Emma Marlow - Managing Director - Hearts and Minds Ltd. (Pandora) (Scholarship)

Emma Marlow - Managing Director - Hearts and Minds UK Ltd - OSS Masters

I heard about the Masters programme after attending the Academy. It was a fantastic experience and really helped bring out many skills I had overlooked that are integral to the successful management of my business. The Masters was the next natural step. The opportunity to attend the Masters on a scholarship was a no brain-er. As an independent retailer I have to justify the cost and time out of the company, and the benefits of attending on a scholarship really help put any doubts to rest.

My objectives were to gain confidence, broaden my knowledge of the current global retail sector and network with like minded retailers. The programme really helped me achieve these objectives. It took me out of my comfort zone but allowed me to analyse other successful businesses and areas of retail that I don’t come up against in the ordinary day-to-day. The guest speakers were extremely influential and incredibly well rounded in their scope of retail and fantastic in how they imparted their knowledge to the group. I genuinely enjoyed every aspect of the programme, each section was interesting and allowed me to build insights to take back to my company.The scholarship had a very easy application process and the team at OSS were there to help me out with any questions I had along the way. The conference call helped as made it easier to fit into my schedule.

I quickly found out from networking with other retailers, a lot of my challenges were their challenges, and vice-versa. Similarly with opportunities. Just having another person to share a common ground was fantastic and I’ve built up a network of peers I can go to now the School has finished. But it’s not just about the people. We covered some excellent theory and technical areas. The finance day really helped me get to grips with some important information.

I would endorse the program purely because even when you think you've got it all figured out, there is always another opinion, another experience, another lesson learnt that you can apply to your own knowledge and create a whole new way of thinking. Applying for the scholarship was the best thing I ever did because I had absolutely nothing to lose. Working within a start- up company, just because I don’t  have the budget, doesn't mean that I can’t still learn and the scholarship gave me the opportunity to work with larger retailers and more experienced people to take back to my day-to-day.

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