began my career in banking, working for a boutique investment firm, in South Africa. I co-managed two hedge funds, a long short fund and a market neutral fund. After two years, I decided to take a sabbatical where I travelled extensively for six months. I eventually ended up in San Francisco, working for a mergers and acquisition bank.  I, however, found myself wanting more and began interviewing at larger organisations for a more senior role. I soon realised that I needed an MBA to help me reach the next level. After researching the field, I found the University of Southampton was part of the prestigious Russell Group of UK universities and the Business School was accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) so it seemed to be an obvious choice.

What were the most important lessons you learned from the MBA?
I would say the degree taught me how to learn and has given me agility and resilience. With hindsight, you gain the most benefit when you are working hard and being challenged. In one example, I was working with a group of other students in an external consultancy project. The first project was with a difficult client and we weren’t successful. But we learned from the experience and didn’t make the same mistakes with our second client. Our second project resulted in the team achieving the highest mark in the history of the consulting module at Southampton Business School. Our lesson was ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try again, but do it differently.’

What are you doing now?
I’m now working for a Fintech company, Lombard Risk, in London. My role, as a strategy consultant, sees me working across a number of departments, including sales, marketing and product. The MBA undoubtedly gave me more depth, and directly resulted in me achieving vertical personal growth and horizontal career growth. 


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