Thinking of studying an MBA?

Dr Gareth Griffiths, MBA Director at Bangor University has this advice...

Plan ahead

Most programme leaders will give you access to reading lists for your first set of modules (many are available to anyone online anytime) so you can read ahead. This is particularly important if you are a ‘career changer’, coming from an unusual background or it has been a long time since you’ve been studying.

Being familiar with some of the content of the first few weeks will relieve some of the pressure from the course as there will be many other stresses starting a new course in a strange environment with new people and probably new ways of learning.

Most MBA modules start from first principles but move quickly so having a reasonable knowledge of the basics already will help make the material more manageable. Learning to be critical of what you read is also essential.

Comfort Zone

The MBA is an opportunity to try out new subject areas and develop knowledge and expertise where perhaps you have had no experience whatsoever.

Too often students pick subjects that they are not frightened of e.g. they will pick quantitative subjects if they are good at Maths or will opt for Marketing electives if they have related work experience. However the MBA is an opportunity to get out of the comfort zone, take a risk and try subjects that you haven’t considered before. Often this comes as a pleasant surprise and can be a catalyst into potential job openings that the candidate had never thought of previously.

Even though it can be a challenging experience huge learning can take place in all sorts of ways.  

Planning and Organisation

I know it sounds boring but often students have managed to get away with being disorganised in their lives previously. Juggling lectures, tutorials with a large quantity of reading, meetings and deadlines with the normal family and social activities can be tricky and the main reason why students fail.

On most MBAs if things are left to the last minute there will only be one outcome. Get assignment and exam dates when you start the programme and try to allocate time in advance for adequate preparation, reading and understanding and stick to your schedule!

Reading and understanding course content and making extra notes around a subject as you go along will reap dividends in the end and reduce the stress on the period leading up to examinations. Obviously planning appropriate breaks and adequate sleep will help too!


All MBAs in the UK are multicultural experiences. For the last twenty years Business Schools have had the majority of places filled with Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian and other European students. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from other cultures, working practices and outlooks. My advice here would be to come in with an open mind and leave stereotypical views behind. Often students are surprised by the range of views they encounter (they find some counter intuitive).

Most MBAs require assessment in groups as well as individually and so an open approach is essential in order to maximise the contribution from the team.

Useful websites

Many MBA students have found the following free websites useful:

  • all Ted talks are of high quality, informative and interesting. Particularly relevant are the ones  on Business, Economics, Entrepreneurship and Leadership
  •  a free site once registered offering a plethora of MBA related materials  

Dr Gareth Griffiths describes the postgraduate courses offered at Bangor Business School


The Business School at Bangor University is ranked in the top 25% in the UK for Business and Management research* and amongst the Top 25 in the world for Banking Research (RePEc, December 2017)

*according to the REF 2014 research ‘intensity’ index (Times Higher, January 2015)