Julia Szczepanski

Kent – United Kingdom
The Kent MBA 2017
(Full-time)

“I believe in ‘paying it forward’ and not only leading by example but through mentoring.” 

I have over 30 years’ experience working within the professional services sector as a legal practitioner as well as in business development, sales and operational roles where I have led cross border projects and commercial initiatives.

I was Managing Director of a global research and asset repatriation company and was responsible for its internal re-structure, quality compliance, operations, financial performance, and the key UK and overseas’ client accounts.

Outside of the legal sector, I was Senior Relationship Manager with Deloitte. I became Publisher and then Group Strategy Director, for one of the leading legal publications, The Lawyer magazine, and its commercial products.

As General Manager at Evalueserve, a global specialist in knowledge management processes, I provided outsourced services, onsite, for a ‘Magic Circle’ and global law firm and was responsible for service innovation, continuous service improvement programmes, product procurement, key stakeholder collaboration, team leadership and development, and control of the information resources budget.

I am passionate about change, learning, innovation and the impact of emerging technologies and ‘fourth industrial revolution’ on society. Currently, I work through my company IntegraKM, with law firms that are implementing major internal changes to ensure that they are ‘fit for business’. I collaborate with C4DR in developing their fourth industry vertical – professional services – in creating awareness of the impact of emerging technologies on law firms today.

I love the theatre, music, and all creative arts – and entertaining my family and friends at my house by the sea.

Experience

I have a passion to learn, and so have experienced several career changes from the practice of law to the business side of the law (business development, and operations) through to being headhunted to a publisher role.
After a lengthy interview process, I was appointed as General Manager of a research and asset repatriation business and was promoted to Managing Director after 12 months. I worked hard to understand the financial KPIs, and to lead in a responsible and inspiring way.

I am particularly proud of the fact that I progressed from a fairly humble, legal apprenticeship start, to leadership positions in challenging roles. My biggest achievement is being informed by past employees that I trained them well and inspired them to do well in their careers. I believe in ‘paying it forward’ and not only leading by example but through mentoring.

My key professional achievements include when my team and I were shortlisted down to the last 25 of 400 global entries, for an innovation award in Evalueserve’s annual global innovation awards 2014. I also obtained perfect marks in my Institute’s part 2 practice paper and won a monetary prize.

Aspirations

I want the accreditation of an MBA in order to widen my choice of roles. potentially, outside of the legal profession. Having come up ‘through the ranks’ I know that training, education, continuous learning and change management are key to creating successful employees.

I aspire to be a role model for women in leadership roles and to encourage talented employees whatever their background, to continue to be curious achieve their goals. Change through technology is going to have an enormous societal impact, and I would like a position in the future, that addresses this impact. I want to be an example of someone who has continued to develop and change notwithstanding age or sex or educational background.

I visited my nephew, who is currently studying here at Kent, and loved the place. I live by the sea in East Kent and as a mature student wanted to continue to live in my house whilst attending the course. I believe environment is very important and I loved the new Sibson building, the green, wooded area, and of course, the Kent MBA course outline. I was very impressed with the programme and its ‘global and local’ nature. I am looking forward to working both with local businesses and to understanding larger global issues.

Of course, the size of the MBA group is important, because I believe it gives individuals the feeling that they will receive a more personalised and focused learning experience. The professors and staff have all consistently, been helpful, and supportive so first impressions were great and encouraging – just what you need as a ‘mature returner to education’.

Advice

I would say go out of your way to become ‘function empathetic’ and by that, I mean, understand how other parts of the business work. Do not work with a ‘silo mentality’ it is important to understand your colleague’s imperatives for doing what they do and how they do it. Collaboration, communication, and innovation will be key attributes in business as it becomes ever more complex.

Always, always continuously improve what you do and how you do it – change within a work environment will only speed up because technology is now driving change, and it’s not going to stop or slow down anytime soon.

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