Keeping up with the times: The changing face of the MBA
Nottingham University Business School

The MBA – Master of Business Administration – has come a long way in the past decade. As universities strive to keep up with changing workplace demands, so is the versatile business degree.

One way MBAs are changing is the increase in specialisations. These aim to fill skill gaps and prepare students for an uncertain future of work.

This explains the inclusion of more practical learning opportunities and industry links to provide hands-on experience and soft skills development instead of just theoretical knowledge. 

Founder of admissions consultancy Prep MBA Alex Leventhal told the Financial Times: “Armies need captains and generals, and companies will continue to need flexible, analytically confident, inspiring leaders.”

“Many MBA programmes are getting that they need to diversify away from traditional ‘functional’ learning, which will increasingly become accessible for free over the web, towards ‘experiential’ learning.”

Technology has also disrupted practically every sector in recent years, and business is no exception. With the rise of big data and cloud computing, businesses are looking for those with knowledge in data or digital analytics to turn all the data that’s available today into something of value.

Additional modules illuminating a broader perspective on business are increasingly becoming the norm too. Conversely, there are also more specific MBAs to hone the next generation of leaders, managers or experts in a particular niche such as healthcare, entrepreneurship, or accounting. These are ideal for working professionals who are looking to upskill themselves and gain leadership qualities in their particular field. 

For aspiring students, this evolution and the opportunities it presents means there can hardly be a better time to enrol in an MBA than today. 

Here are four specialised MBA programmes in the UK to apply to that are ahead of the curve:

Nottingham University Business School

This highly-ranked business school offers an Executive MBA Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship, a unique programme that comes with many benefits.

It is flexibly structured, combining intensive study with a demanding career within a three-year part-time structure. Individual modules are holistic, including formal teaching, independent study, group work, revision, assessment preparation and on-the-job learning and development.

A degree apprenticeship officer is on hand for support throughout the end-to-end programme. There is also an assigned academic work-based mentor, personal tutor and academic management project supervisor for each apprentice.

Nottingham University Business School

For this high-level business management course, apprentices will take core subjects on fundamental management disciplines, and consequently apply and integrate them with real business issues. They can also take elective subjects in line with their professional goals, career requirements and individual interests.

In the final year, apprentices take on a company-based project which directly impacts their employer’s business to put their knowledge into practice.

Through this course, students will enhance their knowledge and confidence, evolving into effective leaders in whichever career path they pursue.

Durham University Business School

Besides full-time and online blended MBA programmes, this university also offers the Executive MBA – Durham-EBS programme where students can study with both the Durham University Business School and the European Business School in Germany.

Delivered entirely in English, students can  continue to work full-time while studying. Teaching is delivered once each month in three-day blocks from Thursday to Saturday. 

Out of nine core modules, seven are delivered in Germany and two are delivered in Durham, UK. These include Accounting, Economics for Global Business, Managing People, Sustainability and Ethics, Operations Technology and Strategic Management.

Additionally, students can take three elective modules delivered in either Germany, Durham or another international location, such as Advanced Finance for Business, Business Analytics, Leading Change, Project Management, and Negotiation. 

The programme has a strong international focus, preparing students for global business environments with an International Business in Context elective module. The course culminates in a research-based strategic business project where students can either work with their own company or a host organisation as they examine a specific management issue.

Southampton Business School 

The cutting-edge full-time MBA programme here offers real-world application of business knowledge. It employs a combination of business research, “live” client consultancy, company visits, international study trips and regular exposure to senior business leaders.

Delivered in three stages, the first stage – Mastering Fundamentals – teaches students about fundamental business and management skills. This includes people management, accounting, marketing, operations and corporate finance to understanding the global business environment.

In the second stage, Mastering Complexity, students delve deeper to learn more complex strategy and decision-making skills, as well as business analytics and risk, leadership, sustainability and innovation. 

The final stage, Mastering Business, is where students integrate all the skills they have learned and apply them to real-world business problems as they work in a sector or organisation of their choice. 

Students can also choose from either the Generalist Pathway or tailor their course with optional modules for the Specialist Pathways.

Warwick Business School 

Located at the University of Warwick, this School also offers a number of flexible MBA courses to cater to students’ individual goals and timelines.

The Executive MBA programme allows students to develop strategic leadership skills and international perspectives.

Students interact and network with a diverse group of classmates and can also undertake one international module in locations such as China, Mexico, India or Europe.

Just like a real business environment, students will engage in interactive sessions as they discuss concepts and theories with their peers from diverse business backgrounds and cultures, working together to find new and effective ways to apply to real workplace scenarios. 

During the MBA course and beyond, students will be supported by dedicated career experts. The service is designed for executives – leadership and personal development are the  primary focus areas so students can define their career goals and develop the best strategies for achieving them while studying.

These leading business schools in the UK have dynamic MBA programmes that prepare students to become industry leaders and experts in their respective fields. 

*Some of the Institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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