Newcastle University Business School


Student Profile - Gilbert

  • Class of 2014
  • Nationality: Malawian
MBA profile: Gilbert

Choosing Newcastle

UK institutions are regarded highly in my country. Therefore, a person is considered very well trained if they possess a UK qualification. Additionally, the UK has historical links with Malawi and has helped to shape our educational system. Due to the relationship between the two countries, the UK is considered a priority destination for students who hold UK educational standards in high regard.

When my employer agreed to sponsor my overseas study, I researched high-ranking UK universities for the reasons above and found that Newcastle University was ranked among the top 20 UK universities which encouraged me to apply. When researching the city itself, I learned that Newcastle is a historical city with a reputation as one of the friendliest cities in the UK, hosting students from across the globe and this encouraged me to choose Newcastle.

As an experienced engineer with twenty years of work experience, I chose the MBA programme for three main reasons. Firstly, to help me advance my managerial skillset and prepare me to lead at a higher level. Secondly, to gain an edge over fellow engineers who have gained engineering experience but have not sharpened their leadership skills. Lastly, to become a better engineer - as well as fixing problems, being able to see the bigger picture, apply an enhanced set of thinking skills and undertake projects with due regard to people management, profitability and efficiency.

My course

There are many key benefits to the MBA programme but the outstanding one is that I have become more confident. I learnt the importance of networking and I am now able to create more networks with people across various disciplines. I have learnt to become more of a team worker who considers and respects the skills of others as well as being able to tap into those skills.

The programme helped me to build my confidence, increase my motivation, think outside the box and be creative in problem solving and project management. I feel inspired to continue my professional development, striving for even higher levels of quality in all areas of my work. The programme has also helped me to develop a reading culture and I now use a range of resources to research subjects.

Studying at MBA level

The emphasis of working in groups was the main difference from undergraduate studies - the MBA programme helped me to become a team worker.

Student experience

I enjoyed being taught by lecturers and professors who were kind, friendly and helpful. Further to this, I cherished being in a class of students from almost all corners of the world who brought with them diverse understanding of business and culture.

I also enjoyed being in a city with warm and friendly people. If I had any problems, I did not hesitate to ask the people around me because I found them warm and welcoming. Above all, I found the city to be safe which meant I felt comfortable exploring some areas of the city on my own.

Advice for new students

  1. Don’t underestimate the potential of your fellow students. Every student in your class has something valuable to add to your experience so I encourage you to cooperate with everyone. Working with fellow students can enhance your learning and help to greatly improve your grades.
  2. Hard work pays off and will help you to produce quality pieces of academic work.
  3. Remember to mix work with play. Newcastle is an ideal place for this as it offers a wide range of social amenities in terms of sports, restaurants, bars and attractive places for sight-seeing.


An academic trip to Venice, Italy, where we went to undertake a global project which was focused on conducting a survey, then advising our client in the UK on strategies to be employed in order to introduce their product in Italy. When I came to the UK for my studies, I never imagined that I would have the chance to travel to another country within the EU as part of my academic experience.

My best memory socially was watching a football game at St James’ Park - it was a dream come true! I am a keen follower of the English Premier League and regularly watch the games on TV. I had never imagined that one day I would be part of a live audience watching a game at the stadium in the UK.

My MBA experience in three words

Tough, exciting and enriching.