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Real Humans of the Manchester AMBS MBA Class of 2024

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manchester mba class of 2024Katherine “Katie” Franchois, Manchester AMBS MBA Class of 2024

Age: 31
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: United States Merchant Marine Academy, NY; Logistics and Intermodal Transportation
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 years; Shipping/Crude Oil Transportation in the United States Merchant Marine

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was at a point in my life where I was looking to transition into a shoreside position. Throughout my career, I was in a very niche sector/position and decided that for my career to progress ashore, as well as to brush up on my business knowledge and acumen, an MBA was the best option to kick start my new life and offer a clear path to a new profession. 

Why did you choose Manchester AMBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was very interested in doing my MBA abroad and England was my top choice. By the end of the process, it really came down to the Manchester Method, learning by doing with three “live” consultancy projects. This style of learning perfectly suits me and my need for hands-on learning.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I didn’t come from a traditional business background, so my thinking, problem-solving process, and ideas contrast with my colleagues, maybe more outside the box. I also believe I bring strong leadership qualities to the table from my experience at a military academy as well as working as an officer on ships.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
My parents don’t even know this, but I once narrowly avoided an attempted pirate attack on one of my ships.

Post-MBA career interests:
I have a couple ideas about which direction to head, but I am open to whatever opportunities present themselves over the next eighteen months.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Researching as much as possible about the university, the programme, and the city. 

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would definitely have started the process earlier. I decided to apply to Manchester quite late in the cycle and was part of the last batch to be accepted in July. If I could go back, I would have started right at the beginning of the application process. In the end, I had to defer and had a full year of preparation, so it ended up working out favorably. 

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If I could skip one part it would be the GMAT exam. 

What is your initial impression of the Manchester AMBS students/culture/community?
The community at AMBS is so strong and diverse. American MBA programmes definitely do not have the diversity that we have here at AMBS, so I feel lucky to have the chance to learn from everyone surrounding me.

What is one thing you have learned about Manchester AMBS that has surprised you?
I think the number of quality companies they have structured internships with, there are so many opportunities. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I have not been in an academic environment for over eight years, so I am anxious about re-immersing myself into the university and studying life. Additionally, coming from my background in shipping, I think being thrown into consultancy projects with actual clients makes me nervous. I have a bit of imposter syndrome, wondering whether I belong here, in the business world, producing value for real clients. But I came to Manchester to be exactly in this position and know I will be better off for it.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
First and foremost, I am most excited to become more familiar with the cohort. This group of 99 individuals is incredibly diverse, representing 27 different countries and it has been a privilege getting to know them these last two months.

As anxious as I am for the consultancy projects, I am equally excited to continue with them. The consultancy projects are the cornerstone of the AMBS FT MBA programme and the “Manchester Method,” and I am excited to finish my Not-for-Profit consultancy project and start our Commercial Business Project in several weeks. 

Last, but certainly not least, I am excited to participate at MBAT (MBA sporting tournament) in Paris in the spring! 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the passport renewal process in the United States was severely overrun. Due to the nature of my job and the need to always have my passport with me, I struggled to find the time to renew.  Because of that and the visa requirement for studying abroad in the UK, I was unable to renew it in time to start at the time I was admitted and had to defer a year. I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” because I absolutely adore my classmates in the 2024 cohort.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.