2016 Best EMBAs: Jo Buckross, London Business School

Jo Buckross London Business School

Jo Buckross

London Business School

“Embrace every session as a true learning experience. Time will go so quickly and you need to soak it all up while you are there. The lectures will be outstanding.  However, you can also learn life lessons from your fellow classmates; it’s really important to take that time to engage with them.”

Age: 37

Location: Gibraltar

Family Members: Husband (Daniel), Mum (Michele), Dad (Kevin), Sisters (Becky & Debs), Granny who’s 93 and two wonderful nieces Chloe and Skye who live with Becky and her husband K.C. in Cadiz, Kentucky. Fabulous “in-law family” (Dominic, Julie & Gina)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Lancaster University – Bsc (hons) Psychology

Where are you currently working?

Lloyds Bank Gibraltar

  • Country Manager for Lloyds Bank EEA Customers
  • Member of Lloyds Trust Board Gibraltar & Lloyds Bank Gibraltar Limited
  • Member of Executive Committee for Lloyds Bank Expatriate Banking

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Charity Sporting Events

  • ½ Marathon (Hospice)
  • Tough Mann (Hospice at Home)
  • Relay for Life (Cancer Research)
  • Numerous 5K & 10K (Local Isle of Man charities)
  • Mediterranean Steps Challenge

Strong Participation in Sporting Events

  • Represented Scotland nationally at Royal Windsor Horse Show and my county at “Horse of the Year Show”
  • Represented county for cross country running, long jump, high jump and 200m sprint
  • Represented Isle of Man & Gibraltar for CrossFit (Currently completing the CrossFit Games Open)
  • Sports representative at Lancaster University — Fylde College
  • Rugby 7’s play for Lancaster University
  • Wellbeing representative at London Business School

Keen Musician

  • Play violin for charity fundraisers (Stauros — IOM)
  • Played violin and piano for local church
  • Lead role in Anything Goes with all funds being raised for cancer research

Volunteering — LED TEAMS FOR THE FOLLOWING

  • Volunteering in soup kitchens (Gorbals — Glasgow)
  • Carol Singing in care homes over Christmas (Hopkinsville — Kentucky)
  • Cooking to raise funds for Nazareth House, Gibraltar
  • Collecting for ShoeBox Appeal (Romania)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Finalist for the “Bain Impact Award” — this is the achievement I am most proud of because the nominations were submitted by my fellow classmates. Throughout our time together at London Business School, I supported students who asked for encouragement and guidance on Wellbeing (All Voluntary). I created individual meal plans for those who wished to receive some dietary support. This was a variety of students wishing to lose weight, plan for family, or simply eat healthier. I also coached individual personal training sessions and fitness classes, which I would run in the local gym studio. I do have a real passion for sport and it was incredible to use this passion by helping and supporting other individuals and seeing such tangible differences in their lives. Even now I continue to support some students and I would be delighted to continue supporting well into the future.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was nominated for and won the International Bank Manager of the Year in 2015 within Lloyds Banking Group. The award was an exceptionally proud moment as this was nominated and voted for by colleagues within the business. Being presented with the award at Gresham Street in London was a very surreal moment and reading the nominations after (some samples below) was humbling. I am proud to have made that difference as a leader.

“Jo has an open door policy and nothing is too much trouble. She is very supportive of all colleagues and proudly offers top quality service using personal impact and wisdom.”

“Jo is a role model. She can see the bigger picture and is constantly coming up with creative ideas to improve herself, the branch and the community.”

“Jo’s knowledge and expertise supports colleagues to drive the business and makes decisions putting the customers at the heart of everything we do. Jo is very proud of the Lloyds brand and focuses on our service delivery to grow trust and loyalty.”

“Jo encourages community engagement and fund raising across the branches for the group’s charity and those of local importance and significance to colleagues.”

Who is your favorite professor? Celia Moore — Corporate Social Responsibility. Celia would somehow remain completely impartial when discussing aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility and I found her delivery to be clear, concise, and with a great sense of humour. Celia also supported me on my business project elective, investing time in me when I know she was very busy.

Favorite MBA Courses? Corporate Strategy, Corporate Finance (although challenging), and Developing Effective Managers & Organizations.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? London Business School has a fabulous reputation for hosting a diverse multicultural mix of students and offering a high standard of lectures, both of which are important aspects to me. The application process is very robust and there is evidently a priority to ensure individuals are a “fit” for the supportive and collaborative community London Business School encourages. Faculty, Programme Office, and students have all provided me with a network of support which I have found invaluable.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The International Assignment to Dubai was an outstanding experience. I felt honored to have the opportunity to listen and learn from CEOs such as Colm McLoughlin (Dubai Duty Free) and His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum (Chairman of Dubai International Holding Company). The assignment brought to life how the economy was created and evolved in the UAE region — the companies I visited were very transparent about the challenges they faced conducting business there. The insight was invaluable.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? How powerful a strong and encouraging network can be, especially if it is multi-cultural with an equal gender split. I understood more about different cultures throughout the course simply by interacting with my classmates; it emphasized to me the different perspectives in how decisions or tasks can be approached. Drawing on knowledge and support from such an encouraging set of students has been invaluable.

What was the hardest part of business school? Because of my geographic location I initially travelled to London every second week from the Isle of Man, and then as I moved roles I made the same journey to London from Gibraltar. This resulted in prolonged periods of time away from home as every trip was either four or six days.

I feel so blessed that my husband encouraged me every step of the way. He affectionately called me his “FaceTime Wife” when block weeks were taking me away for prolonged periods of time. However, I could see how proud he was of what I was doing, and that made the harder times easier.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? Embrace every session as a true learning experience. Time will go so quickly and you need to soak it all up while you are there. The lectures will be outstanding.  However, you can also learn life lessons from your fellow classmates; it’s really important to take that time to engage with them.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” I realized my confidence in the Board Room was not high enough to actively seek promotion, I needed to upskill.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be …” Still plucking up the confidence to apply for that next role.”

What are your long-term professional goals? London Business School has really inspired me to “think big” with a more holistic view of opportunities. Primarily, I aspire to reach GEC level with some interim positions focused on corporate strategy and consultancy. Developing entrepreneurs did challenge my thinking in terms of self-start businesses and I absolutely would not rule out this direction in the future.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? It would be my family for their consistent support; my mentors Michael Chaytor & Wendy Leedham, Lloyds Bank for encouraging me to bring my learning into the business; and my amazing husband Daniel who has been my rock throughout.

Fun fact about yourself: I am extremely clumsy and have the war wounds to prove it — I once broke my nose by accidently riding my horse into the branch of the tree.

Favorite book: BattleField of the Mind — Joyce Myer

Favorite movie: Some Like it Hot

Favorite musical performer: The Eagles

Favorite television show: “Top Gear”

Favorite vacation spot: Surfing or paddle boarding in Malibu, California

Hobbies? CrossFit, surfing, running, triathlon, paddle tennis, playing violin, playing piano, learning Spanish

What made Jo such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Jo has been an invaluable addition as she has not only successfully immersed herself in the academic components of EMBA, while working full-time, but also brought her passion for sport and well-being into programme. Upon her arrival she highlighted the tendency for executives to focus much of their energy on meeting the demands of professional life, and wanted to encourage EMBA class colleagues to strive for health and wellbeing too. With that in mind, she created and took up the new position of Wellbeing Class Rep, and worked to develop personal training and dietary plans for peers. As a result, she has helped inspire, motivate and lead class colleagues to achieve their personal health and fitness goals, making a tangible and lasting difference to others. Jo is a role model, she has been an excellent addition to the EMBA programme and we strongly support her nomination for this award.”

Nicola Simpson
EMBA Programme Director
London Business School

DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING EMBAS