Meet Martyn Thomas: Specsavers partner and MBA apprentice

Martyn ThomasWe got the chance to speak to Martyn Thomas to get the low down on what an MBA apprenticeship entails. Martyn already had qualified as an optometrist but wanted to further his business knowledge with the MBA apprenticeship. Martyn was already a Specsavers store owner when he started his MBA and found juggling work and study difficult at first but fortunately his partner is also on the programme so they are able to support each other through the course.

We asked what his future plans are after completing the MBA Apprenticeship –

“I hope that in the future I can use what I have learned on the MBA Apprenticeship in a Group consultancy-type role.  I don’t know what that might be but I like supporting other Partners and would like to help others in their businesses.  Doing the qualification has already opened up a number of different opportunities – I’m a Regional Chair and part of the ‘trailblazer’ group for the Optom Apprenticeship as well as a mentor.  I wouldn’t want to give up my business but equally I feel that I have a lot to offer and don’t see myself simply going back into store and testing eyes all day!”

An MBA apprenticeship is ideal for someone with an optical background who is ready to take on a store of their own and wants to have more knowledge on the business side of a Specsavers store. In your MBA apprenticeship you’ll get the chance to study topics such as organisational strategy, financial performance and leading complex organisations. All key areas for a partner. We asked Martyn if he would recommend the programme to other partners –

“Yes, definitely.  It gives you a much more rounded view of the business and helps you to analyse and reflect on the things that you are doing and why.  That focus on business performance hopefully then leads to increased profitability.”

The course is delivered through days at a university as well as virtual training sessions that you can complete throughout your time on the apprenticeship, Martyn’s top advice is to

“Make sure that you allocate the 20% of OTJ learning associated with the apprenticeship to do the study.  Keep on top of the work – once you get behind it’s very difficult to catch up.”

And finally, we asked what do you see as the biggest personal benefit or change since starting this programme?

“I am much more likely now to make business decisions based on ‘head’ and knowledge and facts rather than ‘heart’.  It’s good to have a more rounded view and see where it fits with the strategy.”

Watch film