The Executive MBA is helping me become the leader I want to be

Diana Staicu at her undergraduate graduation
Diana Staicu
Project Manager, Knight Frank | Executive MBA learner
BA Business Management and Economics with Employment Experience
Diana explains how the EMBA is helping her build knowledge, contacts, and confidence.

The Management School helped me launch my career

My undergraduate degree from the University of Sheffield equipped me with practical skills and knowledge that I apply in my workplace daily. Pursuing a degree in Business Management and Economics helped me learn leadership principles and how to deal with conflict as well as best practice in organisational management and gave me an understanding of the financial aspects of my work. 
As part of my undergraduate degree I have taken the opportunity for a placement year as a Business Analyst (+1-year extension as an IT analyst) and continued with the company part-time during my final year at University. After graduating in 2018, I remained with Vesuvius until 2019 working as a Project Manager and in August 2019 I joined Knight Frank at their headquarters in London for a  Project Manager position, where I am currently still working.

Why an Executive MBA at Sheffield University Management School?

The University of Sheffield is a phenomenal organisation, so it was always on my list when looking for an EMBA. I really enjoyed my undergraduate journey there  and the Triple Crown accreditation held by the Sheffield University Management School was a key factor in my decision to continue my studies here. The staff have been extremely helpful in answering any question regarding combining work and part-time study and the expected programme outcomes.

Balancing full-time work while studying 

I try to distribute work for assignments for the duration of each module and ensure I take into account the workload variations for each week. This can be challenging at times as unexpected critical work situations can arise and that is when assignment work takes over my weekend. It is still very important to recognise the importance of not allowing this to happen on a recurrent basis, allocating personal time is important for building a sustainable work-study balance.

As an aspiring future leader, what made the University of Sheffield EMBA programme stand out to you?

This particular programme stood out to me because I'm in a position where I'm looking at my career trajectory as a leader. The EMBA program will thoroughly bring enlightenment to certain aspects of life, especially concerning operations within the business world and allow for in-depth view of the business and its strategic decisions. I'm increasing my understanding how to leverage leadership theories and build my own leadership capacity as well as managing high performing teams that function well within the ever-changing organisational environment, whilst balancing the needs of different internal and external stakeholders.

How would you describe the academic side of the EMBA?

The academic side of the EMBA is perfectly complementing the practical exercises for each course and provides the foundation for independent research outside of the core learnings. I really enjoy learning new theoretical frameworks which I can implement or adapt to fit my current role.

What is the most important skill that you developed and been able to apply to your job through the EMBA?

The “Operations and continuous improvement” EMBA module provides exposure to effective management of operations and continuous improvement as critical aspects to the success of organisations. I have applied the principles learned in this course for the implementation of a continuous improvement culture within the current company, therefore the learning from this module had immediate and direct application as part of the current role responsibilities and eliminates the need for additional external training in the “Continuous improvement” arena as part of the project’s requirements and cost. 
The “Leading in a complex and changing environment” module provided essential learnings on how to navigate the complex and changing organisational environment and provides practical exercises including in areas such as recruiting, team management and developing a diverse workforce. This module helped me develop an understanding of the most important elements of leadership, including leadership development and team working theories, particularly focusing on ethical and value-driven approaches to leadership and team dynamics.

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.