Day in the life of an MBM student

We aim that your time at Stirling will be a dynamic and vibrant experience where you will be able to engage with a wide range of business leaders and experts, in and out of the classroom, as they share their secrets of success.

AMBA accredited

Business and Management (MSc)

2016-17

BUSP007 Personal & Professional Development

MBM and MBA students joined forces to discover potential new ways in which to get ahead in business through effective negotiation skills.  After exploring some of the benefits of working towards a win-win situation, students tacked a jigsaw challenge with a twist…some of the pieces were wrong…’I wonder how they could get them back…

The last PPD workshop of the year was very much focused on the future in a session led by Professor Dave Mackay.  Changes in technology and attitudes has led to a very different ‘normal’ in terms of the type of organisations and how they operate compared to what might have been anticipated a few decades ago.  Building on this concept, students were encouraged to look ahead into the future in order to explore the potential impact of identified trends, further advancements in technology, and changes in attitudes and behaviours upon organisations.  Once these issues were identified, discussions then focused on the competences that would be required by managers in the future in order to effectively run these organisations.  Providing a current leader’s perspective of ideas that were put forward by our emerging leaders was Dave McGinley, Group MD with A&P Group – a leading force in ship repair, conversion, marine and energy services.

BUSP010 Strategic Management 

The last “real” module in our programme (only Research Methods is left!) was Strategic Management with Prof George Burt. We were taught together with the Data Science students with whom we had already had Operations Management in November and Business Consulting in January. Bringing the two groups together helped in sharing different business and technology perspectives on strategic management.

The module can be described as the capstone of our programme: it brought together all the different subjects we had covered during the last seven months (such as operations management, marketing, people management, economics etc.), and we needed our new knowledge and soft skills to manage the group interactions and task successfully.

In groups of four or five students, we worked on nine individual case studies that Prof Burt had assigned to the groups. The case studies we were given were very interesting and diverse and covered a wide range of companies from different geographies and industries, ensuring that we all saw how these theories would be relevant wherever we might work in the future. These case studies ranged from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) including Tethia Lungmeng making paper from sandstone to Soujanya an Indian company specialism in paint colorants for the automotive industry to China Science Fiction World publishers of Chinese science fiction in comics and books to multi-national enterprises (MNEs) including ZPMC a Chinese  company specialising in port and harbour plant and machinery to IKEA and its market entry into India to Engie a European energy and utility company with growth aspirations for electric vehicle infrastructure to Falabella a Chilean based supermarket conglomerate with locations throughout South America (see picture for group members) to ITT Motion the world’s leading brake manufacturer to the automotive industry. One other organisation was Channel 4, the UK television company who had developed its business through the innovative use of data and were now facing threats from organisations like Netflix and Amazon Prime. All of the organisations were facing threats, as well as market opportunities. As managers how would you respond?

The overall goal was to develop strategic recommendations for “our” organisation. In order to do this, we had to do an extensive analysis of our case study company. We learnt about important theories and tools that helped us to understand our organisations, in an applied manner, and analysed their business idea, the corporate structure, and the economic and competitive environment.

Every day, we had to present the result of our work so that Prof Burt could give us feedback and help us sharpen our understanding of both the theories and the case organisation, to find the challenges and possible direction for the future direction. The student presentations and lectures in the morning were usually followed by an intensive group work phase in the afternoon (and sometimes until the evening or the night...). The final day was a challenge as we had to present our conclusions on one flipchart sheet – clear, concise and relevant to the case study management – “the clients” and focused on sustainable competitive advantage.

Here are a few examples of our final presentations:  

 Soujanya

 IKEA in India

The module was a very challenging but rewarding experience during which we learnt a lot. We could make use of all we had learnt in our previous modules and we were able to find many links between the different subjects on the MBM programme. So, the Strategic Management module rounded off the whole programme and brought it to a satisfactory conclusion.

 Written by Teresa Moser (MBM student)              

BUSP007 Personal & Professional Development

After gaining an insight into some of the challenges encountered in the food retail business during Gordon Allan’s enthusiastic guest lecture during the Marketing module, it was time to put the theory into practice as students headed off for a site visit to his company, Malcolm Allan.  Malcolm Allan is a third generation family company who have been manufacturing quality Scottish meat products since 1954.

Jake, in particular, was looking very fetching in his protective clothing ahead of exploring the various manufacturing processes undertaken across the site.  After an interactive Q&A session, students were asked to vote on proposed alternative packaging options ahead of a new product launch. 

Having built up an appetite looking at all those sausages, meatballs and pies, students returned to the MBM classroom geared up and ready to participate in the Education Means Business session.  This is a consultancy taster workshop where recent alumni and representatives from local organisations introduce a current 'issue' which they are facing as they seek to grow their business.

This is the third year that this session has been run, and suggestions emerging from discussions consistently make a real difference to participating organisations who advise us that they have adopted many of the ideas which have been put forward by MBM students.  Previous students have also commented on how beneficial it has been to be able to engage with organisations on real-life issues where they can then put various aspects of the MBMs theoretical modules into practice.

BUSP005 Marketing Management

The marketing management module was one of the most interesting modules that we had so far in the course. The module was taught by Professor Paul Freathy (see picture right) from the department of Marketing and Retail Studies.  The lecture began with the introduction to the marketing management module. Professor Freathy briefed us about the areas which we will cover in the module and what we are expected to do in our assessments. Later on the day, the class was asked to divide ourselves into groups of 5 and one group of 6 for the group assignment.

 

The afternoon session began by giving us an insight into the concept of   “Understanding the Customer” which one of the key aspects of any marketing process. The lecture was very interactive and time was allotted to discuss the various concepts and the students were asked to give their views on the various marketing concepts.

We had lively debates throughout the module, which enabled all students to have the opportunity to identify and discuss issues, coming to an agreement to be ready to present our ideas. For example, we started by defining customer needs and value proposition for Amazon.com, Highland Spring (a Scottish-based internationally renowned company selling organic water), RBS (a global bank headquartered in Edinburgh) and Tunnoch’s (a local family owned biscuit and cake company). Each setting is different, with different customer needs, different customer value propositions and channels to market.

Prof Freathy also kept the class very lively with his funny ways of interaction with students which made the module more enjoyable to us.

As part of the module, the students had the opportunity to interact with Mr Gordon Allan, Managing Director of the Malcolm Allan business (see the main picture below). They are a local family-owned butcher producing a variety of meats as well as a wide range of meat-based products for convenience eating. He gave us a lot of information about the growth and upbringing of his business and the struggles he faced in developing his business to its present form. As future entrepreneurs and businessmen/women, his only advice to us was to be determined in our way to achieve things in life. We also had the opportunity to visit the Malcolm Allan factory based in Larbert, situated a few miles from the University. We had a tour of the factory, discussed the various stages of the manufacturing and distribution process, which helped reinforce insights from our Operations Management module; as well as exploring supply chain management and channels to market.

On the final day, various groups presented their understanding of marketing strategies adopted by a variety companies. These companies included Highland Spring, Amazon.com, Jet Blue (budget airline company), and my group presented on Highland Spring, RBS, Tunnock’s and Apex Hotels: a wide variety of businesses which helped us identify common approaches as well as unique approaches.

Each of these companies had a different approach to the market, which was based on the needs of their target market. It made me understand the link between the customer value-creation cycle through to the marketing campaigns launched by each company, regardless of platform.

Written by Razin Mohamed MBM student

BUSP011 Business Analytics

Business Analytics elective within the MBA and MBM programmes is concerned with developing skills to allow critical evaluation and validation of data, to allow the creation of information which benefits the needs of a business and supports strategic decision-making.

As a student, I feel this is particularly relevant in the ‘digital age’ where the role of data is growing at such a rapid pace. The challenge that most businesses face is understanding what to do with such data to generate insights for the business; what the different types of data are, the best analytic methods and tools to deploy to logically help in using the data effectively.

The teaching within this module is broad-based blending the analysis of case studies and data sets with very useful analytic tools, including chi-squared hypothesis problem-solving tool, regression analysis, normal distribution curves and standard deviations prior to construction of a build a factory simulation model. The model and specialist software (Simul8) used, allows the creation of a working simulation where data can be input, verified, understood and adapted to create measurable change that can then be reported to a management team to support strategic decision-making.

The assignment was based on a motorcycle manufacturing company, located in Italy, which enjoyed high demand for their products; however, the company had experienced quality issues and production capacity challenges. For example, issues such as utilisation and capacity constraints. Using the business analytic techniques taught on the module, data was extracted from excel data set and validated through modelling and sorting to assist with establishing the cause of the problems.

 

Problems identified included discrepancies in input data, which is part of the ‘data cleansing’ stage of the process. Once cleansed this data set was analysed to produce output information which could then be further modelled and simulated to provide real-time information about the causality of changes, therefore allowing options to be proposed and explored, and recommendations made.

Dr Gerry Edgar (the module co-ordinator) aptly stated “if we don’t measure it, we don’t control it”, this was very clear when looking at multiple areas of the production system. If measurements and metrics are not defined correctly and used where appropriate, operations become difficult to control and any data generated can become ambiguous and potentially misleading.

Management teams need information to optimise production or service delivery, deliver quality (again across product and/or service) and ensure efficient resource allocation, whilst allowing customer needs and profitability expectations to be met. 

I have learned some fantastic tools and methods to use when analysing data. I found the teaching of probability, normal distribution and chi-squared methods of particular use. All of which is highly adaptable for problem-solving in business and as such, I am certain there will be many future situations in which I can apply them.

BUSP017 - Organisational (mis)Behaviour

This elective module is taught by Prof Stephen Ackroyd, who is visiting us from Lancaster University. We have a larger class size for this module as it is an elective for both MBA and MBM students. We were given some pre-reading last week - 2 case studies and a chapter from his book.

Day 1 – Monday –Today I was challenged to think what is behaviour, and what it means - observation is not enough to understand and interpret behaviour – we need to know what motivation causes the behaviour.  What a person believes, determines their behaviour.  In our initial discussion of the case studies, we looked the kinds of misbehaviour that occur in the case study organisations, from the lowest level staff workers to the top management. Management misbehaviour is not easily studied, for obvious reasons. Also, what may seem like misbehaviour from a public morality point of view may be perfectly acceptable to the executives, and justifiable from an economist’s point of view (disproportionately high pay and rewards for example.

Day 2 – Tuesday – Lectures today were about different types of misbehaviour in organisations, Prof Ackroyd explained his map of misbehaviour types – there were three main distinctive forms of misbehaviour, recognised from the research into employee behaviour in industrial/manufacturing environments.  1. Time wasting including absenteeism 2. Effort limitation and 3. Pilferage.  These are made possible by the informal self-organisation that occurs in any group situation. These three are changing now with the change in the job market, and new forms of misbehaviour are emerging.

Prof. Ackroyd talked about the problem of how to deal with misbehaviour and gave us a new perspective. Very often squashing one type of misbehaviour (e.g. lateness) will result in another problem (e.g. increase in sick days), because the underlying motivation is still there. So perhaps it is better just to be aware of the misbehaviour, and then think about whether to act to crush it or to allow it to continue.

Day 3 – Wednesday – We looked at how the economy has changed from manufacturing industry to services and retail, changing the nature of the job market and the opportunities for misbehaviour.  We also looked at the behaviour of top management and how their motivation and priority has changed from aiming to grow the company to maximise the return on capital invested.  There are opportunities and motivation for misbehaviour but much current practice is not illegal, although of questionable morality.

Day 4 – Thursday – A different pace today, with a more detailed look at the case studies in groups of 8 or 9 students. Everyone group had a turn feeding back to the class.  This gave us all an opportunity to think through the case studies in terms of the business models and misbehaviour – was there really any action that can be considered as misbehaviour?

Day 5 – Friday – Today we looked at the potential new forms of misbehaviour emerging in the new structure of employment.  People are generally employed in low-skill activities in call centres rather than in factories these days, so the types of misbehaviour are changing.  Employers do not value employees’ ideas and input, preferring to control them with scripting and KPIs.  When you look at it that way, it is not surprising that the employees misbehave by becoming disengaged from the business interests of the organisation.

Day 6 – Monday – today’s lectures summarised what we’ve learned over the last week, and we had a session clarifying the assignment requirements, so now we can all write up our chosen case studies, I hope!

Overview of the module:

Traditionally, the study of organisational behaviour tended to assume most employee behaviours was good and had the best interests of the organisation at heart. With that assumption, not much misbehaviour was observed, and that which was detected, was treated as rogue behaviour and it was assumed that crushing it was easily done. However, Prof. Ackroyd brought us a new perspective on organisational behaviour, which I had not considered before. 

Using the concept of misbehaviour to look at what is going on in an organisation is potentially very informative, we saw the potential pitfalls of crushing misbehaviour in one area – it may cause a bigger problem elsewhere. Misbehaviour is often allowed and disallowed at the same time – the manager may be aware of it but does nothing, in order to elicit good-will. For example, the manger may not crack down on time-wasting at a quiet time, in order to be able to achieve co-operation in putting in extra effort at a busy time.  He explained the concept of effort-bargaining and the idea that the workers would form informal self-organised hierarchical structures, and limit effort, or misbehave in other ways in order to make the direct control of the manager less of a burden.  It is valuable for managers to recognise what is going on, and identify the processes and mechanisms involved in the particular forms of misbehaviour in their organisation. All in all, the module has made me think about why people behave the way they do in the organisations I’ve worked in and challenged me to look at the underlying informal structures and processes that are contributing to that behaviour.

 

BUSP007 Personal & Professional Development

The importance of team working was revisited with a session on how to make the most efficient use of your resources in a Managing Effective Teams workshop.  Teams were pitted against one another through a series of team challenges which required a combination of strategy, planning, communication and creativity.

It was time to ‘dress to impress’ as students were put through their paces during a practice interview session.  Interviews were tailored to reflect the type of questions that students might be asked in relation to a specific job that they had identified.  Emily and Lauren from the Careers & Employability Service were on hand to offer detailed feedback to each interview candidate.

BUSP009 People Management

In February, students were introduced to the main people management functions in organisations.  Topics covered included workforce planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, reward management and diversity management.  Students were taught through a combination of lectures, engaging group workshops and a lively presentation session.    Throughout the module, we examined the strategic importance of human resource management and reflected on the daily dilemmas involved with managing people in organisations.

As part of the module, students were engaged in a group project exercise where they had to devise a people management strategy for a company case study.  Each group had a different case study, ranging from a luxury department store, a car hire firm, a home improvement store, a large printing company and a grocery supermarket.  The groups developed their strategies during the module and presented these on the final day to the class.  The group project allowed the students to really get to grips with the themes covered on the module.

 

BUSP020 - Business Consulting

Whether students plan careers in consulting or as executives, consulting skills – being able to engage a group to solve a complex problem in a short time – are important to have.   The business consulting module is a week-long project which prepares students for the realities of life as a consultant by simulating a real project. The module is designed and delivered Catherine Tilley, who worked with McKinsey & Company for 13 years, providing insights from the world’s number one global consulting firm.    

The students started the week working in teams to understand the case and define the client organisation’s problem.   On Monday, teams began to define the issues our client faced, and to immerse themselves in an analysis of the industry.  On Tuesday, they dug deeper into the data, and started to identify the key issues to resolve and how they could approach these.  Students present their first findings (from a clients financial and background information):

On Wednesday, the teams spent the morning meeting client executives (role-played by faculty) to deepen their understanding of the case and to build their skills as interviewers.

Students prepare to interview a client executive: 

Students had to be able to engage with the client’s management team, who included the CEO as well as key functional directors and managers.

Students had to analyse each interview looking for confirmation of issues as well as looking for contradictions between the management team.  Having analysed the interview data, the students spent Thursday preparing recommendations for the clients, developing and writing presentations to give to the client’s management (again, represented by the faculty) on Friday. The module was designed to help students experience the expectations and demands of working in a world-class professional services environment.

A photo from one of the team rooms, where it is evident that teamwork, mutual respect and diversity of backgrounds is harnessed to encourage creativity that generates appropriate ideas and potential solutions to address the situation faced by the client.

Throughout the week, the students were also encouraged to work on their personal and professional development, again using techniques that are used in leading global consultancy firms.

Students share and discuss their development plans:

Creating a supportive environment is a hallmark of leading global consultancy firms as this approach is designed to build mutual trust and harness knowledge to develop each individual to achieve their potential.

Although the week was intense, it enabled the students to experience all of the steps of a consultancy project, from client inquiry to client engagement to the development of client recommendation as well as client relationship management, in a realistic setting before they begin their own client consultancy projects over the summer.   They were encouraged to see the company’s challenges from the perspective of senior managers, as it is too easy to develop solutions that are not client-oriented. In addition, the students also had the opportunity to reflect on their own career paths and ambitions, and consider the personal skills required to achieve these ambitions. 

BUSP007 – Personal & Professional Development

It was ‘all about your future’ as the new semester began on 16th January.  The first week was largely dedicated to a series of practical workshop focusing on preparing students for the next step after they leave Stirling.  Careers Consultants from the University’s Careers & Employability Service Emily Sandwell, Lena Bauchop (pictured) and Lauren Ferguson joined forces to work with students on career choices, writing/enhancing their CVs and effective interview techniques.  ‌

Laura McEwan from Dogfi.sh Mobile enjoyed working with the students so much in September that she returned as part of these career management skills workshops, although this time focusing on the CV/cover letter application processes used by small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs).  She was joined by Rachel Maitland from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who provided an insight into the traditional approach taken by larger organisations of online applications.  Students were then able to receive one-to-one advice on the structure and content of the CVs in order to ensure that they were selling their knowledge, experience and skills in the most effective way.

In the midst of these workshops, MBM students, together with their MBA peers, attended a full-day workshop introducing them to the world of consultancy.  Stephen Westwood, an established consultant, trainer and author delivered this session, exploring the highs and lows of participating in a consultancy relationship by getting students to work through case study examples from some of his past clients.

 

BUSP001 – Personal & Professional Development

‌Dr Mike Walsh led a Facilitation Skills workshop to round off PPD for the Autumn semester.  In addition to lecturing at the Management School, Mike is also an independent consultant and facilitator, working with organisations spanning the private, public and third sectors.  

BUSP006 Responsible Business in Society

Monday the 5th of December was a vibrant day for the MBM class characterised by lively discussion and debates on the role of business in society. Students presented their group work exploring contemporary controversies over the use of natural resources by corporations across the globe; from mines in Australia to water droughts in California and diamond extraction in Sierra Leone to fracking in the UK and the Netherlands. Issues analysed by students include the role that the extractive process plays in the life of communities close to mines; the impact on the natural environment and our natural resources; the violation workers' and other stakeholders' Human Rights; corruption, protest and civil unrest. 

The presenters highlighted that the dilemmas the extraction process of minerals and fuels pose are often insurmountable as business, governments, and communities try to balance the economic benefits with the environmental and social challenges of the process. Students noted that while the conduct of some corporations proves detrimental at the social and environmental level, other companies successfully strive to mitigate the negative consequences on key stakeholders through successful ethics management. 

Presentations were followed by a normative discussion on how the benefits and burdens of the extractive process should be distributed; drawing on philosophical approaches such as utilitarianism, libertarianism, and egalitarianism, students analysed the particular conditions and contextual factors and expressed a well-rounded view on what can be considered right or wrong in each case. Questions and answers enabled the refinement of arguments and critical reflection but also a friendly, supportive, and collaborative learning atmosphere among peers.

BUSP001 Personal & Professional Development

In order to help contextualise key aspects of business operations, students visited Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems in Livingston (near Edinburgh).  They gained an insight into the manufacturing process, and discovered the mechanisms used by Mitsubishi to involve staff in identifying areas for time-saving improvements which have a direct impact on efficiency and, ultimately, overall costs.

 

After returning to Stirling, we were joined by Mark Kerray, a strategy, innovation and brand consultant, and owner of Taranpaint.  Mark stressed the importance of having a strong personal brand in the workplace, and drew parallels with key branding concepts and models that he uses every day in a business context.  During the session, students had the chance to reflect upon their own personal brand using the ‘Talking Mats’ toolkit.

Later in November, students got the chance to work again with Kate Donne and Carolyn Konrad, who they had also delivered the Communication and Presentation Skills sessions during FSLP.  This time round, they were focusing on Assertiveness / Conflict Resolution in the workplace.  A high energy session ensued with students participating in role play in order to clearly identify the differences between aggressive, passive and assertive behaviour.  Students also discovered how to say ‘no’ in a respectful manner, as well as diffusing situations of potential conflict.

Progressing on from reflective presentations, saw students participate in a reflective writing workshop which enabled them to critique each other’s reflective writing skills in preparation for the module’s second assignment.  

BUSP002 Accounting & Finance

In the accountancy part of the module, we spent time discussing the purpose of accounting and accounting reports, and the ways in which managers could pick up important signals from examining financial ratios by analysing the income statement and the statement of financial position.  We spent some time examining a wide range of company reports, and noted that the annual report has now become part of the company's corporate communications.  We also discussed how some measures are more useful than others, and emphasised the importance of cashflow.   By understanding cashflow we were able to understand not just liquidity but how careful management of cash enables a business to survive in difficult economic and competitive circumstances.

Students related some very useful anecdotes about their own experiences, which just goes to show that there is often more than one way of getting it right! However, everyone agreed with the old adage “cash is king”. 

The finance element of the module focused on the important decisions financial managers need to make and also engaged on the ongoing debates within the finance theory. By breaking down further the basics of corporate finance (Investment, financing & liquidity decisions), we looked at investment appraisal, the impact of information on securities via the efficient market hypothesis (for example the impact of the outcome of the referendum vote for ‘Brexit’ had on the FTSE 100); technical & fundamental analysis (trading strategies such as moving averages and head & shoulders); capital structure (looking at the “ideal mix” of debt and equity of companies);and the dividend puzzle debate and risk & return. The foundations of finance theory were set and examples from the real world were also used. All students had the opportunity to engage in discussions throughout the module.

BUSP001 Personal & Professional Development

PPD activities continued in October with an Excel workshop aimed at ensuring that students were equipped with the necessary skills required for the Operations Management module.

Reflective practice is an essential part of PPD and, after an introductory workshop, students embarked on their first reflective presentation in front of their classmates, allowing them to put into practice some of the skills that they had learned during the Flying Start Leadership Programme.  Each student received constructive feedback which helped them prepare for their first assessed presentation.

BUSP008 Entrepreneurship, Theory & Practice

Having finished Economics, students moved on to Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice. This module explores entrepreneurship theory in a practical context, looking at both entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial businesses they start. We began by exploring what is meant by the term “entrepreneurship”, looking to break through some of the common stereotypes. Students were then broken into groups and assigned an entrepreneur and entrepreneurial business to assess for the duration of the module.

Over the following days we had a number of lively debates and discussions on issues ranging from the entrepreneurial personality to visioning within a new venture to how we can define and measure success. We were joined one day by local entrepreneur Sally Weatherly, founder of web-based business Guzled, who talked about her own experiences of starting and running businesses and teased out further the complex issues of entrepreneurial failure and success. To end the module, students presented their findings and recommendations for their case companies, drawing on the concepts and current theory discussed during the module.

‌‌‌BUSP003 Economics

Next up was Economics. In the MBM economics module, the objective of the class was to build a “toolkit” of economic theories, formulae and ideas that can be used to broaden our perspective in preparation for decision-making in business.  We considered the ultimate objective in business: to maximise profits, and we showed that whilst business owners might intuitively think that maximising sales will maximise profits, economic theory (in particular the concept of diminishing returns to production) tells us that sometimes selling less can create more profit.  We also considered how recent shifts in economic thinking – inspired by behavioural economic research – help us understand the success of some real-world advertising, strategy and HR decisions in big business.  For example, game theoretic concepts such as the Ultimatum Game tell us that people value being treated fairly, and that people are more likely to reciprocate, rather than take advantage of, fair treatment.  This tells us something about why Google provides free breakfast, lunch and dinner and Virgin offers unlimited leave for staff.  While these employment benefits exist partly to attract and retain the best, highest-skilled workers from the labour pool, they also activate reciprocity from staff: being treated fairly encourages workers to be more productive in return, effectively shifting firms’ production possibility frontier in a way that increases profit potential. 

Welcome and Flying Start Leadership Programme

Monday 12thstarted the academic year with a welcome to Stirling Management School and MBM Induction Day. This provided a chance for new students to meet each other, as well as the teaching and administrative team, for the first time. After a general introduction to Stirling Management School, the MBM students were then provided with a detailed introduction to the MSc Business and Management programme by the Programme Director, Dr Suzanne Mawson. Induction is an important part of the unique and innovative Flying Start Leadership Programme (FSLP) which was introduced three years ago to help all of the Stirling Management School’s postgraduate students make the transition to studying at the University. It provides a wide array of events and activities to help students identify their ambitions and goals for the year. It also is designed to help students identify leadership and management skills and capabilities that they want to develop during their time at Stirling, as these are highly sought after by future employers. 

FSLP runs over the first 2 weeks of the new semester, covering a wide range of issues including: developing cultural intelligence, communication skills, time management, fundamentals of financial management, understanding business metrics, team work and team building, leadership as well as academic writing and study skills. For MBM students, the elements of FSLP are integrated into the Personal & Professional Development (PPD) modules. PPD is an integral part of the programme and runs throughout semester 1 and semester 2 so that students can constantly monitor and evaluate their personal development.  PPD aims to help students develop greater self-awareness, awareness of others, impact of self on others and others on self, critical thinking, leadership skills and team-working competences that are vital to becoming an effective and resilient manager. PPD is designed to support life-long learning. 

‌As the FSLP moved into week 2, the MBM students were joined by the MBA students for a day of creative thinking with DogFi.sh mobile development and data architecture specialists. The students were split into small groups and tasked with developing a new ‘app’. Students were required to identify the market need, potential competitors, brand logo and ‘app’ value proposition. In addition, students were required to identify initial financial investment with a clear indication on what activities the investment would support and the projected income flows. At the end of the day the students presented their proposal in a ‘dragon’s den’ style event, setting out their proposal, and the winning ‘app’ was announced.

Later in the week, the “Solutions for Business” event was held in the evening. This event is designed to allow MBM students and all of the other University postgraduate business programmes to meet and mix to facilitate networking. 

Students, in small groups, were asked to address one of five current business challenges and were allocated a mentor to help them discuss and explore their issue. These issues were designed to highlight the complexity of business and management as well as provide a context in which to place the various degree programmes to help individual students focus on the year ahead. The mentor was either an alumnus of Stirling Management School or a senior executive working within the local business community. Mentors were drawn from industry and commerce from organisations such as HSBC, Scottish Widows, BskyB, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Virgin Money, Diageo Plc, Labels4Kids, Wood Group Plc, the Institute of Directors as well as public sector organisations such as Royal College of Midwives, Destination Stirling, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and Scottish Development International. At the end of the evening the students continued their networking – with mentors and new friends from other programmes – enjoying food from Mexico, Asia, USA and the Mediterranean/North African regions.


Business and Management (MSc)

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