Putting my Self-Development Fund to use

Keeley Dunn, Gaming Campaign Planner

When it comes to learning and development, SBG back colleagues. All SBG’ers are given £1,000 each year to spend on learning and development, or as we call it at SBG, our ‘Self-Development Fund’.

Read on to find out how I used my fund in 2021 and plans for this year.


I used my 2021 learning fund on the Mini MBA course in Brand Management. It is run by Mark Ritson who is a Global Brand Consultant and Acclaimed Professor in Marketing. It is a 12 week course built up of 10 weekly modules, and then a practical assessment where you put your learning into building a brand case for a business.


I’ve come from a marketing and brand background, and although this is still very relevant in my current role of Campaign Planner, I wanted to freshen up my knowledge in the brand remit specifically and look at how I could progress my career in this area.

It’s something I am passionate about, and having attended some Mark Ritson webinars previously, this seemed like the perfect fit. He also runs a more generic ‘Mini MBA in Marketing’, but the reason for going down this route was the focus on the end-to-end brand management journey. This one was targeted at ‘marketers with an interest in brand management, as well as brand managers who want to stay ahead’.


There were a variety of subjects across the 10 modules, each an online webinar ranging from 45-90 minutes that you could watch in your own time. Each subject had a practical task to complete following the webinar, that would feed into your final assessment. Subjects covered were brand planning, brand diagnosis and research, brand positioning and architecture through to tactics and execution and managing budgets – so it really was a full end-to-end view of brand management.

Mark Ritson’s style is unique in comparison to other courses I have been on. He has a wealth of experience with different clients, across different countries and with different business sizes. His career highlights are inspiring to listen to, but it is his down-to-earth and realist approach that was the most refreshing for me.

balancING learning and work

I started the course in September 2021 and my final submission date was the 17 December 2021. I was also going through the process of selling my house and moved the same week as the final submission date! It was a lot harder than I expected managing this time with the run-up to Christmas, the house move and day-to-day work, but I just had to be really strict with my time and plan it out as much as I could.

At the beginning, I was doing one webinar each week, outside of work hours. It was heavy on the eyes after a full day working from home, but it felt manageable. Towards the end, I used some of my learning and development time from SBG and booked out half days of my week to complete the practical assignment part of the course. Having this option was a massive help and meant I was able to hit the required dates.

putting the learnings from THE course into practise

Prior to starting the course, I had flagged my interest in brand management at SBG and have previously done some projects with that team, outside of my current role.

A recent opportunity came up in the Gaming Tribe to cover maternity leave within the Brand team. After flagging my interest in this and applying for the role, I have been successful in the application. I will start this secondment as the Gaming Brand Manager in March 2022, which is something I’m really excited about – I think the course has helped me in this application and I am now able to put a lot of my learning into practise and take this into my new role.

Author: Marion Duncan