How did you come to decide to be an MBA Director? Can you please tell us about your journey?
I always combined my own education with work (even as an undergrad with a Wednesday internship throughout my degree). To pay for my Masters degree I worked as a tutor for CIM qualifications and loved the teaching and working with marketing practitioners. I returned to teaching when I had my first son. Initially I taught CIM professional qualifications and before long went on to teach 16-18 year olds right through to postgraduate-level.
I was then drawn into educational publishing and designing distance learning masters programmes which took me to many parts of the world. My ‘career’ has been varied but the elements I loved always seemed to be linked to teaching and working with professionals, professional bodies and taking a holistic view of business.
Set against this context it was pretty much inevitable that the MBA would become the programme I would be drawn to. I was very fortunate that not long after joining Oxford Brookes as a module leader ( a marketing and operations module) I was asked to lead the Global MBA. At that time lots of friends and colleagues advised me that managing the MBA was a bit of a poisoned chalice as an academic but to be honest I loved it and certainly being part of AMBA makes a huge difference because it provides a number of opportunities to share ideas with peers from other Universities around the world.
What excites you about the Westminster MBA?
Having been recently re-accredited by AMBA we are in a very strong position to build on this excellent base. I genuinely feel that our MBA is distinct in terms of being equivalent to a boutique hotel rather than a large chain which is how many MBAs in London and indeed globally operate. The fact that the faculty and wider team who designed the MBA are the team that work with students throughout their MBA journey is a highly valuable strength.
What is your vision of the Westminster MBA? Do you envisage making many changes to the programme?
During my first month I spent time speaking to as many people involved within the MBA as possible to establish what were the ‘golden nuggets’ of the programme that we could enhance and build upon. There will be changes including working with more professional bodies, attempting to work with organisations to become Module Ambassadors and trying to combine these with our work with alumni. The MBA will also be due for routine University re-validation so this will be an opportunity to ‘kick the tyres’ and check that our programme meets the needs of all types of organisations into the future.
What role do you think an MBA course has in the world of education?
MBAs are special because we truly found ourselves as academics working in a curating rather than lecturing role. MBA students genuinely are the ‘experts’ in the classroom and it is our role to ensure that we tease out this expertise so everyone benefits.
How would you describe a ‘day in the life of an MBA director’?
It is a cliché but there is never a dull moment and no two days are the same. Diaries are packed and there isn’t really a set pattern to the day. Over the course of a week it is quite typical to be speaking to prospective students about their organisational experience, planning for or running information sessions and fairs, speaking with organisations or inspiring speakers we would like to bring into the MBA, teaching and/or assessing and in my case and trying to cram in as much research time as possible reading about corporate psychopaths while on the train. Then of course there are University and school meetings. Occasionally there is time for a quick lunchtime trip to Marylebone High Street.
What is your favourite part of working as an MBA Director?
Without a doubt the amount I learn on a daily basis from the MBA Community. To me this includes MBA students, alumni, faculty and peers within the AMBA network. I find the personal stories that brought everyone to the MBA inspiring.
You started your role as MBA Director almost three months ago – what have you enjoyed so far?
My first day coincided with an MBA Open Evening so it was great to be able to start with familiar territory but with a sense of ‘newness’. Also from day one it was wonderful to be back in London. July is an atypical time within Universities because many academics and students were away on taking well earned breaks. It was a fabulous time however to be able to review the programme and take time to consult with a number of the team throughout the process. Now that semester has started it feels like the start of my time at Westminster all over again. Many students have been away and so are only just returning and of course we have just welcomed our new September intake.
Latest posts by Westminster Business School Blog (see all)
- Boardroom Face: Take Your Place With Our New MBA - 31 May 2017
- MBA Board Room Profiles: Funke Abimbola - 12 May 2017
- Are you fit to lead? – The Cognitive Power of Leadership Thinking: Neuroscience and Leadership - 24 January 2017