Learning for the 'real world'
Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) justifiably prides itself on developing graduates with a strong sense of self-awareness, entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of how organisations can make a positive impact on society. This ethos is never more evident than in its MBA programme.
According to MBA Director, Dr Amrit Judge: "The curriculum is very applied; it's about applied knowledge and applied learning. We tailor a lot of the materials and learning to individual needs. We have a personal, professional leadership development module that runs through the programme and underpinning everything is sustainability."
Alumna Wendy Furness is an Equine Vet and Partner at Scarsdale Vets, one of the largest providers of veterinary care in the Midlands. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times for a special feature on the definitive guide to top MBA programmes in the UK, Wendy explained how she wanted to leave her comfort zone and the Executive MBA programme at Nottingham provided just the challenge she was looking for: "One of the things I wanted to get out of it was the experiences of people working in environments far from my own."
Fortunately the NUBS MBA has one of the most internationally diverse cohorts found anywhere and among Wendy's classmates were people who run airports in South America and copper mines in Zambia. She has also taken back the specific knowledge gained to the surgery including modules on venture capital and private equity, and change management strategy as well as staples such as economics, marketing, finance and accounting.
"I have invested a lot of time to ensure those skill sets have been developed in the business." commented Wendy.
Enterprise and innovation are also key elements synonymous with the Business School. Through its Haydn Green Institute and Ingenuity Lab, the School has helped more than 2,500 students and alumni to develop their entrepreneurial ambitions by setting up over 160 new and early stage start-ups. Each year it organises 'Ingenuity', one of the UK's largest business innovation competitions that attracts a wide range of entries from the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators to find creative solutions to the issues faced by contemporary society.
An Entrepreneurship module is core to NUBS's MBA programme, even though most students do not think of themselves as aspiring founders. Dr Chris Carter, Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: "Entrepreneurial skills are important if you start a business or work for a business. People think of an entrepreneur as a hero figure like Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs, but it is not about a sole figure, it's a team effort. we help them develop creative problem-solving skills, and de-mystify what it is to be an entrepreneur."
NUBS students are given tasks by external stakeholders such as the City Council, and told to be "radical" in their approach to thinking of a commercial way to tackle the challenges of say, financial vulnerability or food waste.
Although skills such as accounting, finance and strategy are prerequisites, Dr Carter said that just as important as the teaching was the student's class of peers: "As much as I would like to claim that what I'm saying at the front of the room is having an impact, it is their interaction with each other - there is a network element to it."
The network is equally important to those who have already graduated from the MBA programme. It is habitually cited as a key motivation for prospective candidates choosing Nottingham and is seen as one of the main benefits post-graduation. The NUBS alumni community is a powerful and diverse network boasting around 20,000 talented individuals from around the world and all walks of life who have accomplished incredible things in their professional and personal lives. The community enables like-minded people to share ideas, develop their professional network, and inspire future generations.
A version of this article first appeared on July 7 in The Sunday Times special edition 'The MBA List 2019'
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Posted on Wednesday 10th July 2019