Robert Milagre, Second Scholarship winner, 2008

Robert Milagre

I first heard about the Cranfield Australian Alumni Scholarship (CAAS)in mid-2007, when the first round of emails promotedthe inaugural MBA scholarship. A simple ‘forward email’ from a former boss truly changed the direction my life; I am writing this from Abu Dhabi, UAE! At the time of that fateful email I was working for a large professional services company in Sydney as a ‘Job Manager’, focusing on project delivery in the Built Environment and Sustainability. However, after researching the GMAT, I realized I was going to miss the deadline for entering the inaugural CAAS. Postponing my application to the scholarship ended up working out well, since I started a new role with a NSW government department soon after. This new role allowed me to make my mind up about doing an MBA. It was amazing to me the number of people in senior management roles who had no actual management or business training – I was determined not to ‘fall into’ a management role.

Going through the scholarship process in 2008 was a great experience in itself. Not only did I research the ‘MBA world’ – a whole new world to me – but I also met and talked to a number of Cranfield Alumni. The Alumni I met were great and they had a lot of experience and insights to share. I was also interviewed by executive search firm Egon Zehnder as part of the scholarship process and I was given very useful feedback. A couple of weeks after that, I received a phone call from the then President of the CAAS, Alex Chapman, telling me I had won the scholarship!

My year at Cranfield was a great learning experience, both professionally and personally. My partner Davina and I moved into a tiny studio in Fedden House at Cranfield in late September 2008. We met lots of people from all over the world, which was great – my first learning team was made up of 6 people from 6 different countries! The Cranfield MBA is a very practical and hands-on course and the isolated location was ideal for concentrating on the assignments and group projects. It was also an interesting time to be studying for my MBA since we had the chance to discuss and analyse all the reasons and repercussions of the Global Financial Crisis and the recession that followed.

After finishing the MBA in September 2009, Davina and I returned to Australia where we were married in Sydney in October 2009. Then we had to decide what to do next and so after evaluating our options, I accepted a role with a major contracting group in the Middle East. We are now based in the UAE, where I report to both the group’s COO and the local branch General Manager. The Cranfield MBA has certainly helped me with moving forward in my career. The skills and knowledge I gained during the MBA are very useful in my current role and I now see businesses under a different light.

I’m extremely thankful to the CAAS for providing me with the scholarship and assisting me with such a great year during the Cranfield MBA, and also grateful to Davina for supporting me during our challenging but rewarding year in the English countryside.

Thank you, Robert Milagre, March 2010