Vanessa Cashmore receiving Student of the Year award

Vanessa Cashmore

Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA, 2017

What were you doing prior to MBA study?

I was Work-based Learning Manager at the National Horseracing College. In my role I was responsible for overseeing the training and assessment of qualifications in racing yards.

Why did you decide to study THIMBA at the University of Liverpool?

I had been considering returning to academic studies for some time and the introduction of the THIMBA course at the University of Liverpool provided a unique opportunity to gain business acumen specifically related to the horseracing industry.

My manager encouraged me to apply and I surprised myself by actually getting a place.

What aspects of the programme did you most enjoy/find most useful?

I had very limited understanding of finance previously but found the lectures in this area fascinating. I really benefited from the assignment, which involved detailed examination of the finances of a real company. The module allowed me to gain a full understanding of the financial arrangements at my organisation and encouraged me to play a greater role in financial decisions

As well as this, prior to the MBA I had very little experience of public speaking and lacked confidence in this area. The structured media training, alongside regular group and individual presentations throughout the course have equipped me with the skills to present to large conferences and deal with media enquiries confidently.

How did you manage to juggle MBA study with work commitments?

I faced a few hurdles during my MBA such as Maternity leave and staff absence within my team that added additional pressure, however, this definitely built my resilience and taught me not to give up.

Organisational skills and planning well ahead are both essential to ensuring you are able to fully focus.

Where are you working now, what is your job title and what does your role entail?

I am Programme Specialist at the NHC where I monitor the quality of training and assessment. I am also involved in strategic decision making around delivery.

Additionally, I am undertaking a PhD at the Management School.

Do you feel the MBA has helped your career progression?

Yes. Not only has the programme enabled me to contribute to a greater degree within my organisation, it has also led to a more collaborative approach to my working practices. Through a deeper understanding of the industry as a whole, and the regular networking opportunities, afforded throughout the MBA, I have developed strong working relationships with a number of organisations, that I had not previously worked with.

The MBA has also enabled me to progress onto a PhD. I have chosen to undertake this at the University of Liverpool due to the strong links between the horseracing industry and University, along with the specialist and subject specific support available within the Management School. My studies have already produced research that has generated widespread interest from the industry and beyond. It is rewarding to know that the work has the potential to have genuine impact on the horseracing industry, through evidence-based decision making.

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