An entrepreneurial approach to learning saw Strathclyde Business School (SBS) named Business School of the Year in the Times Higher Education 2016 awards in November.
Its overall ‘outstanding’ performance wowed the judges; but it’s the opportunities it offers to its students and to some of the most forward-thinking companies in Britain that are making it stand out from the rest in 2017.
Strathclyde is renowned as a pioneering institution with useful learning at its heart – its founder Professor John Anderson left instructions in his will for ‘a place of useful learning’ to be established in the city.
That ethos continues to this day with business experience and industry relevance at the heart of Business School programmes, from undergraduate through to Masters level degrees.
One example is Marketing Works. This is an integral part of the trio of Masters Marketing programmes – MSc Marketing, MSc International Marketing and MSc Tourism Marketing Management – which all benefit from taking part in the Marketing Works project. This provides students with a challenging organisation-based ‘learning in action’ opportunity to advise a company on a marketing issue, with clients benefitting from the student insights which are backed up by expert academics.
The Consulting in Practice module is an important part of the MSc in Project Management and Innovation, a programme which provides students with the skills required for managing projects conceived to bring about change and innovation in an organisation. The module involves students working on a live issue for a client organisation and, as with Marketing Works, there are benefits to both sides.
The Business School’s flagship programme – the MBA – provides opportunities throughout for students to get involved through industry engagement. The Strathclyde MBA project gives students the opportunity to examine in depth a managerial, organisational or environmental issue over a two month period. Students analyse and research a strategic work issue, often based within an organisation. The businesses involved are getting the benefit of the experienced MBA students at no or very little costs to the business and ending up with a practical, creative and innovative solution to their business project or issue. Businesses can be assured that students on the MBA programme are high calibre students from around the world who have sufficient managerial experience and relevant qualifications to make a positive difference to their business.
MBA students also take part in an intensive Strategic Consulting in Practice module. With this, the students address a strategic issue provided by a client organisation, delivering a presentation outlining the options they have come up with as the most fitting for the organisation. To date, clients have been very impressed with the quality and diversity of the solutions developed.
Previous projects have included a company looking for strategic options to leverage its debt and provide strategic direction for the future to retain its marketing position, and exploration of a restructuring strategy for a new collaborative partnership.
The MBA programme can be studied full-time but part time and flexible learning options mean there’s no need to take a career break - MBA learning can be fed back in to their work on a day by day basis. New ways of working benefit both the MBA student and the employer.
Internships, guest speakers, consultancy projects and workshops are some of the ways in which business engages with the Business School’s students, as well as partnering with SBS on executive education programmes such as the BIG Academy with Babcock and MBA25 with William Grant & Sons. SBS academics carry out research and consultancy work for different business sectors and the Business Schools specialist research centres – such as the Fraser of Allander Institute and the Scottish Centre for Employment Research are at the heart of this business engagement.
Jenny McGeough is a graduate of the MBA programme, but is now seeing the benefits from the other side. Now supply chain director of Weir Minerals, she said: “A few years down the line, as director of supply chain, I identified several project opportunities that my team did not have the time or the skill set to undertake.
“Having reached out to the Business School I have been fortunate enough to engage with several professional individuals with time and motivation to review and develop solutions for my business challenges. The students have had the chance for real world consultancy experience and I’m delighted with the support and conclusions provided.”