Adam Tkacz is used to airport lounges and hotel lobbies. With a job that takes him around the world logistical challenges do not faze him. So while his career develops on a healthy trajectory upwards, why did he decide study the Master of Business Administration programme with the University of Liverpool Online?
As his company’s most senior sales and business development employee, Adam Tkacz racks up tens of thousands of air miles selling valves and fittings for natural gas pipelines in the downstream sector. He grew up in Sheffield, England and today his job sees him travelling to all corners of the world, from the UAE and Iran through to Hong Kong, Singapore or Canada.
Adam says a key part of his success to date has come from setting specific goals and then working tirelessly to achieve them. So when he decided to study for an online MBA with the University of Liverpool, he applied the same approach.
He knew completing an online MBA would be a challenge, but recognised he had youthful energy and few other commitments. “I don’t have a family. I don’t have anything that requires any special attention, apart from me. I thought ‘the sooner the better’, before anything changed.”
Adam did not want to take a year off work to study full-time, so an online course with a Russell Group university had instant appeal. Having previously studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool, he knew the University’s global reputation and rigorous academic programmes would be an asset, and as a Liverpool graduate, he was eligible for a discount on the tuition fees for his online course.
“There was never any doubt from my perspective that Liverpool would be an excellent, highly reputable choice,” he recalls.
The final factor in Adam’s thinking was his determination to complete his MBA before he turned 30 – giving him a clear deadline to get started. “I wanted to get the MBA early, and I was fortunate that I could work with an institution that could facilitate that.”
“I don’t think it should particularly matter too much how old you are, if you’ve got the competency to do it. If there’s an appetite to learn and to follow an academic course rather than just attend a few leadership seminars, then age shouldn’t be a barrier,” he says.
The decision to study an online MBA with the University of Liverpool Online has paid significant dividends for Adam, who points to the ability to interact with a global network of students from a diverse range of different professional backgrounds as a key benefit of his online master’s programme.
“It was fantastic to talk about management theory with people who are actually doing it, rather than just studying it. There were people from the hotel industry, mining industry and a range of others – and you start to understand that you’re not alone, and that everybody faces similar problems and experiences,” he says.
There were other benefits, too. The ‘Accountancy for Managers’ module has boosted his confidence and understanding of balance sheets – a skill he’s been able to take into his own career. “You can interrogate figures better,” he says. “That’s really useful because that’s something you can apply constantly. You can look at different business propositions and evaluate them meaningfully.”
He also found his research skills and critical thinking improved thanks to his studies. “Being able to quickly research and understand topics is definitely helpful. It enables you to make more robust decisions, by being able to back up your opinions with credible evidence.”
With his MBA secured, Adam is already looking to the future. “Senior management is the short-term goal,” he says.
“Beyond that, the long-term goal is to set up something on my own. I want to be the guy running the business, rather than the guy working for the business.”
He adds: “The big challenge I’ve always had, in terms of seniority, is my age. People will say ‘you’re so young, what do you know?’ Now I have an MBA, they can see that maybe I do know something!”