All the hard work over the past year cumulated in Graduation on 27th November 2015 for MBM students.
The MBM students spend the summer months undertaking research in a range of settings, for their dissertation. These including some very interesting projects including; The growth strategies of micro-brewery’s in Scotland; Entrepreneurship in companies for creating competitive advantages; Analysis of customer loyalty in smartphone market; Entrepreneurship in early stage growth of internet firms in China and Corporate Social Responsibility of small and medium enterprises operating in different economies.
The reputation of the MBM programme at the University of Stirling is such that it attracts students from across the globe, to study at the Management School and this year’s graduates were no exception attracting students from Germany, China, Ghana, India and Palestine as well as the home countries.
We wish all our MBM Graduates a fond farewell as they embark on the next stage of their journey.
“I chose to study my course at Stirling because I knew that the university and the management school has a good reputation. One of the benefits of studying here has been the chance to increase my employability, both from my course and the Career Development Centre”. Florian Kubsch MSc Business & Management
Success through collaboration: the case of Diageo
The MBA and MSC Business & Management students are nearing the end of the formal taught element of their respective programmes with both engaging is Strategy for Sustainable Success of Strategic Management. To help to make the links between the theory and practice Mike Blenkharn of Diageo, the world’s leading international spirits, wines and beer company, presented on the process of strategic innovation of the recently launched product – the Haig Club. Diageo can trace its roots back to 1749. And can also trace the roots of Haig whisky to the mid-1800s. Mike explained the strategic evolution of Diageo and the challenges that it faces to main growth. New product development is one element in the approach adopted by Diageo to maintain growth. The Haig Club launch took approximately two years from concept to product launch and Mike explained the strategic innovation process that Diageo adopt. The strategic innovation process involved Diageo experts from manufacturing and operations, spirits development, spirits supply, information systems and data management, procurement, legal, finance, marketing and brand management teams. These teams are multi-cultural in nature and spread across the globe in various Diageo locations. Managing such teams is a challenge, and with their experience from group working the students understood such challenges. The strategic innovation process is extremely rigorous, with six major stages that have a go / no-go gate at each stage. Stage 0 (zero) is the opportunity generation element that is open to all Diageo employees. Once the opportunity idea is developed it enters Stage 1 – preliminary investigation. The Gate panel then consider the concept, its potential, scope and resource implications – gate 2. If satisfied then the concept moves onto the next stage, stage 2 – develop product / concept in more detail which then is assessed at gate 2 – concept approval. Next, stage 3 is commercial development, with marketing testing and approval as gate 4. Stage 4 is a bigger market test exercise to seek Gate 5 launch approval. Stage 5 is launch and then regular quarterly innovation reviews occur to monitor performance and plan – gate 6. Stage 6 is lifestyle management once the new product delivers and meets future growth. The students from both programmes commented on how insightful the presentation was in making connections between business functions and the role of strategic innovation to support an organisation’s growth objectives.
BUSP010 - Strategic Management
Well it’s the final capstone module on the MBM and we now need to use all of the knowledge and learning from the programme. Strategic Management provides students with the theories, tools and techniques to conduct strategic analysis, covering the business idea, competition and external scenarios to generate and evaluate strategic options. These are key skills for both managers and consultants.
The class were split into four groups and studied four different organisations. The first organisation was Harley Davidson, the iconic American ‘heavy-bike’ manufacturer. Harley Davidson, like other consumer-based organisations, were looking to grow their business post 2008 global recession whilst acknowledging the growing trend of environmental legislation. How should Harley Davidson grow its business in light of such challenges?
The second organisation was the Chinese company ZPMC one of world’s leading manufacturers of port handling equipment. ZPMC had developed a favourable position in China and were now looking to expand internationally. In addition, ZPMC had developed over eighty (80) ‘service points’ across the world, however, these service points were not supporting ZPMC’s globalisation aspirations. In addition, ZPMC did not have a capability in after sales service. Could ZPMC develop a global service strategy, and how would it be designed to gain competitive advantage?
The third organisation was Jengshi Shipyards, China’s leading ship building and ship repair company as well as being a serious global player in this industry. Jengshi Shipyards had grown year-on-year until the 2008 global financial crisis, when the shipping industry went into serious downturn in activity. Since then Jengshi Shipyards had focused on operational efficiency, achieving the best performance in China for ship repairs of 3.24 days. However, it was lagging behind Korean and Japanese competitors in the global ship building business. It lacked knowledge and expertise to be a serious global ship building player. Should, and how should Jengshi approach the global ship building industry?
The final organisation was IKEA, Sweden’s iconic furniture manufacturer and retailer. IKEA is a multinational group of companies that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances, and home accessories. IKEA wished to move into the Indian market and was considering where and how to enter India? Indian culture favoured more traditional types of furniture and there are many ‘mon-and-pop’ furniture retailers as well as large country-wide Indian retailers? How would they react to IKEA? How would Indian consumers react to IKEA’s offering?
The module was designed around a day-by-day process of short lectures, guided reading, student group-work, student presentations and academic feedback to enhance the immediacy of learning. Each day brought a new task. Students used materials and ideas from their previous modules of Marketing, Operations Management, Economics, Finance and People Management. Each day helped students analyse their chosen case study in detail covering a wide range of issues including: organisational purpose, value creation for long-term sustainable profit potential, distinctive competencies and competitive advantage, the nature and structure of competition as well as developing scenarios of the future. From each step in the analytical process the students began to reveal the hidden challenges and possibilities facing their case organisation. These were synthesised and strategic options generated and evaluated. Finally they presented their proposals which would then be communicated to the CEO in a consultant-style report.
BUSP014 - Managing the Emerging Economies
This highly interactive module offered students a comprehensive look at emerging markets, especially (but not only) the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), as they integrate with the global economy. Students examined major developmental challenges and their impact on economic growth in these countries. Students also learnt about recent trends in offshore outsourcing. Real life case studies were used to understand the strategic decision making process (from the perspective of companies in developed economies) involved in outsourcing and compliance related issues that has to be considered. This helped them to recognise the potential and challenges of outsourcing to emerging markets. Students then undertook group case analysis, using the case of Tesco’s entry into India, to understand the challenges faced by western companies when they enter into emerging markets. The class learnt about growing presence of multinationals from emerging markets at global stage. Using the case of the Chinese multinational firm Haier, students analysed the strategies employed by emerging market firms to succeed in expanding internationally. The module concluded by discussing implication (both public policy and business strategy) for the developed economies with the rise of emerging economies and identified factors that could shape the global economy in the 21st century.
BUSP009 People Management
In February, students were provided with a comprehensive overview of the main people management functions in organisations. Topics covered include HR planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, reward management and diversity management. Throughout the module, we examined debates concerning the strategic importance of people management and the daily dilemmas involved with managing people in organisations.
Students were taught through a combination of in-depth lectures, engaging group workshops and a lively presentation session. Lectures helped to develop students’ understanding of the key concepts, theory and practical applications of each topic area. The group workshops were based around case study examples to help students generate insight into the practical aspects concerning each topic. The presentation session formed part of the group project exercise, where students were given the exciting opportunity to devise a people management strategy for a company case study.
On the first day, each group was given a different company case study which outlined various issues to take into consideration. The five companies varied considerably and included a luxury department store, a grocery supermarket and a large printing company. The groups developed their strategies during the course (based around the topic areas covered in the module) and presented these on the final day to the class. The variability in company types meant that students were able to obtain insight into the types of strategies that might be appropriate in different contexts. Each presentation was followed by a short question/answer session where the groups fielded questions from their classmates. The group project allowed the students to really get to grips with the themes and issues covered in the module.
BUSP007 Personal & Professional Development PPD
MBM students made the short journey north for a site visit to the Highland Spring factory. The Highland Spring Group is the UK's largest bottled water company, producing only naturally sourced bottled water. The visit included a presentation by Andrea McQuaid, Head of Brand Marketing who provided an overview of the company, the environment in which it operates and an insight into forthcoming marketing campaigns which were still in the development stages. This was followed by tour of the factory where students were able to closely observe the bottling and packaging process.
Students were provided with the opportunity to put their interview skills into practice during an individual ‘simulated interview’ in front of a small group of their peers. During this activity, students were interviewed based upon a graduate job that they had identified that they would be interested in applying for. This was followed by a discussion session where students were able to provide each other with insightful feedback on their performance in order to learn from one another and identify aspects which could be approved upon ahead of real life interviews.
BUSP005 Marketing Management
The Marketing Management module is a popular component of the MBM programme and the students have been engaged and engaging over the past two weeks in material that focuses on understanding, creating, communicating and delivering value. This has included case studies on Xbox, Zara as well as Dyson and Nestle. The culmination of the module, a formal group presentation, illustrated innovative strategic plans for local FMCG and service companies as well game processing cards for Apple. Others considered the role of stakeholders and the value of branding for KFC. The photographs illustrate some of the students in action! The presentations are evaluated by two academics with immediate verbal feedback following the presentation with written feedback provided the following week. Students also submit an individual assignment following the presentation to illustrate an understanding of the key concepts discussed and critically analysed during the module. The highlight of the module was a session delivered by Kevin Condron. Kevin currently works for IBM where he heads up the Marketing and Communications function for the Company's consulting business focused on the Industrial Sector. A $1 billion division, Kevin's responsibilities cover Chemicals, Petroleum, Automotive, Aerospace and Defence, Electronics and Manufacturing. Kevin has over 20 years of marketing experience and his career with IBM has involved UK, European and global roles. During his time with IBM, Kevin has worked across the Company's entire portfolio of hardware, software and services. Kevin delivered a very insightful and contemporary lecture with an emphasis on service delivery in a business-to-business context. Both students and staff benefitted enormously from his experience.
BUSP099 Research Methods & Dissertation
The group began the second semester with two day intensive class on Research Methods. The module prepares students for the summer dissertation. On the first day the students were encouraged to start thinking about their research topic. While a few had clear idea of what they wanted to study, for many this was a welcome opportunity to start thinking early. The discussion then focused on about challenges of conducting management research, responsibility as a research student and given some tips on ‘managing supervisors’ to get the most out of them. The second half of the day was devoted to conducting academic literature review. Students were asked to find an academic paper that was related to the topic they had identified in the first part of the day and conduct a critical analysis. This demonstrated the students on how to go about finding the relevant academic paper, review it and use it in the literature review. The second day was devoted to learning about various research methods. Students were introduced to the philosophical assumptions that underpin various management research methods. The session introduced them to a variety of qualitative methods. An important aspect was to make the connection between the nature of research question and selection of method. The type of method to be selected should be appropriate to answer the research question. The day concluded by providing some useful tips on planning and writing the dissertation.
BUSP007 Personal & Professional Development (PPD)
The new semester commenced with an overview of forthcoming activities scheduled for the PPD module. This was followed by a guest lecture by David Ennis OBE, consultant and former Managing Director of OKI Ltd. David provided an insight into some of the ‘Complexities of Management’ that he had encountered during his career and outlined some ongoing challenges that organisations are faced with today. In the afternoon, students discovered essential hints and tips which would help them develop a standout CV.
Dr Mike Walsh led a full-day session on Facilitation Skills where he explained how facilitation can be used in business. Students gained an insight into the skills required for effective facilitation and then had the opportunity to put these new found skills into practice through several role play exercises.
MBM students were joined by full-time MBA for a full-day Introduction to Consultancy Skills workshop led by Dr Simon Haslam from FDR Research Ltd. Consulting skills are valuable in a range of executive roles, as well as essential for those people seeking to develop their career either as an internal consultant in an organisation or as a commercial management consultant. This session focused on helping students understand and develop these skills.
Students turned their attention to life after graduation with a workshop focusing specifically on the global graduate labour market, effective job search strategies and interview skills. In the morning, students explored what potential career options were most suited to them before being tasked with searching for specific job that they would be interested in applying for once they had completed their studies. The afternoon session focused specifically on interview skills, looking at the different types of interviews and questions that students may face during the recruitment process. This workshop is designed to help prepare students for individual practice interviews which they will be undertaking later in the semester.
BUSP006 - Responsible Business in Society
The last module of the first semester engaged students into lively debates on business ethics. Students discussed irresponsible behaviour of major corporations (including Wal-Mart, Nestlé, Ford, and Siemens among others), got acquainted with the contemporary theory and tools of Corporate Social Responsibility, and critically assessed their practical relevance. The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the voluntary integration of social and environmental concerns in business operations and its current prominence among business leaders and politicians illustrates the widespread emphasis on sustainable development. Through workshops and seminars students ‘discovered’ the relevance of moral philosophy in decomposing and analysing dilemmas daily faced by employees, managers, business leaders, and regulators. The contrast between Eastern and Western values represented by students from three different continents gave the group a special vibe and turned discussions into lively debates. The cultural diversity revealed in the most fruitful way how differences in value-systems among the members of a group advances self-reflection and enhances the moral imagination of future managers.
BUSP004 Operations Management
A key module on the MBM programme is Operations Management, which explores processes, systems and structures that a management team put into place to deliver products or services effectively and efficiently. Many contemporary operations tools and techniques such as supply chain management, just-in-time, continuous improvement, key performance indicators are explored to identify key aspects of success: cost, speed, quality, flexibility and dependability. The class analysed Faurecia Automobile Company, the 6th largest international automotive parts manufacturers in the world; in 2013 it was number one for vehicle interiors and emission control technology. Working in groups the class applied the tools and techniques to the case study building up a portfolio of analysis to understand the tension between a broad operations strategy and a specialised niche operations strategy. Operations management processes seek to take inputs (raw materials, knowledge, equipment and time) and transform them into goods or services. There are four key factors – known as the 4Vs – volume, variety, variation and visibility. Understanding these processes are the basis by which a management team adopt to build its position in a competitive and fast moving environment. The challenge was to identify key processes, map them, and then identify and propose process improvements in line with the company’s strategy. The module provides many lessons for a future management career, whether in a production/manufacturing or services setting.
21 - 24 October 2014
BUSP001 Personal & Professional Development (PPD)
The PPD module continued with a series of workshops which focused on continue to develop students’ skills in key areas that will help prepare them for the transition into the workplace. These included one on Developing your Global Brand which focused on how a person’s brand can be represented in a number of ways e.g. in person, in writing and online. This was followed by two Excel practical workshops which continued to build upon the Understanding Business Data session which students attended as part of the Flying Start Leadership Programme.
Next up was a full day focusing on Assertiveness and Conflict Resolution which provided students with some tools and techniques to help build their confidence and be better prepared to handle any conflict encountered in the workplace. The week concluded with two sessions, the first of which provided students with feedback on their PPD reflective essays. Key elements of the previous reflective writing workshop were revisited to ensure that students understood how to improve upon the grades received for the first essay. The second session focused on personal development planning, and introduced students to what it means to set themselves SMART objectives during their studies to help develop their skills and better prepare them for entering the graduate job market.
9 - 20 October 2014
BUSP008 Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice
Running for most of October, the Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice module focused on improving understanding of the development of entrepreneurship as a field of study and enhancing awareness of how theories of entrepreneurship and new venture creation apply in practice. Given the number of people seeking to start their own businesses, as well as the growing expectation for employees to behave entrepreneurially in other corporate contexts, this module gave students the opportunity to work through businesses challenges and to develop their own entrepreneurial skills. In addition to lectures and group activities, the class spent a morning with Steven Reynolds, a University of Stirling Alumnus and the award-winning founder of Microfitness, who spoke about the realities and challenges of being an entrepreneur and running a growing business.
29 September - 8 October
It’s the start of the third week and the students start the Economics module. The Economics course focuses on preparing the students to be able to advise management in different kinds of businesses, mainly with respect to the macro environment in which the business operates. Within a short time period, the students are able to analyse the market environment and the position of a firm within it. Every lecture contains blogs from the business field and/or newspaper articles which shows the link between the theory and the reality.
Friday 26 September - Discovering Stirling
The end of the Flying Start Leadership Programme saw MBM students join groups of students from across the Management School to discover all that the University of Stirling has to offer. By following a series of clues, students were taken on a tour of the campus facilities which showcased the range of support and help that is available to them during their studies. They were also challenged with specific tasks which each group had to complete along the way, one of which was to take a ‘selfie’ photograph next to one of the University’s most popular statues. The team who answered the most correct answers in the allotted time were presented with Amazon vouchers as a prize.
Thursday 25 September - Reflective Writing
Throughout their students MBM students are encouraged to reflect upon what they are experiencing. This is a core element of the Personal & Professional Development (PPD) module which runs across both the Autumn and Spring semesters. During this session, students were introduced to the concept of reflection, why reflective practice is an essential skill in business, and how to begin writing reflectively. It is recognised that writing reflectively can initially prove quite challenging for students, as most will have been more familiar with writing in a traditional academic sense during their previous studies. A range of examples were discussed by the students in order to emphasise the differences between good and bad reflective writing.
Wednesday 24 September - Professional Skills Development
In the morning students participated in an interactive workshop which incorporated a series of activities intended to help students develop a better understand of themselves, and the decisions they are likely to need to make in relation to their learning and professional career goals. During the session students explored their own personal values, preferences and learning styles, and how these influence both their behaviour and the decisions that they make. They also discovered what key professional skills are most sought after by employers before going on to identify any perceived gaps in their own skills. The session was rounded off by students exploring ways in which they can address these gaps during their studies through participation in class activities.
In the afternoon, MBM students participated alongside students from across the Management School in a Business Challenge. Within their teams, they had to allocate a role for each individual in order to run an imaginary manufacturing company. Their challenge was to decide upon their production strategy, making full use of the resources available to them. The ‘companies’ were required to complete various orders to a specific standard, in the fastest time, in order to be awarded the contract and receive payment. Team working and communication skills were tested to the limit as orders came in thick and fast, as a result difficult decisions had to be made which would have a direct impact upon the company’s profitability. This simulated business activity helped students better understand how organisations are inter-connected. The impact of management decisions became very clear as order deadlines were missed and contracts won and lost throughout the session.
Solutions for Business
MBM students joined students from across the Management School in the evening to work with leading business representatives and Stirling alumni. They were tasked with working in groups to discuss key issues relevant to business today. Topics discussed included the importance of customer service, entrepreneurial thinking, networking, employee relations and social responsibility. After the event, students were able to stay and network with the business representatives and fellow students.
Tuesday 23 September - Understanding Business Data
Students attending this session discovered the important role that data plays in business and its impact on management decision making. Using practical examples throughout, students were able to differentiate between the alternative types of data in order to gain a basic understanding of how to effectively interpret this information both during their studies, as well as in the workplace.
Monday 22 September - Time Management Workshop
This short workshop introduced the benefits of effective time management. Students were challenged to identify how good their own time management skills before discussing ways in which these skills could be improved through a combination of better planning, the elimination of distractions and overcoming elements of procrastination.
Guest Speaker: Paul McKelvie OBE
Later in the day, MBM students were joined by students from the Master of Business Administration for this guest lecture which was led by Paul McKelvie OBE. An alumnus of the University of Stirling (MSc Human Resource Management), Paul carved out a career in HR with both Currys and Scottish Power, before deciding to set up his own consultancy business. He is a board member for both the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland and a Commissioner at the UK Council for Education & Skills.
During the lecture, Paul focused on two aspects. The first, ‘Learning for a Changing World’, explored how the economic landscape has changed in recent years and how students can equip themselves with the skills required to navigate these changes when they enter the workplace. Paul then turned his attention to a second topic ‘Can business be trusted?’ This drew upon Paul’s own personal experience of leading on Scottish Power’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda, and looked at how CSR can be used as a tool to enhance performance and build and maintain stakeholder trust levels.
Friday 19 September - Guest Speaker: Mark Jones, IBM
In the morning, MBM students joined students from the MSs in International Business to gain an insight into the ‘Change and Strategic Transformation’ of IBM. Mark Jones’ 30 year career in IBM has spanned the globe as a procurement negotiator; with clients as a sourcing and procurement consultant, and latterly in business process outsourcing as a senior solution architect and bid reviewer.
During the lecture, Mark provided students with an insight into his own personal IBM journey and how change is essential in business. He explored the need for change and strategic transformation, how financials drive changes; and how individuals have to restlessly reinvent themselves to stay relevant in IBM. Students were also introduced to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, which focuses on how technology can be used effectively to address some of the key issues being faces by countries around the world.
Later that afternoon, MBM students participated in a workshop focusing on Developing Cultural Intelligence. During this interactive workshop, students were encouraged to explore various aspects of cultural diversity and discuss its relevance to their forthcoming studies and also within a business context. Students who were commencing their studies in the UK for the first time were able to gain an insight into how expectations placed upon them during their studies may vary from what they have previously experienced in their home country. The workshop also explored why it is relevant for students to develop respect for those who differ from them in terms beliefs, behaviours, values and views.
Thursday 18 September – The entire day was devoted to team building exercise with Blue Sky.
The students participated in a combination of indoor and outdoor activities that were specifically designed to help understand the importance of working as part of a team. Key intended learning outcomes from this exercise were as follows:
- To understand what constitutes a high performing team;
- To understand the need for effective working relationships within a classroom and business environment;
- To appreciate the importance of communication, trust, and co-operation within a team setting to ensure positive outcomes;
- To appreciate cultural sensitivities within a team setting and engage in cross-cultural interactions.
After the introduction in the morning, the session began with an ice breaker- the ball of truth! What better way to get to know each other and make new friends than by telling them your most embarrassing secrets! Let the day begin! This was followed by a video clip on F1 racing team which set up engaging discussion about attributes of top performing teams. Some of the key attributes identified by the students were co-operation, assigning roles / responsibilities, attitude, trust, common goal, share ideas, communication and leadership.
Students were then was then spilt into three teams. The agenda of the day was to take part in various team activities and reflect on performance after each activity so they can improve in the next. The second half of the day began with a game of arithmetic. Can you think of a better way to set you up after lunch!? The teams regrouped to list the lessons learnt from various activities in the first session. This led them to making a set of team rules. This was soon tested in the game of scrabble where the group had to make as many four letter words as possible in one minute.
After team-based learning, it was time to get personal! Students played a set of games that would reveal their personal psychological traits from the Insights Discovery Profile. Some were surprised with the outcome!
The day ended by reflecting on lessons learnt during the day from various team and individual activities. Students were encouraged to think about and have a clear idea about their objective of pursuing a postgraduate degree and get the most out from their time at Stirling.
Wednesday 17 September - Your Voice as a Business Tool
Being able to speak in a public forum is an essential skill for any manager. This full day session focused on helping students gain the confidence to speak out and present in a public forum.
During the morning part of the workshop, students participated in a range of practical activities/exercises which focused on developing the skills and confidence required to speak out and voice opinions in both the classroom and the workplace. The afternoon focused more specifically on developing the skills required to deliver effective, professional presentations – a skill that is likely to be called upon during their studies and throughout their career. Students had to prepare and deliver a one-minute presentation to their classmates and had the opportunity to learn from the individual feedback received from tutors.
Tuesday 16 September – Exploring Decision-making and Leadership
As part of the Stirling Management School ‘Flying Start Leadership’ programme, which runs in the first two weeks of semester one for all taught postgraduate students, the Masters in Business & Management (MBM) students undertook the “Lost!” game in which they had to choose people to save on a sinking ship. There were time constraints in which to save the people, as well as decisions to make about the personal items each individual could take with them.
After thirty minutes of group discussion, each group made a short presentation on their decision. Interestingly, working with the same information all of the groups made different choices. The next thirty minutes explored the reasons for such differences, and drew out implications for management decision-making. The group then considered key aspects of theory to better understand these differences ranging from “Self-interest? (Egoism) to Greatest good? (Utilitarianism) to Virtue? (Personal characteristics) and Universal principles / Golden rule? (Deontology)”.
The final thirty minutes explored leadership in group situations, identifying maybe different examples of leadership that occurred during the “Lost!” game. These included: Pop-up leadership – by an individual as and when required? Emergent leadership – an individual accepted by the group? Reluctant leadership – by a reluctant individual? Positional leadership – an individual as the captain? Knowledge leadership – someone with relevant experience? Invisible leadership – by someone without it being obvious?
These discussions are intended to provide a basis of engaging with the rest of the MBM programme so that students enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills of business and management.
Monday 15 September – Induction day
Professor George Burt (Programme Director) welcomed students to Stirling and provided a detailed overview of the programme. Students got to meet each other for the first time. They were also introduced to the teaching and administrative team. The day ended with a much deserved welcome reception for all international students. Here students got a chance to meet students from other programmes across the University.