An Msc Success Story: Lee Bibby

Held in association with Lancaster University, this master’s degree is designed to prepare the next generation of industry leaders.

MBDA Missile Systems manager Lee Bibby is one outstanding recipient of our Manufacturing Leadership MSc, having graduated with a distinction in 2017. Enrolling for the qualification proved to be one of the best decisions Lee ever made. Here, he reflects on the experience.

How were you introduced to The Manufacturing Institute?

It was after a lot of research that I found the organisation online. I started an apprenticeship at aged 16. I’d always wanted to get a degree, and there was no guarantee I was going to get one with this on-the-job training.

So, when I finished my apprenticeship, I chose to look for a manufacturing degree myself. After a bit of looking around, I found The Manufacturing Institute’s MSc. It was a perfect fit.

What inspired you to take the MSc?

After completing my Higher National Diploma in Electronic Engineering, the next step is ordinarily a bachelor’s degree, but this leadership course at The Manufacturing Institute was a level higher.

I never thought I’d do a master’s-level degree. I wasn’t sure whether it would be too big a step, but Lancaster University asked me to write a mock paper and put me through an interview to see whether I was suited to it.

My qualifications at this point were very technically-based as opposed to academic, so I always knew it was going to be a huge challenge. But I did what I needed to do and thankfully I was accepted onto the course.

Tell us about your experience on the programme

It was a great experience, and I do actually miss many parts of the course – including the reading, which I was surprised about as I’m not a big reader in my spare time!

All my lecturers across the six modules were awesome, and I loved how I learned just as much from my classmates as well as through teaching. We had a close cohort of students on the course that didn’t change, and they were all from different business backgrounds who had something unique to bring to the table.

My favourite aspect of the course was being able to discuss manufacturing work challenges with others and talk about potential solutions.

Were there any key milestones or achievements?

The course took place over a period of two years on a part-time basis, with eight months of dissertation writing at the end. During that time, I did a lot of different projects and research, but there were a few things that really stand out.

One of the modules I found particularly difficult was on global markets, and I had to study really hard to get my head around it. I ended up getting a mark of 76, which I was absolutely over the moon with. This was a topic I hadn’t known much about beforehand, so to get such a high mark was incredible.

Another standout experience was our visit to the Airbus facility, where we were taken around and shown how all the processes and schemes worked. I picked up a lot during that trip that I could take back to the business I work for now.

And lastly, finishing my dissertation was a big highlight. It was one of the largest pieces of work I’d ever done, and I was proud to complete it.

How has it equipped you in your role at MBDA?

I find that I’m always referring back to the skills and ideas I picked up on my course.

The broad spectrum of skills I’ve learned about finance, leadership and World Class Manufacturing have helped me considerably in my current management role.

How are you furthering your development now?

I’ve actually worked on a paper with one of my MSc lecturers, Dr Benjamin Dehe. It was based on my dissertation, which talked about the design of an assessment model used to measure the level of implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies within an organisation. The paper has just been accepted and should be published soon.

The whole experience of the course was immensely enjoyable – I got so much out of it. It’s definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to become a manufacturing leader.