Just recently, our CEO Mark Thomas successfully graduated from his Goldman Sachs Leadership Course as part of the 10,000 Small Business UK Programme at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
We thought we should pull Mark aside and ask him a few questions about his return to university, seeing as it is such a massive achievement! So, let’s find out more about what Mark got up to during his time on the course…
So Mark, where did you first hear about Goldman Sachs?
I first found out about the course at an Anglian LEP event. I spoke to someone there who had just so happened to recently graduate at Goldman Sachs and highly recommended the course to me.
I was a little cautious at first, but once I had done some research on the course, and knew the benefits it could have on my business, I decided to apply! Out of 2000 applicants, I was one of the lucky few to be approved onto the course, after being grilled by a panel of experienced Growth Coaches in the industry about the nature of my business and the impact me taking the course will have on its future growth.
At first I thought, what am I getting myself into? But, once I started the course and received all my module information, I felt excited.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
Well firstly I loved being in a room full of peers again! I enjoyed writing the assignments and being up til the early hours of the morning. Going out to evening events, drinking and socialising was also top of my list.
As well as the social element, I was also drawn to the inspiring people in my cohort, with different types of businesses, from accountancy, to digital video agencies, interior companies and even a whiskey distillery.
During my time on the course there I attended three residential’s. On the first residential our cohort was taken to stay at Keble college in Oxford, a historical building of great significance, with Harry Potter style dorms!
What did you find most challenging?
I would definitely say finding the time to run a business and committing fully to the course. We would often cram five to six modules in one day, but would be well looked after, it was like going back to school again!
The homework too, meeting assignment deadlines and working through the course materials was quite a challenge.
Is there anything that you took away from the course?
The course has taught me so much about business. It has taught me how to implement a digital marketing strategy, managing cash flow, improving relationships with investors and so on.
I had been wanting to implement a new five year business plan for Coderus, and since finishing the course I now feel in a better position to think about the future.
With a background in engineering, I have always been less confident when it comes to the daily running of a business, writing business plans, dealing with accounts and everything else that comes with it.
This course has provided me with a detailed insight into the world of business and have learned a huge amount about how to make valuable connections with other business owners in my community.
Has it changed your perspective on business?
The course has undoubtedly given me the confidence to drive my business forward and establish valuable new connections with others in the community. It has encouraged me to ask myself, Where do I sit in business in the future? and How can I improve how I run my business to bring in new clients?
I have grown in confidence and met some inspiring business owners and entrepreneurs and made connections for life. I am looking forward to meeting with everyone again and discussing my plans for the business!
Would you recommend the course to others?
Yes, without question. The course is for life. You will make those all-important business connections with others across the country and have a support group to reach out to, if you ever get stuck on what to do.
Being a business owner can be quite a lonely and isolating process. Although you have crowds of people surrounding you, it can be difficult to reach out and ask for help. This course has taught me how to ask for help from others especially when making life-changing business decisions.
I will get a lifetime of online materials too from the Business school which is also a major bonus!
Thanks Mark for taking the time to speak with us, we hope you enjoyed your graduation ceremony and look forward to catching up with you again soon!
Mark (left hand side) at his Goldman Sachs Graduation