I was recently appointed CEO Elect of National Pharmacies. Whilst I already had a general grasp of finance, my day-to-day working life suddenly involved regular financial analysis - interpreting and making management decisions based on company accounts and using financial models to forecast cash flows, profits and business valuations. A much more comprehensive command of finance was necessary, so I decided to look for an executive study programme.
London Business School has a superb reputation for business thinking and is positioned in a leading financial hub. Studying on the other side of the world also gave me an opportunity to network with senior executives from across- different industries and geographies than I would usually come across in Australia.
One of the major things that FSSM gave me was confidence in my own abilities – to ask questions about the accounts, to understand the explanations that followed and to identify financial trends and errors. The course was extremely professional throughout. Faculty delivered detailed content supported by accessible and practical learning materials.
The skills I learnt mean I can now prepare better budgets and forecasts, and I have a deeper understanding of the relationship between risk and return. Perhaps most importantly, after sharing experiences with other participants, I have also realised that many of the business challenges I face at National Pharmacies are the same all over the world.
I took over as CEO right in the middle of forecasting the full year’s sales and profit. The knowledge and insights I gained on FSSM have already enabled me to challenge several key areas of the business. This has been incredibly satisfying, and, I believe, will lead to improvements across the organisation. I also now carry a visual picture of our three financial reports and how they interrelate – the income statement, cash-flow statement and the balance sheet. I consider how business decisions impact on the company’s profitability on a daily basis. De-mystifying the financial accounts is enabling me to unlock the full potential of the business.
National Pharmacies is over 100 years old. As CEO, my responsibility is to ensure it is still operating in another 100 years. On a personal level, I will continue to build on the foundation and confidence that FSSM has given me, whilst developing the sustainability of the organisation through sound financial decision-making. We operate in increasingly uncertain times but long-term, I believe I can secure the future of the business within this challenging environment. London Business School provided me with a stimulating and enjoyable learning experience – it can also lay some claim to any future successes that I achieve.