Many leading academics and senior company executives abide by the mantra that you never stop learning. There is a certainly a strong belief in the business community that investment in learning leads to success. This could be one of the reasons why some of the world’s most prestigious business courses, such as Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme, has such a high calibre of candidates and can command fees of more than £50,000 for an eight-week course.
Those alumni whose careers have catapulted since attending the course would undoubtedly testify that it was one of the most worthwhile investments in their employment history. The September 2015 intake for the renowned Harvard course includes two Liverymen, who were recently awarded bursaries to attend by the Worshipful Company of Marketors. The city livery company, which promotes marketing as a force for economic and public benefit by encouraging excellence it its education and practice, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and marked the occasion year by launching its first bursary sponsorship.
The aim of the new bursaries, sponsored by Court Assistant Emeritus Professor Martyn Davis, and administered through the Marketors’ Trust, was to provide a life-changing opportunity for their Liverymen to attend the globally renowned programme. Sponsoring the bursary was a long-held dream, the origin of which was germinated when Martyn himself went to Harvard in 1961 at the age of 31. Having received a US State Department foreign specialist award to study international marketing there, he toured many major companies throughout the USA and came back from the experience a changed man.
Andrew Marsden (pictured) Master, The Marketors said: “The bursary really underpins one of our main goals, which is to use the experience and knowledge that we’ve gained over the years to help fellow professionals and the industry in general. We felt it was a very fitting way to mark four decades in the industry and celebrate our landmark year.”
The Marketors’ Harvard Business School bursary was originally only going to be awarded to one liveryman, however the Livery were so impressed with the standard of applications received, it decided to choose two. Marsden continued: “The candidates we selected are from different backgrounds and at different stages in their careers and made a fantastic impression on both the panels of interviewers, and the admission director from Harvard.”
The Professor Martin Davis endowment was awarded to Lesley Wilson, Head of Marketing Profession, BT, and Tom Tuke-Hastings, Partner and Head of Co-Creation at Instinctif Partners. Both candidates will attend the next programme commencing in September 2015 and were officially awarded the bursaries at The Marketors’ 40th anniversary celebration event in London last month.
Lesley Wilson has been a Marketor for four years and is a Court Assistant and Chair of Membership. Her current role at BT saw her launch the company’s Marketing Academy, which created a professional career framework for the 600 plus marketers within the organisation. During the time Lesley was preparing for the launch of the Marketing Academy, she started to reflect on her own personal learning and development “I’m a great believer that life and careers are a continual learning process and I am very supportive of the concept of people been given opportunities to boost their learning at any point in their career,” explains Lesley. “When the Marketors announced the Harvard Bursary, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity, as the programme fitted perfectly with my own aspirations – and people like me looking to make the next leap in their career path.”
Tom Tuke-Hastings, the Liveryman who received the second special anniversary-funded bursary was originally put forward to the shortlist for interview as a wildcard candidate, as his age and the company he founded, the international business communications consultancy Instinctif Partners, differed to the standard type of entrant on the programme.
Tom had first been made aware of the opportunity a couple of years ago, while talking to Professor Martyn Davis at one of the company dinners. He said: “He was discussing his plans to endow the scholarship and talked about how Harvard had changed his life. The bursary will certainly have a profound impact on me both professionally and personally. Having come from an entrepreneurial background, this type of advanced management education is very expensive, and is not the sort of investment that I would be likely to receive, it will totally change the trajectory of my business life.”
The aim of any type of educational scholarship is to reward exceptional talent and offer ‘out of reach’ opportunities to those individuals. Bursaries for programmes such as The Harvard Business Schools Advanced Management Programme perhaps offer the ultimate standard in senior level education, helping candidates accelerate their careers, and transforming proven executives into exceptional leaders.