Becoming a Fellow with the Saltire Foundation
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to developing leadership ability in business. Many individuals have vastly different experiences, whether it’s through rigorous higher education, commercial experience from the beginning, or a mixture of the two in various forms. It seems that for those considering how to step up and achieve at a higher level of their career, joining the Saltire Foundation as a Fellow could be a very promising way of making the leap.
The Saltire Foundation is a not for profit organisation, the members of which make it their mission to ignite the careers of the next business leaders of Scotland. Running programmes for both Undergraduate students and those who have already begun their career, they are truly passionate and innovative when it comes to ensuring those who are chosen to be a part of the Foundation are given the opportunity to shine.
There are myriad benefits to becoming a Fellow. The process can really accelerate your career, acting as a fast track to take you from functional to leadership positions. A truly international journey, during the Fellowship participants gain the opportunity to spend 13 weeks at Babson College, Boston, followed by learning trips and commercial projects in the US and China.
The experience is unparalleled, but what truly seems to set the Saltire Foundation Fellowship experience apart is the access to various networks that it provides, as well as the hard and soft skill development, all tailored to the bespoke needs of Scotland, that many employers say are what makes Fellows they have hired stand out. Dr Michael Leek, CEO of TC BioPharm explained that
“For TCB, the value [of having a Saltire Fellow] is having a dedicated strategic thinker as a committed part of the senior management team.”
We asked some of those who have participated in the Fellowship to give us their opinion on the benefits of their experience – maybe their answers will inspire you to spark the next step of your career.
The saltire fellowship gives you a great learning experience and a strong business network. You are surrounded by people who are motivated, ambitious and keen to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. It is well worth it for anyone who wants to take their career to the next level and build high growth companies both in Scotland and globally.
I’m currently with Relaymed, which is a fast growing company, operating in international markets. I have used my Saltire experience to adapt quickly and contribute value to the needs of the company, which at this stage of growth change regularly as we move forward.
I was working in financial services and wanted to transition into a different industry but was finding it difficult to make the transition. I had looked at various MBA programmes but couldn't really justify the expense or the time out of work to complete these. The Saltire fellowship seemed to offer a more rounded programme over a shorter timeframe with the added benefit of placements during the course of it.
The course itself exceeded all expectations; from the quality of the teaching at Babson, to everything I learned from the other fellows on the course with me and the experience of being completely and utterly out of my comfort zone for 8 months.
I have now been working with a spin out company from the University of Strathclyde helping them commercialise a technology that was developed as part of a proof of concept project. This has given me the opportunity to be involved in business planning, 2 rounds of fund raising, travelling throughout Europe and S Africa visiting customers, developing relationships with companies as far afield as Argentina and writing and managing grant applications and grant projects. All of this has given me wide experience in the day to day running of a business and allowed me to put into practice everything that we were taught at Babson.
The Saltire Fellowship has been an extremely interesting journey for me both personally and professionally. From my background as a qualified solicitor the education provided at Babson, in conjunction with interesting and challenging projects in both Scotland and the US, has pushed me outside my comfort zone and given me renewed focus on what I wish to achieve in my career. The Fellowship has inspired me to become more solutions driven in my response to challenges and has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses.
It has allowed me to embrace the strength of my own personal brand and use my interpersonal skills and authenticity to drive results. This year’s cohort of Fellows have opened my eyes to different perspectives and new ways of learning, and I am proud to call these individuals my friends, colleagues and mentors. Above all, the Saltire Fellowship has affirmed my commitment to lifelong learning and development and has given me the confidence, skills and business acumen to be a truly global ambassador for Scottish business.
What steps have you taken to make the leap in your career? Would you consider becoming a Fellow? Leave a comment below to let us know!