Reconnecting at our anticipated Alumni Conference

By Stuart Robinson, MBA Programme Director

On 23rd November the MBA Suite was buzzing with energy as we welcomed alumni back to the University of Exeter Business School for our first Alumni Conference.

‘Keeping the MBA relevant in the new economy’ was the event’s theme, for which we had invited a diverse range of speakers to give their valuable insights to MBA alumni and current students about the challenges and opportunities MBA graduates are facing today. After a welcome address by Professor David Allen, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean at the Business School, we kicked off the conference with a thought-provoking keynote speech from Ed Mayo, Secretary General for Co-operatives UK.

Sandra Norval, MBA alumna from our 2014 cohort, CEO of Bluedotaug Ltd and MD of Catalicity gave an insightful talk, followed by Professor Alexandra Gerbasi, Professor of Leadership at the Business School who described the importance of networking in effective careers. The event closed with a talk from me, to open up the room for a discussion about the topics of the day.

Throughout the event speakers inspired our audience with stories of their personal and professional journeys, the ethics of technology, developing relationships as part of your job, bringing your values into all aspects of business, team based entrepreneurship, investing in your development, and how to use your professional network to identify and develop career opportunities.

We were delighted to receive positive feedback from many alumni after the event and enjoyed hearing about all of the exciting things they have gone on to achieve since graduating. We look forward to strengthening our alumni network further in 2019 with more opportunities to reconnect and inspire.

I’d personally like to extend a huge thanks to all our guest speakers, alumni and current students who made the event such a success.

Please keep an eye on our website and social media to stay up to date with our latest events:

Exeter.ac.uk/mba
Twitter: @theexetermba
Facebook: @theexetermba

Developing leaders in the Norwegian wilderness

The Exeter MBA students in Norway 2018. Photo credit: Karel Vandezande

This summer we launched our first ever Leadership Skills Expedition module, taking 17 students to the rugged landscape of Norway where they could develop and understand their leadership abilities. MBA Programme Director, Stuart Robinson explains:

“In MBA education we all talk a lot about leadership. A key consideration for us as educators is how we can help students understand their personal and leadership abilities. Of course, during an MBA, students discover a lot about themselves and how they interact with others. Working with peers in tutor groups, exercises and on projects all develop aspects of leadership and ways of working.

However, I feel strongly that these situations can become routine, familiar, and safe. We wanted to discover, by putting our MBA students in an unfamiliar, risky, and wild environment, how we could look more deeply into the dynamics of leadership. That is why I found myself this Summer on top of a Norwegian plateau, Hardangervidda, with 17 of our students.

By removing them from a business situation, the objective was to enable students to work from a shared and uniform understanding of a situation, something that is sometimes hard to achieve in an MBA classroom, with different professional skills and knowledge. As well as leadership, we were interested in how the expedition could develop resilience, self-reflection, and persistence.

Some serious lifestyle adjustments were required. Over the six days, the students carried a 20kg pack over rough, snowy terrain with weather conditions changing between sun, fog, storm, and blizzards. They had to work together and learn to respect each other’s strengths and limitations, which provoked intense self-reflection, and a need for a deep understanding of others.

The expedition commenced with a 360 assessment of five main components of leadership ability – confidence, competence, compassion, courage, and character, allowing the students to plan on how to develop each one. This was supported by peer feedback and personal coaching, with a strong emphasis on the strengths and leadership experience everyone brought to the table.

We gave students a high-level goal to cross the plateau between two points. No route was specified, so the four student groups had to figure this out for themselves. While each group had a leadership coach and an outdoor specialist with them to ensure that nothing serious went wrong, they did not intervene in the group’s decision making unless necessary.

Each day, a different student acted as group leader, agreeing a leadership ‘style’ with the coach in advance. Using this style, the leader dealt with decisions like setting direction, choosing meal times, or agreeing a camp location. The leader also had to deal with numerous challenges as they happened, such as an unexpected storm warning that confined us to the tents for a whole day. Each evening the group would sit together with the leadership coach and outdoor specialist to reflect on what happened: how it felt to be led and to lead, what went well and what did not. At the end of the expedition, every student delivered a speech, reflecting on their experiences, learning and how they could apply to rest of their MBA.

The feedback from students has been great. People grew through the experience and learned a lot about themselves and others. I think we were all surprised by the extent of the challenge, but people were very resilient and returned in good condition and good spirits, apart from sore and wet feet! The students certainly grew as leaders, developed their communication skills, and became much more open with one another.”

One of our MBA students Victoria Veber comments: “Norway was a completely unexpected adventure that certainly has changed me and my life in many ways. It enabled me to get to know my peers on a more personal level, sharing more than academic abilities inside a classroom. Our personal strengths and weaknesses were more visible, but the famous slogan “impossible is nothing” kept popping into my head thinking about how far we’d come.

After the expedition we came back to pitch a business model against a professional panel. Before leaving it was an issue that filled me with insecurity. When the day came, I stood there knowing that I’m capable of more than I think I can do, and that gave me enough confidence to face it. I plan on taking this attitude forward, in the challenges to come, knowing that “Yes, I can.””

There is a real value in getting students out of the classroom into unusual situations to really test them, to develop leadership capabilities and enable a deep understanding of themselves. It was certainly an interesting experience all round and one we intend to repeat as a core part of our leadership offering.

Fashion endlessly – an MBA view on sustainability in fashion – by Tim Brenninkmeijer, May 21st 2018

“There’s no time to waste.”

A familiar call to arms, and one that became acutely appropriate across the days I spent in Copenhagen at the Youth Fashion Summit and it’s elder relative, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit  (CFS) – “the world’s leading business event on sustainability in fashion”, convening industry leaders, disruptors, change-agents and policy makers around the most pressing issues facing one of the most expansive and complex industries of our world today.

Time, as a resource, is hard to manage. On a daily basis, we are all engaged with tweaking our mental schedules to find more of it. Whether in a moment of reflection hovering over a fresh morning brew, or in the bliss of the late afternoon either with plenty to still tick-off or plenty to reflect on – the ways in which to use time seem both endless and compounded within the day, let alone week. Partaking in a 12-month MBA programme, this sentiment is felt regularly, personally and collectively as a cohort. And it is often shared, shiveringly, by those with whom we describe the variety of subjects and intensity of schedules this quite unique ‘One Planet MBA’ programme offers.

However, arriving at the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) a little over a week ago, in what seems to be one of the most blissful and effortlessly sustainable cities in Europe, the sentiment described was due for a true test, as 3 days of brainstorming, debate, scenario-planning and synthesising were due to ensue. Under the flag of the Youth Fashion Summit, in a somewhat gauntlet-style waterfall of workshops, 110+ students from 36 countries, and 64 of the world’s top design and business schools, gathered to kick off a 2-year programme aimed at challenging industry leaders’ engagement with SDGs 3 and 5 at the Copenhagen Fashion Summits of 2018 and 2019, while working in partnership with a leading luxury retailer, PANDORA, on their own sustainability story.
The Youth Fashion Summit (YFS), initiated in 2012, formed as a partnership between a range of organisations looking to take new aim at one of the most polluting industries in the world, if not the second as often reported – fashion. Global Fashion Agenda, at the time known as the Danish Fashion Institute, had already held three of their convening summits focused on the issue of fashion’s impact on the planet and what industry leaders should already be considering with regard to sustainability. With the Sustainable Development Goals under draft, UN Global Compact soon saw the opportunity to begin engaging the next generation of leaders within key sectors. Thus, in partnership with Global Fashion Agenda and Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, Youth Fashion Summit was born as a platform, “for students passionate about a sustainable world with fashion as leverage and gives the opportunity to influence the decisions made today that impact the world of tomorrow – it is the voice of the next generation.”

Coming from the One Planet MBA at the University of Exeter, with its focus on global challenges and the emerging tools and technologies that enable business leaders to make better decisions for the planet and its people, the opportunity to engage directly with an industry platform, let alone a dedicated cohort of professionals, specialists and academics, seemed very appropriate. Especially given the 4 years before joining the MBA I was working within the fashion industry, across startups, non-profits and retail. The luck that it fell during a ‘reading week’ at the MBA just made it all the more palatable! Nothing to do with the Nordic sunshine forecasted either…

Day 1, Sunday – meet and greet, review of pre-assignment and alignment on goals and objectives.

‘Pre-assignment’ – yes. Soon after I was accepted to the programme, after having to write a 500 word application, we were delivered a reading list and a pre-assignment to be completed in solo. This went some way to already dispel any skepticism that this was going to be a ‘youthful’ jaunt in the Nordic sunshine with post-its and mind-maps. Nevertheless, the pre-assignment – with its focus on crystallizing a personal perspective on the implementation, or lack thereof, of the assigned SDG (5 in my case: gender equality, vs 3 for others: health and well-being) and the assigned ‘capital’ (human in my case, out of social, natural and manufacturing for others) within my country of choice (UK) – developed a broad scope of knowledge and perspectives within the groups we were assigned to.

We met and greeted each other on that first day by presenting, via mood-board, how either our national government, industry leaders or societal commentators had or had not yet delivered on the many aspects of gender equality and empowerment. With only a few relating their mood-board presentations to fashion, it was clear the ideas to come through the rest of the week were set to be diverse.

The moodboards of SDG5: Human Capital; capturing perspectives from California, Indonesia, Finland, Germany, UK, Denmark, NL, Pakistan, Egypt, USA, Italy and Hungary

The overarching goal of the Youth Fashion Summit programme was for the cohort to develop a set of ‘demands’ relating to the implementation of SDGs 3 and 5 by 2030, which would be presented to the industry leaders attending the Copenhagen Fashion Summit the same week. This was achieved, impressively, by employing a rigorous yet well-managed waterfall-type approach of workshops, each with specific objectives, feeding into the overarching goal, along with related outputs such as the keynote speech and graphic poster production (evidence to come below). A ‘future fashion narrative’ was created by each of the 14 groups to support the final outputs, so as to capture the collective and diverse voice of this next generation of industry leaders.

As day 1 came to a buzzing close, I found myself reflecting with excited anticipation – “while the format is familiar, with thanks to the many design-thinking workshops and group projects the One Planet MBA had already offered, the potential of the programme is unprecedented, in terms of network value and capitalisation on ideas and the strategies put forward.”

Alongside the 8 groups of 14 students each – comprised of Bachelors level, to Masters, to industry-veterans returning to take Masters or MBAs – a cohort of about 20 ‘experts’ and ‘facilitators’ fluttered between assigned groups and capitals. This investment in the support as well as execution of the process was most impressive, and went further to dispel any leftover skepticism. Having been through a variety of similar brainstorming type workshops within and extra-curricular to the MBA, I could say I have an experienced mind and hand with the post-it. However, I would just as quickly put both my hands up and say there are times where the process is lost on me, or the group seems to be floundering with details, in which a steadying voice from outside the post-it bubble is more than welcomed. A balance was well struck between the experts and facilitators guiding and probing these newly formed microorganisms of groups, and allowing them to evolve and find their own voice.

Complimented by the rich relationships with partScsner organisations, a highlight of the programme for many cohort members was the negotiation session with ‘stakeholder representatives’. This gave the groups the opportunity to present their vision and demands to members from organisations ranging from highstreet to luxury retailer, NGO, supply chain specialists, UN body and media. Through negotiations, groups were able to refine their vision and demands to both align the language and stretch certain aspects even further, given that the scope of the demands are the SDGs, which are due to be achieved by 2030.

The final output was three-fold, and was presented to the cohort as an evolution to that of previous years’ more singular output, through consultation and feedback with the main Summit’s delegates:

  1. 8 demands and narratives presented on impactfully-designed posters for display during the CFS
  2. A series of ‘hard-talk’ inspired questions to critically investigate the Global Fashion Agenda’s ‘CEO Agenda 2018’, which formed the basis of the Summit’s agenda, 2 of which were delivered in-person by YFS cohort members during the closing panel of the Summit
  3. A 10 minute speech, capturing the essence of the YFS cohort’s demands and vision for a future fashion industry they would be proud to inherit, presented to the Summit delegates as the opening keynote speech on the day 2 of the CFS. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 8 speakers, representing each group, to speak on stage on behalf of my fellow cohort members standing 100+ strong behind me.

The privilege to speak on behalf of gallons of sweat, tears and ideas from 100+ passionate change-agents, let alone on a topic so relevant and critically in need of address – gender equality and empowerment – was immense. To do so on stage in an awe-inspiring concert hall, in front of industry leaders and change-agents wrestling with the complexity of their business and its impacts, was something I won’t soon forget.

The theme of this years Copenhagen Fashion Summit was ‘words into action’, given that, at last year’s Summit, a commitment to a circular fashion system was signed by almost 12% of the global industry. Therefore, measuring the commitments’ translations to action will be of primary focus for the CFS team moving forward.

My good fortune to be chosen to speak on behalf of my cohort members

Some key insights from attending the main Copenhagen Fashion Summit, after the thrill of presenting on stage, highlighted the complexity of the challenges the industry is faced with. While it may appear a visually expressive industry with the catwalks and billboards, it also embodies some of the most complex and murky global supply chains. Compounded by an entrenched lack of transparency, a topic of great debate and emphasis during the Summit, this creates an immense challenge for change-agents to grasp elements of the value chain in need of redesign or redistribution.

A particular highlight across panels and presentations were points made about consumption and the relevance of it to a circular industry model; specifically that – as posited by Levi’s VP of Product Innovation – circularity is very hard to get right, but, as it appears the only way this industry is going to survive sustainably, achieving circularity will most likely constrain the size of the industry and its output to an appropriate size, for the planet and its people. A sentiment that resonates with the narratives and demands developed by the YFS cohort, and one we hope to explore further in round 2 of the programme.

The Youth Fashion Summit’s evolved 2-year programme looks to echo this sentiment and that of the CFS’ theme, by taking the demands developed and working them into a sustainability strategy for the programme’s brand partner, Pandora – a leader within a sector, jewelry, that has yet to deeply engage with sustainability. Therefore, I am thrilled to be returning to Copenhagen next year to complete the process and deliver an actionable strategy to the industry and an emergent sector in the sustainability space.

Ultimately, the programme truly demonstrated what can happen when you bring together curious minds, creative hands, informed ideas and really committed hearts and souls. Furthermore, given the underpinnings of fashion as a creative engine geared towards celebrating diversity through evolving expression and change, it presents itself as an ideal way to address the global challenges we face on a grand, beautiful scale.

With the One Planet MBA, we are trained to ‘think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees’. A mindset and skillset that proved a provoking compliment to the Youth Fashion Summit experience, and thus an experience I would highly recommend to any MBA looking for a challenge and an enlightening investigation into an industry on the cusp of revolution. There is no time to waste, as these words turn into action throughout the course of this next year and beyond.

Speaking about gender justice within the fashion industry, a topic truly close to my heart having worked within the industry and seen evidence of inequality and injustice across every stage of the value chain; from field, to factory, to store, to office and to boardroom

Student Opinions: Will bitcoin regulation undermine its value?

As HSBC completes the world’s first commercially viable trade-finance transaction using blockchain, we ask our students: Is this a huge step towards efficiency and reducing errors in the funding of international trade, or does this undermine cryptocurrency’s value and decentralised character?

Georgie Hazell, MBA Participant 2018: “The clarity offered by regulation would probably increase the perceived legitimacy of virtual currencies. My vote is for regulation [acting like a] speed-bump in the short term, but an incentive in the longer term, boosting value and offering protection for investors. Speculation around regulation will probably cause greater volatility in the bitcoin price than actual implementation. When investors are unsure about the legitimacy of their cryptocurrency and how they are going to be taxed when they sell it, they will probably avoid or at least hold it until clarification is given.

Regulation could come in a number of forms, from reducing anonymity through demanding real names on bitcoin holdings and transactions, to outright bans (as in India). The trends in South Korea, with an initial plunge followed by a levelling out as the effects were clarified, is likely to offer a framework for other regions. The UK could do worse than following Japan’s lead, developing regulations that support the healthy growth of the technology.”

Gana Alampalle, MBA Participant 2018: “Bitcoin’s value lies in being an anonymous, effortless and secure payment system…in theory. This is also true for the numerous ‘alt-coins’ that have cropped up aiming to penetrate the market, each with their own USPs. It’s hard to see what real value that cryptocurrencies would offer if they were to be regulated. Prices would decrease substantially if anonymity were to be taken away. To add to this, hard-line regulations could potentially push cryptocurrencies further underground into the dark web where they would inevitably be traded illegally and continue to promote illicit activities.

What could be key to keeping the value of cryptocurrency is to manage exchanges and initial coin offerings while protecting the security and anonymity of coins by design. Policy makers have historically been good at regulating and appropriating currency innovations that the private sector put out. Effective cryptocurrency regulation however could be a tall order given the amount of international co-operation needed.”

The Exeter MBA’s ‘Leading in the 4th Industrial Revolution’ immerses students in emergent technological innovations. Blockchain applications continue to make headlines as the biggest revolution since the internet, and this month the University welcomed a global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies, nChain Group, to field questions in a discussion panel. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx2Cne2Vw9M

Why an MBA and why now?

By Jenna Hattingh, MBA Class of 2018

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the benefit that this MBA would provide. It began with the module ‘tackling global challenges’ where I was able to spend hours (and hours) researching one of my favourite topics – Climate Change. The amount of knowledge that was gained both during the course and in the research thereafter broadened my perspective and allowed me to develop my understanding on topics that I had previously misunderstood. This trend has continued throughout the course, and I now appreciate how skills can be developed through research, trial and error and even the occasional failure.

The pressure of workload, deadlines, and team dynamics makes you a stronger person. You may need to adjust your expectations and learn about other peoples personalities, and what is required to manage those personalities within the work environment (self-restraint in most cases).  Interpersonal relationships are just as important as quality of work in environments where teamwork is encouraged. These lessons are ones you most certainly cant learn at home. Some people will inspire you… Some will challenge you… And some will become your greatest friends.

Startup Weekend Exeter 2017

The weekend of November 17 – 19 saw the University of Exeter Business School transformed into an incubation space for Exeter’s brightest minds and entrepreneurial spirits. Now in its fourth year, Techstar’s Startup Weekend Exeter is a 54-hour startup sprint designed to guide entrepreneurs in shaping their innovative ideas into business realities over the course of just three days. The weekend captures the essence of the entrepreneurial journey; full of energy, hard work, camaraderie, and hours of high-intensity fun as teams compete to determine who wins 1st overall, people’s choice, or best purpose driven idea.

Sponsored by the University of Exeter Business School and SetSquared, many postgraduate students from the 2018 Exeter MBA cohort were in attendance, alongside a healthy mix of undergraduate students and members of the Exeter community. The weekend kicked off Friday evening, with a rousing welcome party hosted by TechStar facilitator David Andersen, followed by inspirational speeches from local social entrepreneur Kalkidan Lagasse and executive coach Ian Hale.

This year’s event centred around business with a purpose, and both Hale and Lagasse represented the power of purpose-led business by recounting their inspirational success stories. Lagasse began her retail business, Sancho’s Dress, as a way to bolster the income of her Aunt, a talented seamstress struggling to make ends meet in Lagasse’s home country of Ethiopia. Lagasse began her business as a student at the University of Exeter, selling her Aunt’s homemade scarves at a booth in the forum. She then engaged with the ThinkTryDo! Student Startup programme, and soon grew her business into a successful brick and mortar shop on Fore Street. Recently, Lagasse has expanded her business to fill a second retail space. She sells organic, cruelty-free clothing, jewellery and accessories.

Now it was time for Friday’s main event: the pitches! Participants were asked to come prepared with a business concept, and had only 60 seconds to present their idea to the Startup Weekend Exeter delegation. In all over 30 pitches showcased an incredible array of creative, innovative and inspiring ideas – from making a wood pulp substitute out of sugar cane, to creating building materials out of used plastic bottles, to stilettos capable of converting into flats by detaching the heels! Once all the pitches were heard, participants cast their votes for the top ideas.  In the end, a total of eight teams were formed, and it was the teams with representation of a variety of demographics and an expansive array of skills, that were most successful.

Once assembled, teams quickly got to work brainstorming on how to bring their ideas to life, and created their agendas for the weekend. The task: ideate, validate, create, and actuate! Typically, ideation begins with an expansive view, then focuses in on a realistic attainment, the creation of a prototype, or minimum viable product (MVP).

On Saturday, teams were expected to validate their ideas in the marketplace. This involved taking to the streets of Exeter, and discovering whether or not consumers would actually be interested in their business. Saturday also featured think tank sessions with an impressive array of mentors from all across the tech and entrepreneurial communities. Mentors conducted individual sessions with each team, offering tech support, logistics advisement, business development expertise, and much more.

Startup Weekend Exeter is a hectic, busy, and exciting time. Teams often find it hard to break away from the work to eat and relax. Thankfully, the amazing organising team had refreshments and relaxation covered with comfy couches, table tennis, and delicious free food all weekend long! Participants enjoyed the delights of Spanish paella, Mexican tacos, and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, alongside sandwiches from Pret-a-Manger, snacks, and sweets to keep their energy levels up and brains firing on all cylinders.

On Sunday, teams continued their frenetic pace, turning their ideas into action. They finalised their MVPs, put the final touches on their presentations, and squeezed in a few more sessions with the mentors. By late afternoon, the judges arrived and it was time to compete!

 

Judges for Startup Weekend included:

Antonia Power, General Counsel for Blur Group

Richard Eckley, Senior Investment Analyst for Crowdcube

Christine Allison, Director of Roborough House Associates

Stuart Robinson, Director of the Exeter MBA

Ideas were assessed according to their validity in the market, strength of their business model, and execution and design. The judges then chose the team that had presented the most convincing business and awarded the prize for best purpose driven idea and also handed out the award for the People’s Choice.

In closing the event, TechStars facilitator David Andersen said:

“Startup Weekend Exeter was a really special experience. I think there were some great teams, with great energy and great ideas. Participants here were really open-minded and keen to do new things. Basically, everything we could throw at them, they took on with a positive mindset. It really says a lot about the community here in Exeter, and I would love to see that spread after the weekend. That’s what the Startup Weekend is all about: inspiring the participants to go out and change the world.”

Special thanks to the University of Exeter Business School, the ThinkTryDo Student Startups team, Bunzl catering, Pret-a-Manger, and all of our wonderful mentors, judges, and participants.

Written by Jessica Ilyas

The sweet spot: Why spaceships can help us design for a circular economy

According to Dana Meadows (1992), to reach systems change, the most important element is to have the power to transcend paradigms.

This is hard to do with anyone, let alone MBA students.

This week, Adam Lusby, adjunct lecturer at the Exeter MBA and Delfina Zagarzazú, 2016 Alumni, piloted a 2 day workshop coined Generation Space, where 43 students worked on the mission:

“Scope and define the internal characteristics of a spaceship that can evolve to host 1000 people for 1000 years for generational interstellar space travel”                

By setting the context in a galaxy, students were allowed to enter a new paradigm without considering it, allowing re-design  to happen at many different levels of a system including food, water, manufacturing and health to meet the needs of life in space.

Using Design Thinking to guide the process, the exploratory phase of  it allowed students to push the boundaries of creativity whilst in ideation staying aware of the need to build a circular economy strategy for the underlying importance of closed loop design to keep resources in use through the voyage.

What is your strategy to ensure the continuous uptime performance of all your resources? In other words, how do you propose to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value during the voyage?

Further inspiration for circular design was enabled by Chris Grantham and Arianne Orillac who lead Circular Economy at IDEO in London who guided the spaceships to consider reiteration of product design onboard using circular economy strategy cards.

After prototypes and definition of spaceship purpose, teams were judged by an all women panel to put their circular innovations forward.

  • Hege Saebjornsen, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA UK & IE
  • Lynn Maxwell, Sustainability Developer, IKEA UK & IE
  • Emilie Sandberg, Creative Leader, IKEA UK & IE
  • Arianne Orillac, Circular Business Designer, IDEO London

This project is part of the Corporate Challenge 2018 in collaboration with IKEA and IDEO.

Blog written by Delfina Zagarzazu

Partnering on Purpose

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Practical Insight into Data Analytics, one of the required modules on the University of Exeter’s One Planet MBA programme, is taught by Stuart Robinson, a former executive of Alliance Bernstein. In four intensive days, Stuart focuses on data understanding, preparation, modelling and evaluation. The module is enhanced by SAP’s Michael Jordan, one example of how business partners strengthen the academic modules taught on the One Planet MBA . At SAP, Mike has the curious title of Knowledge Transfer Architect. “His role is to give a practical angle to a lot of what students learn”, says Stuart. The other key partner in the module is IBM’s Jamie’s Cole, who opened the recent module with a discussion about Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Things. Continue reading

Global Challenges and the MBA

It’s great to see our new cohort of MBA students starting to get involved with the 2017 programme.  We started formal learning last week with a module in which we discussed global challenges: economics and inequality, social change, technology and climate.  Four expert guest speakers joined us to bring their perspective on each of these.  The speakers came from Oxfam, IBM the UK Met Office as well as our own academic team.

We’re a truly global group this year; people from 21 countries have come to Exeter to join the full time MBA.  This diversity brought a lot to our classroom debate; maybe too much, as most of the guest sessions ran over time with participants from different parts of the world contributing their perspectives.  It all came together on the last afternoon when each study group presented their views on the challenges.

I think this kind of debate is important at the start of an MBA where many of the participants want to build their ability to make positive change in the world.  Being clear on the challenges we face and hearing others’ perspective on these helps us understand and shape our own opportunities and the skills we look to gain from the MBA to pursue these.

Written By Stuart Robinson

The Exeter MBA

From September 2018 we’ll be changing the name of the programme to ‘The Exeter MBA’.  Moving away from the ‘One Planet’ MBA name doesn’t mean that we’re changing the ethos and content of a programme which has been increasingly successful both for us and our students and partners since 2011.  The change is a result of developments in our relationships with partners and our aim to bring the principles of the One Planet MBA to a wider body of potential students.

We intend to strengthen the Exeter MBA offering to address a growing group of potential MBA candidates and sponsors who recognise that good business is now in the mainstream.  They will look for MBA programmes that help them acquire the range of skills needed to drive forward the emerging business models we have developed in the One Planet MBA in a widening set of business, third-sector and governmental situations.

You’ll see ‘The Exeter MBA’ name appearing in our literature and communication over the coming months.

Post written by Stuart Robinson