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Gary Jeffries, MBA alumnus

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership

“Studying for the Portsmouth MBA was certainly challenging on a number of levels, but what I learned and the different people and ideas I was exposed to at University has been of immense benefit."

Gary Jeffries, chairman of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and managing director of his own professional services company, Hughes Ellard, was awarded an MBA by the University of Portsmouth and has since gone from strength to strength. 

“I studied the MBA part-time, on the executive stream, and my cohort included people who had not been near a university for years but who were, if you like, putting an academic wrapper around many years of cumulated professional experience. And there were others on the cohort who had already studied to Master’s level and had masses of academic qualifications. It was a real mix and because there were students from the business, charity and public sectors, it opened your eyes to the challenges other sectors face. That was one of the most valuable things about studying at Portsmouth.

“Working with clients is what excites me professionally and I really enjoy doing a good job for my clients. The MBA gave me a more rounded understanding of business as a whole and this now underpins much of my client-facing work.”

Gary is one of the founding non-executive directors of Solent LEP when it was established in 2011, and he became chairman 18 months ago.

“At first, people weren’t sure what an LEP was for but then we had the Heseltine report ‘No Stone Unturned’, and this helped put money and influence in the hands of LEPs to shape the economy of their region in a way that will transform the region’s fortunes.

The Solent LEP was awarded £200m government funding to help grow business and enterprise in the region.
“One of the biggest challenges facing us in this region is a lack of skilled workers. Employers and our own research repeat this over and over. This is an urgent challenge for all of us in the region and for those of us working in business and education.

“The region has a good level of people with intermediate-level skills but we lag behind the rest of the south-east in terms of the number of people with higher level skills, such as in engineering and IT. We are working with universities on skills capital programmes and we are working with colleges on developing apprenticeships.

“I wanted to study for my MBA because I thought if I’m going to work at senior management level to help regenerate this region then I want to make sure I’m doing it properly. Before I studied for my MBA, I had very specific skills and education for my role in professional services, but when you step into management you need a different tool set. I estimate I spent 15 hours a week on my studies in addition to working full time and having a family. It’s certainly challenging but learning about best practice in all the different areas of business has proved invaluable.”

For further details about the Portsmouth MBA, contact us on mba.admissions@port.ac.uk