Our Experience in the Room series continues with Gordon Maxwell, Engineering Manager at Medtronic and a past participant of the Henley MBA. He highlights his personal and professional development through this MBA at IMI.
What is your career background?
Having obtained degrees in Science, Education and Engineering from NUI Maynooth and UCD respectively, I started my career in the UK in Process Design and Engineering, primarily focusing on food and allied industries. I worked for six years in various engineering roles with APV Baker and travelled widely as a Process Development and Commissioning Engineer.
I returned to Ireland and worked for several years in Technical and Project Management for the Green Isle Foods Group, where I developed competencies for manufacturing optimisation, automation and people management.
After a short period working as a Process Engineering Consultant, I transitioned into the highly regulated and exciting Medical Device sector. I joined Tyco Healthcare which became Covidien and is now Medtronic. Working at functional and program management level, my key focus through teams, has been the reduction of manufacturing costs through the application of engineering principles and methodologies to improve efficiencies, reduce variation and the implementation of complex automation.
Why did you choose the Henley MBA?
Having operated at management level in the technical space for a long time, I needed to broaden my business acumen and awareness 360° to enhance my career advancement potential. Having identified the MBA as being the appropriate means, the Henley MBA offered me three critical requirements: an internationally recognised and accredited programme, flexibility to fit in with a busy work and family life and the prospect of a valuable stretching and learning experience.
What were the highlights?
There were many.
The opening weekend in the beautiful Henley environment set the scene and the challenges ahead as well as an introduction to the Henley and IMI networks. Many of the workshops had exciting discussions and debates and broadening of the mind experiences unique to the programme. The Management Challenge was a highlight and one of the most valuable experiences and projects I’ve undertaken that has benefited me personally and also my organisation.
What were the challenges?
The continuous challenge was time management, thus ensuring the appropriate balance and harmony was achieved and maintained for work, family, study and recreation. One learns to prioritise and invest time only in what is important and discard the rest.
Keeping up with the programme, the extensive reading volume and completion of assignments on time was challenging but of great necessity to maintain the harmony referred to earlier. Deciding on the topic for my Management Challenge and honing in on the real issue for research was a challenge but a rewarding experience having sought the input and debate of my lecturers, fellow students and organisation.
What impact has the MBA had on your career?
Though I still work in the same role and its early days since I completed the programme, I have greater awareness and sense of personal responsibility to advance in my career through self-initiated discussions with my manager and other leaders within my organisation. Having completed the MBA, I feel I have a heightened resolve to achieve greater things in my current role and beyond.
What impact has the MBA had on your organisation?
I guess this is for my leaders to judge. The completion of the Management Challenge that investigated the factors causing project delays and how to execute projects faster has had a direct benefit. My personal development into a leader as a result of the MBA is, I believe, being manifested in several ways e.g. in my growing confidence as a leader; in the quality of my decision making and in my contribution at the management table.
What is your advice to people planning further study?
Go for it! Don’t put off until tomorrow what is on your mind to do today.
Further study, in relatively mature years, is more enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding. It adds tangible value to your personal knowledge and growth. You must plan your time to ensure adequate time for work, family and study. Keep to the plan, don’t fall behind and submit your assignments on time. Reward yourself and your family with mini breaks. Involve your family in your study programme.
Maintain harmony in all that you do. Share your new knowledge with those who will appreciate and value it. Enjoy the journey and the experience!
Our Experience in the Room series continues with Gordon Maxwell, Engineering Manager at Medtronic.
Gordon is a past participant of the Henley MBA.
He highlights his personal and professional development through this programme at IMI.