Bernard Murphy: Why to do an MBA

Tuesday, 13 December 2016  |  Admin

DANCING AT THE FOUNTAIN: CONVERSATIONS WITH WORLD-LEADING HOTELIERS / Conor Kenny

Bernard Murphy, managing director of Gleneagles, Scotland, on why to do an MBA:

I did an MBA around the same time, a three-year part-time course at Strathclyde. I was 33 and Patrick (my boss) asked, “Why do you want to be still sitting in seminars when you’re 36 years old?”. I said, “I haven’t been to university for 10 years now. This is where the future leaders are going to be. They’re all going to have one of these”. Everyone said, “Go for a week to Cranfield” but it’s not the same in my view; you need exams, you need to meet people from different industries.

The MBA taught me ever such a lot. We did statistical process control, quite advanced mathematics and quantitative methods that I hadn’t done since I was in school, and I really found some of that quite tough – but I got through it. Then we got to marketing and HR and all these guys from British Aerospace and wherever were really struggling and I was thinking, “This is just common-sense”.

That was when the penny really dropped. I realised, “This why you do an MBA. So you truly understand what you’re good at, where you are weaker” and that was fabulous, it really was. It was a game-changing experience for me, in terms of light-bulbs coming on and understanding. You think you’re good at numbers because you can hold a P&L the right way up, but it doesn’t make you good at numbers or analysis at all. 

Extracted from DANCING AT THE FOUNTAIN: CONVERSATION WITH WORLD-LEADING HOTELIERS by Conor Kenny.