Published: 12 October 2017


We’ve caught up with Emma Cooper, of research agency System 1, to find out how her new skills have helped in her career, and John Kearon, CEO and Founder of the company, to discover what Emma’s MBA has brought to the organisation.


Why did you choose to study for an MBA at Surrey?

I was looking to do an MBA for three reasons: to update my qualifications and boost my CV, to progress and develop my career and to help my husband with his new business. I was attracted to the Surrey Exec MBA because it ran on the weekends and was advertised as something that would fit well round work and family commitments. I was also lucky enough to secure a Women in Business scholarship which helped with the funding.

How do you plan to implement what you learnt in class at work?

I’ve been implementing it since day one and am continuing to do so in bigger and better ways all the time. Luckily my role as Global Head of Operations at System1 Group gives me plenty of scope to do this.

What is the most useful skill you learned during your time on the MBA course?

I’ve learnt so many skills but over and above the technical skills, I’d say the most useful thing is the mind set it’s given me – that anything is possible, and indeed fun, if you’re willing to put in tonnes of hard work, be prepared to listen to feedback and pivot and work with great people.

What new opportunities have you gained from being at Surrey?

I have made loads of great contacts through the MBA that are bringing me exciting opportunities and I expect this to continue for the rest of my career (as long as I put in the effort to continue to build on the foundation).

What do you find most enjoyable about your line of work and why?

System1 Group is an amazing company to work for – it’s built on a compelling philosophy of System 1 thinking, an inspiring mission to deliver marketing that makes a difference and guarantees profitable growth with zero waste, and we get to work on exciting challenges for amazing clients. I also love the combination of creativity and technology that working in Marketing, Advertising and Research brings.

What aspects of being connected with the MBA alumni network are most important or of most interest to you and why?

I hope to build on the MBA foundation, to continue to learn and build out my network.


How has System 1 benefited from Emma’s experiences on the MBA course?

The MBA helped prepare Emma for joining our Senior Leadership Team and the skills she has learnt and the network she has built is proving to be invaluable in her role leading the operations side of the System1 Group.

What skills in particular are valuable to the organisation?

The full suite of skills is valuable because of Emma’s role and the fact that we’re a relatively small business. Emma is continuing to apply her newly-developed technical skills in different areas, for example most recently with the delivery of new products and development of project management processes. The soft skills she has picked up are also making her a better leader and influencing the people she leads and works with.

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