2018 Best EMBAs: Blair Wood, London Business School

Blair Wood

London Business School

Open-minded and engaging person with a passion for learning new things and meeting new people.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Wimbledon, UK

Family Members: Fiancé Ana, Mum Frances, Dad David, Brother Kyle

Fun fact about yourself: I once walked arm-in-arm with Mike Tyson while conducting an interview surrounded by police, security and hundreds of fans.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Durham University, Natural Sciences

Cardiff University, Post-graduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism

Where are you currently working? Input Media, Senior Producer

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

LBS: Academic Rep for EMBALS 2018, Member of Mindful Revolution Community work, Manbassador for Women in Business Club, Global Give Ambassador

Professionally: I lead a 24-person production team at Chelsea Football Club and am one of the Executive Producers for a 70-person production team at the French Open.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest moment was after a Mindful Revolution mentoring workshop we did with some young students from the nearby Paddington Academy. One of the students singled me out as having helped him with a potential career path and how to get into his dream job. It was good to know I could pass something on to him.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2012, I produced a three-hour live preview show for the Champions League football final. This was my first major programme and involved managing content from five different teams in various locations as well as a team of five former footballers and a live production gallery. It was arguably the most memorable night in Chelsea FC’s history and the show was a big success. I have worked on a number of major sporting events, but that remains my proudest moment.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Social Media and Internet Marketing – taught by another excellent lecturer in Lil Mohan. I think this module is crucial for any MBA student. The key insight was that it is hard to find an industry that hasn’t needed to adapt to the new digital landscape and, particularly for B2C organisations, if you don’t accept that the digital consumer is a very different beast – with very different needs – it is a long and dangerous road ahead.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose London Business School for two reasons. First, if I was going to commit the time and money to do an Executive MBA, I wanted to challenge myself at one of the world’s leading institutions. Second, I loved all I heard about the LBS family, world-renowned lecturers, and a diverse range of students from a wide variety of cultures and professional backgrounds. I thought I would learn a lot from this diversity and I did.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed the people I met. Yes, part of that was the lecturers; they are experts in their fields and very engaging. But I mean more with my class. I was with an excellent group of people who, as well as being very smart, had plenty of interesting stories to tell from a variety of backgrounds.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Working in sport, my hours aren’t always conducive to a part-time MBA. I remember last June: I had a Corporate Finance exam (not my strong suit) and, for the entire two weeks beforehand, I was based in Paris working back-to-back 14-hour days on the French Open Tennis. In between broadcasts, I’d try to read notes and, on the day I went home, I finally had some revision time penciled in. I then found out our interviewer was double-booked and I had to go and interview Andre Agassi for a feature. More revision time gone so, when I got home, my first night in two weeks with my girlfriend became a long night of corporate finance. It turned out to be one of my best marks, I got to meet a legend in Agassi and a well-timed meal ensured all was good at home.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? My main advice is that you should tailor your EMBA based on the journey you want to take. Be guided but not overly influenced by others…there is a relatively narrow window to maximise a valuable and rare chance for personal growth. You need to explore the vast array of opportunities, find the blend that suits you, and do things at your pace.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? For an EMBA, the biggest myth for me is the idea that it’s very hard to find the time to adequately balance study, work and family. It turned out to be pretty accurate but not impossible. In fact, once the EMBA is over, I am so much more efficient with my time now that I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. Once you get yourself organized and cut out some of the bad habits, you’d be amazed at how well you can balance it all.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I think the biggest regret is that, as I was working full-time around my studies, I wasn’t able to make the most of some of the extra-curricular events and clubs. Some of the clubs at LBS – the Women in Business, Consulting and Sports Business Club for example – organized some very good workshops or talks and I simply couldn’t attend or engage with as I wanted to. I guess this is one area where I envied the full-time MBAs.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Ana Maria Ciurea – my fellow academic rep and partner in crime in many other respects. Ana is a very strong, confident, and impressive woman, but matches that with being equally considerate. She travels relentlessly for work but is always able to refocus when it comes to the EMBA. We come from very different perspectives but I have learnt a lot from her. She also speaks six languages fluently, which just blows my mind.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I finally decided to grow up and thought seriously about how to fulfill my potential and take the next step in my career.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…unfulfilled, sitting at work wishing I had applied for business school.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? One day I’d like to be the CEO of a rugby club.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone whose conversation they enjoyed, who would always try to help others when needed and as someone they’d like to meet up with for a coffee and catch-up.

Favorite book: I love autobiographies so I’ll go for: I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Favorite movie or television show: Too many films so I’ll pick the TV show Scrubs

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

1) Travel to New Zealand and spend a couple of months exploring

2) Complete a road trip of all 50 US States




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