Coupled with a robust curriculum and culturally diverse student cohort, the ESSEC EMBA gave Mr Derek Murray a deeper appreciation of geopolitical and business issues in the region
By Marianne Tan
Aug 8, 2022
During heavy monsoon seasons in Bangkok, heavy flooding is a common occurrence, damaging properties and disrupting livelihoods.
In 2021, Global Future Cities Programme, together with engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, provided capacity building services and implemented a decision support system to help the local government use data to better predict and respond to the impact of heavy rainfall and resulting urban flood events.
Advising on the implementation of such highly sophisticated systems is part and parcel of Mr Derek Murray’s job as the digital advisory lead at Mott MacDonald.
“I’ve worked with local and national governments on how they can transform infrastructure by incorporating new ways of working supported by technology, and advised clients on getting more from their data – with the aim of bettering the lives of local communities,” he explains.
Even with 25 years’ experience in engineering and consulting, Mr Murray still saw the need to continuously upskill and be updated with the latest business skills and market information. He finds that the new knowledge supports his work in a business function and team he recently established.
In 2021, he enrolled in the ESSEC and Mannheim Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA), a one-and- a-half year programme that aims to provide senior executives with start-up skills, innovative business practices and a view of sustainable practices. His studies were partially funded by Mott MacDonald’s scholarship fund.
Thanks to the programme’s robust curriculum, Mr Murray was able to apply his learnings to his day job even before completing the course. At that time, his team was expanding its offerings for the Asean and East Asian markets.
“I’ve gained a much better appreciation of the geopolitical and business issues across Asia,” says the 46-year-old.
“For example, the research I undertook for a macro-economics essay helped build my knowledge of the Asean economy and how smart infrastructure could play a part in addressing the infrastructure investment gap in the region – topics which have massively helped improve my client engagement and how my team delivers its projects.”
He also appreciates the small class size, which enabled the professors to take “a boutique delivery approach” with the curriculum. Having 16 nationalities across the cohort of 25 students also ensures “depth of networking, with diversity at its core”.
To fellow senior executives looking to upskill or reskill themselves, he has this piece of advice: “Each one of us is motivated to do something new – upskilling and reskilling is one part of that, but I think it’s also about freeing up your current thinking to experience different things”
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