Sponsored - How an Executive MBA is helping a Sheffield business consultant fly

High level study helps leaders run better businesses - and seize opportunities when they come.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 12:22 pm

Last year, lawyer and international business specialist, Kiley Tan, signed up for an Executive MBA to challenge himself and take his consultancy to the next level.

Since then the government has signalled a desire for closer ties with the Indo-Pacific region. And the pandemic has forced firms to do deals remotely.

Both play to his strengths - many of them new.

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Kiley Tan, Executive MBA student at Sheffield University Management School and director of Mosaic International. Picture: Chris Etchells

Kiley, aged 45, set up Mosaic International in 2015 to capitalise on his legal expertise, contacts and knowledge of South East Asia, especially Malaysia and Singapore.

Business was ‘good but not flying’ when he signed up for the course at the University of Sheffield Management School.

Its wide scope has been a revelation, he says.

A year into the two-year curriculum he has learned subjects including innovation, change management, corporate governance and economics - all of which he immediately put to profitable use.

Kiley Tan says the Executive MBA is helping him take his business to the next level. Picture: Chris Etchells

He said: “It’s important to understand the foundations of all these things to give me a springboard to grow Mosaic and maximise performance for our clients.”

But it is the more cerebral assignments that have had the most personal impact.

Writing mission, value and vision statements have made him question and define his motives, attitudes and assumptions and consider Mosaic in a wider context.

“When these things are in your head you can rationalise them away if you breach them. But if you put them up on the wall, people can hold you accountable.

Dr Mel Bull, director of executive and professional education at UoS Management School. Picture Scott Merrylees

“And you need to be. I could think ‘this is my business and I can do whatever I want’ but in the MBA we learned it is about being part of the community. I could set up off-shore but I want to be part of this community.”

Meanwhile modules on ’responsible leadership’, ‘strategy and risk’ and ‘collaborative networks’ have made him more reflective and less judgmental - “lawyers can be very judgemental,” he jokes - and more understanding of people making decisions in stressful situations.

Kiley is one of 20 on the course at the executive education suite in The Villas, Western Bank, Broomhill, Sheffield. Fellow students include experienced business people and even senior NHS staff.

He added: “I didn’t realise how little I knew and how much I would learn from the course. Every single module has challenged me and my cohort.”

While he was busy, serendipity was at work too.

Covid travel shutdowns have forced international traders to rely on in-country contacts to do jobs which can’t be done remotely - such as vetting and checking suppliers and that their goods are exactly as described.

These ‘supplier audits’ offer Kiley the chance to leverage his contacts in new ways.

In short, Mosaic has masses of potential, he believes, and the Executive MBA is giving him the ability to realise it.

The course is open to people from all over the country and costs £18,000. It is triple-crown accredited due to its recognition by the three main awarding bodies: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA.

Students are usually self-funded or sponsored, but government grants are available https://www.gov.uk/masters-loan.

The department also offers an MSc in Management and Strategic Leadership and a Senior Leader Apprenticeship with Post Graduate Diploma.

Applications for September are open. Go to: SUMS-ExecutiveEducation.co.uk

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.