NCI Blog

Alan's Story: How the MBA Helped Me Achieve My Career Ambitions

Posted by Andrea Leyden on 12 June 2024

Alan Roche MBA Graduate Spotlight

Aiming to take his career to the next level and having set a goal of becoming a CEO, Alan Roche attended an MBA taster event at National College of Ireland. He discovered that this degree, which is a highly regarded and much-sought-after qualification, could give him the confidence and credibility to lead and drive the growth and success of his organisation.

He shares a realistic view of his MBA experience, including how it challenges and rewards you but overall that it is a worthwhile investment in your personal and professional development, in this graduate spotlight interview. 

Tell us about your career and educational background?

I have been working in the financial services sector since 2000, moving to the credit union sector in 2007. I have a degree in Mutual and Cooperative Business from UCC, and I have also obtained several professional qualifications over the years. I have always been interested in learning new skills and developing my career potential.

Why did you choose to study the MBA at NCI?

I decided to pursue the MBA at NCI for several reasons. Doing an MBA was something that had been on my mind for a few years, I also wanted to take my career to the next level and prepare myself for a CEO role when a vacancy arose.

I attended a ‘taster’ event on the campus and was immediately impressed by the college. I was extremely lucky to have my employer fully sponsor the programme and I had the choice of a number of institutions. The atmosphere in NCI, the staff I encountered at the ‘taster’ evening and the delivery schedule all contributed to my final decision, NCI just felt right.

Virtual Taste of an MBA

Follow in Alan's footsteps by attending a taster session to understand what's involved in undertaking the MBA at NCI and to hear from current students and recent graduates. 

The next taster session will take place 1-2pm on Wednesday 28th August - register here.

Tell us about your experience studying this programme at NCI.

Studying the MBA at NCI was a challenging but rewarding experience. There is no doubt that it takes a significant commitment, it is hard work but worth it. In advance, we were told that you gain huge support from your classmates and I was surprised at just how quickly I felt this. For me I found the diversity and quality of the modules great. There was fantastic interaction and support from the lecturers, I found it a completely different dynamic to my undergraduate degree.

Having had a number of years working in various management positions, I found that as I went through the programme, I could reflect back on previous business challenges and apply the learnings retrospectively. For me this helped hugely in the learning process, often making sense of difficult scenarios I had encountered in the past. The lecturers also always tried to apply the theory to real-world scenarios in their delivery. I learned a lot from the assignments, projects, and case studies, which helped me develop my analytical, critical, and creative thinking skills. I also learned that when the lecturers tell you to start early and plan ahead, they do so for a good reason!

How have you been able to apply what you have learned on the course in your current role?

The MBA at NCI has been instrumental in helping me achieve my career goal of becoming a CEO. I was able to use the knowledge and skills I gained from the MBA to demonstrate my strategic vision, leadership potential, and business acumen to the board of directors and the stakeholders of my organisation. I now find myself using my learning in day-to-day scenarios, it has given me a new approach to problem-solving.

"The MBA at NCI has given me the confidence and credibility to lead and inspire my team and to drive the growth and success of our organisation."

Something that we look for in our leadership team is strategic agility, I can honestly say that I didn’t know what that was before commencing. Now, a couple of years after finishing the MBA I know that my development has continued.

What advice would you give to anyone considering joining the MBA programme at NCI?

My advice to anyone considering joining the MBA programme at NCI is to go for it. It is a worthwhile investment in your personal and professional development. It will challenge you, but it will also reward you. There is no point in saying that is not hard work, I noticed however that all of my class mates had a particular drive and determination and were up for the challenge.

It is definitely fair to say that you get out of it what you put into it. Be honest and upfront with your family and with your organisation – this makes it easier for people to support you.

Finally, what’s next for you and your career?

There are two things I can say with confidence, firstly, the MBA reignited a love of learning and I know it is not the end of my learning journey. Secondly, from a career development perspective doing the MBA was the best decision I have ever made. My current role has given me huge opportunity to grow and develop – I don’t see any prospect of being bored any time soon.

As long as I am challenged and have an opportunity to continue to shape the strategic growth and development of our organisation supported by a fantastic team I can see continued fulfilment in my current role.

Alan completed the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at National College of Ireland which is run part-time with a mix of online and in-person classes. Visit our MBA Hub to hear from more graduates, explore the course content and for application details. 

Topics: Part-time Courses, Postgraduate Courses, MBA, School of Business