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Marcus Williams

  • Programme: LBS Sloan Masters
  • Nationality: Australian
  • Job Pre-programme: Strategy Consultant, Reed Online Ltd
  • Job Post-programme: General Manager of Commercial Development, News Life Media division, News Corp Australia

Education and experience

Marcus has a degree in Business Strategy from the University of Melbourne. As General Manager, he is responsible for the strategic planning and insights function, with a specific mandate to identify, evaluate and pursue revenue growth opportunities, primarily in digital media. He joined London Business School’s Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy in January 2011.

Focus on self-development

Sloan reinvigorated me, motivated me and gave me the confidence to take on new and larger challenges. It gave me a better understanding of myself, what’s important to me and what makes me happy – and as a result I am a more effective leader. I’m also more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and I now make choices in all aspects of my life with a better sense of who I am and where I want to be.

In my current role I am better able to engage, communicate and motivate others. From a strategic perspective, I am more bold, and confident that there is more than one way to get results. I now see that as long as you gather the right data, ask the right questions and engage and motivate the right talent anything is possible.

Career acceleration

After eight years working for an Australian start-up, including three years in China and the UK, the financial crisis hit and we closed the UK business. This was my first significant professional set-back and I decided to take a career sabbatical. I was looking for ways I could reflect on and learn from that experience. Sloan offered the ideal programme structure and environment to do this.

Stepping out of my comfort zone into the Sloan programme was profoundly challenging. I was able to test and expose myself to a whole range of diverse people, cultures, subjects and experiences. It was a chance to test, refine and expand my technical business management skills and become a better leader. When I returned to Australia I had the confidence to accelerate my career.

Understanding and working with others

I have worked around the world, but never in such a culturally diverse environment as the Sloan classroom.

Every class and group assignment was an intense exercise in cultural diplomacy. For me, the most challenging and interesting part of the programme was learning to understand each other, find common interests and collaborate. I formed friendships that will last a lifetime.

The faculty were exceptional. Having access to their knowledge, experience and inspiration was incredible.

They had a truly profound influence that I will carry throughout my career and life. They would mix intellect, practicality, humanity and theatre to engage, challenge and ignite debate and ideas. Every day was a new, exciting experience.

Real results

The media industry is undergoing profound change at the moment. I have been part of the leadership team that has undertaken one of the most significant corporate transformation programmes in Australian media history. I am drawing upon all the frameworks and leadership skills I developed on Sloan to help drive this process.

Now that I am better equipped to understand and empathise with those I work with, I think about things from a much broader perspective. Thanks to the Sloan programme, I am a more effective leader and strategist and I’m prepared and ready to face any challenge.