Learning at Work case study Purposes only

Nic’s Master’s gave him the confidence to lead his corporate division’s strategic planning process, a role previously performed by someone much higher up in the organisation.

4 min read

The University of Portsmouth helped me get to where I am now by offering this program through the degree apprenticeship option. It also challenged me to learn as much as I could, and to reflect on how I could apply this new information to my role straight away.

Building on experience

I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Project Management. I’m also a Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS) and Project Management Professional (PMP). I chose the Strategic Leadership (Senior Leader Apprenticeship) to add to the management knowledge I have acquired on the job over the years, and to improve my strategic leadership skills.

I chose Portsmouth because the MBA Senior Leader Apprenticeship was focused on strategic leadership but included some of the softer leadership skills, such as coaching, rather than solely on technical subjects such as finance. The other key factors in my decision were that the course is  offered as a degree apprenticeship, and that it was close enough to commute from Bournemouth. The funding for the course has been covered by my company’s Apprenticeship Levy.

Combining work with study

I am employed full time as a Senior Account Manager for Penny & Giles Controls Ltd, part of Curtiss-Wright, in Christchurch, Dorset. This involves a lot of emails and phone calls (and previously some travel) both internally and with customers, to work through problems and find solutions. Looking for a silver lining to the pandemic, because I was working from home full time and had no work travel, I used the time I normally would have been commuting or travelling for my studies.

Learning at Work case study Purposes only

Next, I want to continue applying the new skills and tools I have learnt in this program and see how far it takes me. I also want to apply my new skills outside of work, to my personal life and other organisations that I support.

Nic Hesse, MBA Strategic Leadership (Senior Leader Apprenticeship)

Investing in my future

Three things I have learnt are: confidence in my abilities; curiosity to always be learning and applying new skills; and invest time in yourself to reflect and learn from your own experiences and those of others. My advice to other students is to find ways to connect to your classmates outside of the lectures. You can learn as much from your fellow students as from your instructors.

My goals going forward are to contribute as much as I can to my role, and to grow so that I can advance to more senior roles and apply my strategic leadership skills more frequently. 

Impact to work

Employer's view:

Learning at Work case study Purposes only

The course content and tasks have been an excellent fit with our business requirements and needs.

Nic has applied course content to strategy analysis and development very effectively and productively. He is leading the strategic planning activity of our Sensors Division this year, an activity normally led at Director or VP level. Leadership and communication skills are being abundantly demonstrated.

The course has been an excellent fit to business needs and Nic is applying it very well.

Ian Cooper, Snr. Director of Operations at Curtiss-Wright