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Sonal Sahoo is coming to the end of her Full Time MBA programme (with just the final project to go), here she shares her experiences and one in particular that left a lasting impression and enabled her learning throughout the year:

When asked to write something about my experience as an MBA grad with Strathclyde I thought of writing all that has passed since my joining. It took me days and every minute the confusion grew till I shut down my laptop and went for a coffee with a few of my group members. It was amidst this break and jovial chatter that I realised the thing that had left a mark on my mind, it was our visit to the production facility of Edrington, once a small family business which now is a global scotch giant.  The visit to Edrington facility was one of the best experiences during programme.

The school gave us an opportunity to experience all that goes into making a bottle of scotch. Edrington, one of the leading scotch makers, from Scotland are well known around the world for producing some of the best Scotch whiskies like The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Highland Park. They are also the producer of Caribbean, Brugal gold-rum & Snow Leopard, vodka.

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In this write-up I will try to show practical usage of our syllabi and how it prepares us for the modern business world which is going global. It was amazing to witness the application of the theories taught in the different subjects being used by the management of Edrington to successfully steer the company into the global waters.

In our first semester while learning ‘Exploring International Business Environment (EIBE)’ we came across the issues and the problems faced by the company when trying to expand and enter new countries. We learnt about the ever-changing international environment and how it impacts the marketing and selling of Scotch, particularly in emerging markets and how politics, culture, regulations and tariffs have an impact on the expansion and globalisation of companies. We came across facts like stringent regulations, trade barriers in several countries which make it difficult for whisky companies.

The subject Managing People in Organisations (MPIO)’, taught us about the HR challenges that are associated with a business trying to go global. The guest speakers from Edrington emphasised on the importance of values and developing talent and the practicalities of managing a large and diverse workforce in the operational business.

As part of the ‘Operations Management (OM)’ module, we were invited to visit the Edrington site and got a chance to tour the factory. It gave us a great insight into the whisky production facilities, providing context and a unique insight to how whisky is made and distributed. We were divided into teams of 6 to 8 members and one of the Edrington employees guided us through the factory showing us the whisky production line, whisky storage facilities, packaging etc. We also got an insight into the different bottling designs and the sources.

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We were able to associate the ‘Financial and Management accounting module with the company as we explored the financial challenges involved in managing a whisky production facility in terms of complex inventory and cashflow.

As part of the Marketing Managementmodule, we explored the development and promotion of the Famous Grouse brand globally, from insight, innovation and key trends to marketing communication in today’s varied media environment.

In short the programme at Strathclyde ensures we are prepared to deal with the many facets of the corporate world. We were not just taught theories in classrooms but got practical experience to use in the real world, to deal with real problems and find solutions to them. The trip to Edrington was just one of the number of instances throughout the year that made me feel that my decision of opting for Strathclyde for pursuing an MBA has been correct. It has instilled in me confidence and knowledge that I am sure would stand me in good stead in my future endeavours.