DCU Executive MBA alumnus in profile: Paul Routledge of True North Consultants
Paul Routledge graduated from the DCU Executive MBA in 2018. Formerly Director of Operations at Keelings, Paul has since gone on to establish True North Consultants, providing strategy management consulting services to startups and established players. Here he recalls some of his time on the MBA.
What inspired you to do an MBA?
I was at a point where I had vast experience but wanted to validate this, grow my knowledge of areas outside of my specific experience, the MBA ticked all of these boxes for me.
Why did you choose DCU?
I came in a few times to open evenings, meeting current students and alumni and every one of them exuded enthusiasm along with the realities of how difficult it can be.
I was impressed with the learning spaces and facilities and also the technology to enable remote access to library and learning materials was helpful. On meeting the Programme Director I got a real sense that the program at DCU was much more real world orientated instead of academic alone which also appealed greatly.
How did the MBA change the way you work?
Dramatically, I find myself approaching challenges in a much different space, thinking much more critically and seeking out evidence and research to inform my decisions. I used to sometimes approach certain tasks or challenges with an element of fear of the unknown but working outside of your comfort zone as frequently as you do in the MBA and in a safe space makes you approach these once scary issues with confidence and methods to work it out and show up informed and prepared. There are so many elements I could add but I doubt you’d want to hear them all !
How do you apply the MBA in your role now?
Since completing the MBA I made the leap to go it alone as a freelance Management Consultant. I still read and research the issues and challenges I’m solving for my clients with many of the tools and approaches I learned during the MBA, coupled with my experience I’m finding I’m able to offer ideas and solutions from very different and more objective and creative angles than managers and leaders from within those businesses.
Any advice for someone considering an MBA?
I am married, and have 5 young children so taking on the MBA and needing to study for 20/30 hours a week was tough, I couldn’t have done that without the support of my other half, it’s crucial that they are fully aware of how challenging this can be for them as your away with your head in the study ! You need a good, understanding boss also because the more you can tie your assignments to real work challenges than the better for you and them. I had that engagement from my boss, and they benefited greatly from me working on business challenges throughout. What you put in you will get out but make sure you look after yourself – you need time out, time to exercise and switch off so build that into your schedule. Finally make time to get to know your classmates you can learn so much and make some great friends and advisors that I’m still close to today.
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