Professor Heather McGregor

17 October 2016



Are you reading this in Dubai, Malaysia or Japan? If so, I will be in all those places in the next few weeks and would love to meet students and alumni from EBS, please do get in touch with Dave Kelly in our marketing team for more details.

Last week we welcomed two different sets of scholars to Edinburgh Business School. The 19 ‘Silver Scholars’ are the winners of the scholarships the EBS board awarded to students in Scotland to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and I had the pleasure of meeting them and talking about careers, at the very start of their course.

Several of the scholars work in the not-for-profit sector which drew positve media attention. The two scholars from Australia, whose trip to study at EBS was funded by the ‘Classic Wallabies’ programme, were also on campus.

They may have seen our new boardroom table while they were in the building - the table is very special. It is a bespoke piece called The Amelia  which was realised by a young female Irish entrepreneur, Ciara O’Toole, and her company, Amelia. It has a glass top and the base is crafted from the engine casing of a Boeing 737, with a fuel access panel recessed into the oval glass, forming the table’s centre piece.

I wanted this table to come to Edinburgh Business School because to me it symbolises so many of the things that we believe in and aspire to, especially the marriage of business, enterprise and engineering.

The table has been very generously donated to EBS by the DCU Ryan Academy of Entrepreneurship in Dublin, which has been closely involved with Amelia and facilitated the donation. There is a small plaque affixed to the base of the table to commemorate the donation.

Many of you will be visiting EBS on the occasion of our next graduation, November 17th, and I hope that when you do, you will take a moment to visit the boardroom. We have hung on the walls the first six posters of what we hope will be an extensive campaign featuring our students and alumni.
One of those posters is about Brenda Phiri, of who an MBA was the missing link between her and her dream job.

“When I applied for a job at the Bank of Zambia, I was told that the minimum entry qualification was a master’s degree. This was what motivated me to study. I was determined to improve my career and our family’s welfare. My husband, Musongo, told me ‘I want a partner, not a wife’, and he would look after our young daughters while I stayed late at work to study. We had to forgo some luxuries so I could pay for school, but the sacrifices were small compared to the benefits I gained. 
I chose Edinburgh Business School because I could study anywhere: I didn’t have to stop work or leave my family. I found that the course materials were so relevant to my work. Whether I was developing a marketing strategy, preparing an accountant’s report or writing a business plan, I could always look at them for guidance and inspiration. I got my job at the Bank in 2012, and since then I’ve been promoted to executive assistant in the Deputy Governor for Administration's office. This would not have been possible without my MBA.”

Brenda and everyone else who has graduated from Edinburgh Business School are a reminder of how many careers we have supported, and I look forward to sharing more of their stories with you in the future.