04 Jun 2009

The Open University Business School announces its 20,000th MBA graduate

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Dr Chris Martin, Associate Director Strategic Alliances of international pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, has become The Open University Business School’s 20,000th MBA graduate.

Chris combined the pressures of a full-time senior managerial position with part-time study to earn his Master of Business in Administration. In the process Chris has become the 20,000th MBA member of the Business School's alumni community, whose 50,000 members are spread across the world in more than 100 countries.

Professor James Fleck, Dean of the Business School, said: “As well as celebrating our 20,000th MBA student this year we are also marking the Business School’s 25th anniversary. Since the School’s launch we’ve been at the leading edge of management education helping middle and senior-level managers fulfill their potential.

Chris said: “The MBA requires that you get real management experience through company projects. This fitted in with an assignment I was working on, assessing the business case for a laboratory based outside of Mumbai, India.

“Throughout the three years of study, I really challenged my way of thinking. The course gave me new ideas that I could feed into my daily work, as well as developing me as a person and as a manager.”

Chris’s present role as Associate Director in Strategic Alliances is part of Pfizer’s core business development and provides business support to the company’s Research Units when working with external partners to create intellectual property.

“We’re the link between the scientists, the business side of the company and Pfizer’s partners,” says Chris. “We project manage and translate between each stakeholder, so that we can reach an understanding that enables projects to move forward. My work is very busy but varied and I’m currently working on 40 different projects which means I have to be incredibly efficient. It is also satisfying to be part of a company which creates medicines to prevent and treat the world's most serious diseases.”

In the long term, Chris would like to continue his work at Pfizer, enjoying the challenge of his work and a healthy work-life balance now that MBA study is behind him.

Chris’s early career began after gaining a degree and PhD in Chemistry at Loughborough University. He got his first job as a Scientist with AstraZeneca looking at drug metabolism and in 1999 moved to Pfizer in Kent, working in various scientific roles for five years. It was at this time that Chris realised he enjoyed the project management and people side of his work more than the ‘deep science’, and during a restructuring within the company he seized the opportunity to take up a business role. This new job gave Chris both the desire and impetus to get a broader education qualification in business, and after initially completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration with The Open University Business School, he decided that their practice-based MBA would be a perfect fit with his lifestyle and new responsibility.

Notes to Editor:
About The Open University Business School
The Open University Business School was founded in 1983 and is now the largest organisation in the distance-learning market. It offers a broad spectrum of qualifications, with courses ranging from undergraduate certificates, foundation and honours degrees to the well-established MBA programme, which is accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB. Courses employ a blend of learning methods including study books, e-mail discussion, internet resources, DVDs, face-to-face and online tutorials and residential schools.

The Open University Business School’s alumni include Bart Knols, AMBA student of the year 2007; Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge; Lieutenant Commander Phil Parvin of the Royal Navy, who was AMBA student of the year in 2002; Maggie Miller, chief information officer of the Warner Music Group.

Companies sponsor more than 45% of the students on its courses, and more than two-thirds of FTSE 100 companies sponsor members of staff. Clients include Rolls-Royce, Pfizer and the NHS.

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