Five Minutes with

Jude Thorpe, Thorpe Molloy McCulloch Recruitment Ltd

Jude Thorpe - Director of the newly rebranded Thorpe Molloy McCulloch Recruitment Ltd - was part of the October 2019 cohort who visited Boston with the Saltire Leaders Programme.

We grabbed 5 minutes to get her thoughts on the cohort, the teaching at Babson College and what it has meant for her business upon returning to Scotland


'Immersing yourself in possibility' is the way we like to describe the cohort experience - how valuable was it to have that time away, totally steeped in the culture and collaborative learning?

JT: Always great to have time away from the business and family 😉

On a serious note, I relished time away from the office in an environment based around entrepreneurial thinking. It allowed me the opportunity to reflect on my business journey to date, to compare issues and learn from others, whether that was in an academic classroom or by sharing anecdotes with other members of the cohort.

The experience also allowed some blue sky thinking, inherent in the American culture and the foundation of Babson as a global entrepreneurship hub.

"Babson was great at challenging my current thinking and ensuring that we avoid complacency..."

The cohort included people from businesses of varying sizes and areas of expertise - from start-ups to multi-generation businesses. How did this affect the group's learning?

JT: I firmly believe that you can always learn from others, and given my profession I thrive on interacting with different personalities from different backgrounds and sectors.

It is crucial to understand new technology and its potential, whether you can harness it in your own business or how it might affect the wider business environment, and reassuring to know that there are some very established, multi million pound companies who also struggle with culture, change management, and generic growth issues.

Who wouldn’t want to spend time with ambitious people, who are open to challenge and change, but humble and keen to learn?

One of the big take-aways from the learning sessions at Babson has been 'Get comfortable with being uncomfortable' - what does that mean to you and your role with Thorpe Molloy McCulloch Ltd?

JT: My motto for myself and the business has always been “feel the fear and do it anyway”. That doesn’t mean that I am reckless, but I try hard not to let feelings of uncertainty stop me from doing something if I know it is the best thing to do.

I recognise that great things can happen when you are working outside your comfort zone and that mindset was helpful during the Babson experience because you are challenged throughout.

The Babson take-away reinforced my sense that it is really important that we avoid complacency, and keep seeking new ways to increase our growth.

"I loved that I was actively learning in an area that I know very well."

How would you describe the teaching at Babson College? Did it offer a more actionable approach than the usual training and development coursework?

JT: I loved the Babson style of teaching, it was case study based and very interactive, so you had to do your homework and form an opinion. Despite working in a sales environment all my career, the sales based session was really useful and involved role play which is undoubtedly the best way to learn.

I loved that I was actively learning in an area that I know very well.

What can a very experienced business leader gain from the Saltire Leadership Programme?

JT: There are always new ideas and fresh perspectives that any business leader can learn from. Personally I am always keen to sign up to continue my own leadership development, to garner new ideas for growth, to experience thought leadership and alternative perspectives, and an added bonus is a warm introduction to the GlobalScot network.


What did you glean from the time out of class visiting major businesses in the Boston area, like Hubspot and Google? Was it helpful to leave the formalised setting of the College and get first-hand experience of entrepreneurial culture in practice?

JT: The company visits were definitely a highlight of the trip, I enjoyed the positive energy and culture demonstrated by both Google and Hubspot, flexible working practices and a breakfast bar that will never be beaten, along with beer and wine on tap in the common kitchen were thought provoking!

For example taking the opportunity to see how other business communicate their values, was great alongside the academic insight.

How was it returning to 'regular work' in Scotland again? Have you been able to take that learning and transfer it to any specific action(s)?

JT: It was exciting to come back to the office feeling re-energised, re-focussed and more ambitious for growth. Within the first couple of weeks we made changes based on Babson learning and are about to embark on a bigger project to apply the Babson methodology and insight to our own internal training and development programmes.

Want to experience the Boston-Babson cohort for yourself and gain the vital insight to help your business succeed? We will be returning to Boston in October 2020.

Find out more about the Babson College modules and apply to join the Saltire Leaders Programme here.