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Matty Dixon (MBA2019)

By Noel Armstrong

Matty Dixon co-chaired the student organising committee for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW). We found out about what brought him to the School, his role on the events committee, his recent TEDxLBS talk and more…

Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to London Business School

I was working in oil and gas having come up through mechanical engineering into more management-based positions and being honest didn’t think it was the sector for me anymore. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life and where I really wanted my career to move to and so looked into using an MBA to try and change career paths and utilise my past experiences as best I could. It was this or becoming a lifelong ski bum…

When looking to apply I realised I wanted to attend a top tier MBA programme which also included a high level of diversity. This brought me quickly to London Business School. I was delighted to have been accepted and have enjoyed learning from others on the course as much as I have from the faculty. It really has been a couple years of learning from so many other perspectives and experiences. This has been invaluable along with the network which you build.

You recently co-chaired the committee organising the MHAW events at the School. What were you looking to achieve and what were your highlights from the week?

Sarah Bertram and Josefina Haque ran the first MHAW at the School between them and achieved so much. At the same time, I had joined the men’s rugby team and spoken to a fair few members who had struggled or do. With this I thought that there might be a way to combine the two.

When I was elected as co-captain I organised for Men’s Rugby to take ownership of MHAW with the understanding that Sarah and I would lead what would be a student and School-wide initiative.

The hope was that the rugby club would give the week somewhere to belong in the long term to create a sustainable event. Also, I think having one of the larger inclusive clubs stand up and say that this is important to them helps change perspectives on mental ill health.

I am so proud of all of the volunteers who put in so much to make it a success, and one which I hope to see grow year-on-year. One personal highlight for me was hosting the professional sports panel which saw Jason Leonard OBE, Mike Yardy and Andy Baddeley come in and talk about their experiences of mental ill health, leadership and how to cope with the highs and lows of life.

The other one (beyond the incredible closing celebration) was the LGBTQI+ panel which I thought was a brutally honest and raw discussion into aspects that I had no idea about. The whole week was amazing, I was just sad I didn’t get to attend everything or convince more of the school to! I think this shows there is still more growth to be achieved…

You also gave a talk at the recent TEDxLBS event in London. What did your presentation cover and how did you find the experience?

I tried my best to talk about my experiences of living with depression and explain why I do what I do.

My organising rep Margo Bykov did a fantastic job of supporting me through it all so everything was very straightforward for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better rep as, although I am fairly open on having depression, I don’t find it easy to talk about. At least in that much detail.

I was delighted not to fall over or accidentally swear, since I understand I should soon be loaded up onto YouTube, which is terrifying. I think the talk went ok, although I think it is best people make up their own minds. For me personally I am still nervous about friends and family seeing it, especially those who have no idea of which there are probably more than not.

I owe one apology though; after I spoke, I ran away to Hyde Park and a lovely girl came over to say she had just seen me talk and the only thing I could muster was a grunt - I am not sure who you are but sorry!

If you could go back and relive you best day at LBS, what would you be doing?

I think it would be leading the rugby club on the field to win the MBA Rugby World Cup back in April. That Sunday brought together so many things and it all finally clicked on that last day, my counterpart, Alex Bate, and I, as the captains, had worked pretty hard all year to implement. I am pretty sure I even saw a decent line out lift as he was hoisted into the air during the celebrations. Seeing the joy as the hard work, sacrifice and physical commitment came together will stay with me for a while. Especially when you consider in the team which won were players who had not played rugby until joining the MBA program.

A big thank you has to go out to both the Women’s Touch Rugby Club and all the boys who we didn’t get on the pitch for the final. I honestly don’t think we would have performed as well without their support on the sidelines and support in training all week. It was nice to see the school truly come together and I am fairly chuffed to say I was a part of it.

Finally, what do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?

Five years… hopefully, I will have avoided any more injuries, still be skiing and riding bikes, replaced my stolen motorcycle, lost the beer belly I have gained whilst at LBS and will have found a job near mountains which I enjoy getting up to go to since that was the purpose of the MBA!

I am not sure I can really say a correct answer to this as I honestly struggle to see much for myself but I do have hopes as mentioned and some others. One thing I will commit to though is that within the next five years I will own a Husky or a Malamute and he will be called Thor.