Andy Josolyne served in the Royal Navy, before moving into the aerospace and defence sector. He then started an MBA at Surrey, which helped him launch a new career in business consulting and data analytics…
European Business Administration
“After my time in the Navy, I entered industry and worked at Bristow Helicopters,” recalls Andy. “I was eventually transferred to one of the divisions of the General Electric Company (GEC) as a project manager.
“GEC had just sacked their commercial director when they had to deliver their five-year plan. They knew I was doing an MBA at Surrey, so they asked me if I’d like to take on this task.
“Like a good MBA student, I asked for the figures from the last five years. I analysed these and realised the profits were in huge decline with each of the product groups at the end of their product life cycles.
“I made two deductions from analysing this data. The first was that the company was in trouble and I needed to look for a new job. The second was that data analysis/visualisation skills were required to complement the MBA’s business principles, and thus equip me with the skills to work in the consultancy field.”
Studying an MBA at Surrey
Andy continues: “The training in the services is extremely good, but I felt disadvantaged not having knowledge of the commercial sector when I went into industry. I wanted to address that and develop my own skills.
“I started my MBA in European Business Administration at Surrey via distance learning in 1993. It was tough doing the necessary studying alongside a full-time job. A group of 14 started the course and only four of us graduated.
“The disadvantage with distance learning at that time was the distance element of it. The internet was in its infancy and there weren’t the type of online support, learning materials and meeting platforms there are today.
“But we were together on certain weekends and this meant you could capitalise on your own management experience and that of everyone else on the course. Where else would you get to meet and exchange experiences with such an amazing group of people?
“It was around this time I realised that the division of GEC was in trouble, so I decided to set up a consulting business utilising the MBA’s business principles knowledge, and develop my data analytics skills. I spoke to one of the tutors on the MBA about this and he offered me a job working for his company.
“As soon as I was made redundant from GEC, I joined him as an associate, alongside building my own consultancy.”
Andy’s ties to Surrey were further strengthened recently when he joined our online platform, SurreyConnects.
“I became interested in mentoring when I was talking to a friend of mine who runs a pub,” he adds. “His son was completing his business degree, but he didn’t know what area to go into. I had a chat with the son and he said he’d like to go into marketing. But he didn’t know in which branch.
“I explained one area that could set him apart from his peers was if he acquired skills in data analytics. I’d been working in that sector for a while by then and I started to mentor him.
“He ended up getting a good job and he paid me a huge compliment by saying, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without your help.” Even better, his dad also buys me beer!”
That led to Andy offering his experience to other graduates on SurreyConnects.
“For me, mentoring is a two-way process. I enjoy sharing knowledge and helping people. It also keeps you on your toes because you may not always know the answer to a question. That forces you to do research and keep your own skills sharp.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of people on SurreyConnects and I helped them where I could. I appreciate it can be daunting for students to reach out to a stranger. But they shouldn’t be afraid. This type of network-building is important if you’re investigating career options.
“I have mainly offered advice on data analytics and visualisation. It remains an exciting and continually growing and evolving field. I’m still doing at least one webinar every week to keep up to speed with the latest developments.
“Platforms like SurreyConnects are important because they allow graduates to secure important industry knowledge. They can utilise this to learn about emerging technologies.
"Networking’s been an important part of my career journey. It’s continually opened doors and never shut them.”