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Published: 12 November 2015

Leading professionals share business experiences

MBA alumni are invited to a series of business breakfasts at the Surrey campus to hear the experiences of fellow graduates and industry professionals, and the chance to network and meet current students.

Our October event featured alumnus John Bigos who credits his MBA for changing his business perspective – he left his career as a successful director at an architectural practice to take over London Duck Tours.

John embarked on his MBA at Surrey Business School in the mid-90s and went on to buy out other shareholders in the city’s amphibious tour company. Reflecting on his time at Surrey and the skills he learnt, John described how the core values of his MBA helped him grow and develop the business and, more importantly, deal with the challenges that the company has faced in recent years.

In 2013 London Duck Tours was struck by disaster as one of its amphibious vehicles caught fire on the Thames, leading to a rescue by emergency services (no serious injuries were suffered), and an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the London Fire Brigade. During the time that followed the company implemented new safety precautions and began to repair the damage the incident caused to its reputation.

John shared his insight on how maintaining a “balanced approach”, recognising that “cash is King” and reacting quickly to the signs of a crisis has helped to make London Duck Tours a stronger business.

“An MBA teaches you to take things in a calm and measured way. It also gives you the confidence to deal with challenges and not be overawed or depressed by them. I knew that if I stuck to the core set of values I had learnt, the company would be restored to good health.”

Our 20 November speaker is ebay’s Rafael Orta, Vice-President, Global Marketing Operations at ebay, who is responsible for the delivery of digital marketing across email, onsite and display channels globally.

In December we will welcome MBA graduates Andy Berry, Chief Executive of Touraid, and Sarah de Carvalho MBE, Chief Executive and founder of Happy Child International, who will talk about leading voluntary sector organisations and the specific impacts their charities make.

The business breakfasts are held on the third Friday of every month, from 8.30-10am. If you would like to attend, please contact Deirdre Richardson on d.richardson@surrey.ac.uk.

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