Kerry Thomas Sullivan: Armenian MBA students are very engaged

05.02.2018 | 09:30 Home / News / Interviews /
#University of Sheffield #Kerry Thomas Sullivan
The interview of Dr Kerry Thomas Sullivan, Senior Lecturer of Corporate Financial Management on the University of Sheffield Executive MBA programme, to Banks.am

- Dr. Sullivan, can you please tell us about your impressions from Armenian students?

- I found the group were very engaged and with a desire to learn. There were some good interactive sessions and a healthy questioning attitude from the group. As ever teaching internationally I was impressed by their command of language and knowledge of global trends.

- Do you think that Armenian students are somehow different from others that you have taught during your career?

- Although over coffee the students explain to me aspects of Armenian culture and they reflect their country of origin, what must be said is they are similar to many others we teach on the MBA all over Europe.

Their viewpoint is global they see where their country fits in a grander scheme where borders especially for trade and commerce are not the barrier they once were. Their outlook like many millennials is international.

- What are the key messages and ideas that you promote among your students?

- That growing a business is rewarding for all stakeholders, economic growth drives a higher quality of life for all. The skills they learn with us on the MBA enable that. As a member of the finance team I emphasize the benefits of generating good cash flows in the business and the sensible use of debt.

- Sometimes people say that small countries like Armenia don’t need that many MBA graduates as the size of the economy can’t “absorb” them. What do you think about such an approach?

- It is a mistake to think that the MBA trains you for a specific role in some corporate entity. What the majority of people on the MBA get is a reflective experience about business it is about driving innovation and growth through economic endeavour.


Many graduates on these programmes go on to develop new business or expand their current business. It is about creating an attitude that promotes progress. So Armenia does not have fixed quota of MBAs to fill but a large space for more to develop.

- What are you general impressions about visiting Armenia and working here? What were your most surprising “discoveries” in Armenia, positive and negative (if any)?

- Visiting Armenia was very interesting sitting as it does on the crossroad of many interacting cultures. Some interesting buildings (particularly for me having worked in the property industry) and I was surprised to see how many international brands had a retail presence here.

Could not quite understand the proliferation of wooden chess sets for sale in the main market -who buys them??

- Your book “Financial Management” had two editions, one of 2006 and another of 2009. The financial world had changed a lot during this time, we see the raise of fintech, crypto currencies, etc. However, which rules and principles of financial management will remain as the basic ones?

- The students often tease me for telling them simple truths but ‘Cash is King’ and in the final analysis unless there is a long term margin in the business then it will fail. That and basic cost control whatever the business, unless you are sensible with your expenses they can come back to haunt you! And finally invest- borrowing can be very effective if it promotes growth (however how to do that sensibly is something you need to come on the MBA to find out).
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