Recent Executive MBA (EMBA) graduate Sarah-Jane Thurman has joined the world of academic publishing, following a varied career within BT Group.
After five years working within BT Group, Sarah-Jane has joined academic publisher Cambridge University Press as a Finance Director. She will help to drive the strategic direction of the organisation and provide financial insight to inform future commercial opportunities.
“I was approached about this role during time at Cambridge”, says Sarah-Jane. “I knew that the Press had ambitious growth targets and was transforming itself in the digital space, so thought it would be an excellent challenge”.
Moving from telecoms to publishing
Making the transition across industry sectors, particularly ones as diverse as telecommunications and publishing, is an opportunity for Sarah-Jane to make an impact beyond the UK.
“My roles within BT Group were varied. I supported the delivery of broadband fibre across the UK, led national investment cases for new technologies and won national and European funding to support connectivity in rural, non-commercial areas. I later spent my final year with BT as the Financial Controller for Plusnet.”
“The biggest change working at the Press will be the international experience. Unlike BT, the Press is a worldwide operation, the key drivers and challenges of the business are very different and it’s essential to understand how these translate into financial performance to drive growth.”
Studying for an Executive MBA
Sarah-Jane was looking for her next career challenge when she joined the Cambridge Executive MBA programme in September 2016.
“I’m committed to working in finance, but felt I was missing a wider skillset that could add value to financial delivery, wherever it was I worked. The syllabus was varied, covering ‘soft’ leadership skills as well as key business areas. The experience not only gave me a broader understanding, but gave me the tools to apply what I learnt at work.”
With a new career path and a new qualification, what does Sarah-Jane’s future professional path look like?
“I want to apply the skills I’ve learnt to make a difference to people’s lives, particularly those less fortunate. This could be achieved through working somewhere like the Press who invest their profits into charitable causes, or a business that has social impact. I’m also keen to expand my experience into non-executive roles.”