On-island MBA proves popular across all sectors

THE opportunity to gain a globally recognised professional qualification without having to travel to the UK to study has once again proved popular.

The average cohort of the Masters in Business Administration qualification, which is run by the GTA University Centre in conjunction with the University of Southampton, is 12 and runs over two years.  This year, 14 have started the course, which includes young managers from the States of Guernsey who will use year one to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration.

‘Undertaking an MBA is a considerable commitment so it’s very encouraging that delegates from both the private and public sector are able to access this world class programme.  Individuals and employers clearly recognise the value of continuous development for senior managers and directors,’ said the GTA’s Chris Edwards.

‘The MBA course has been very successful and we’ve had more than 60 people graduate from it. Previous cohorts and those currently studying will add enormous value and have an important role to play in ensuring their organisations and the island remains competitive.’

The course, which aims to give students a grounding in the latest management techniques and thinking, provides an understanding of strategic management and an insight into business issues through individual research and by covering a wide range of modules including effective leadership, contemporary marketing, decision modelling and analysis, corporate finance and operations management.

Professor Edgar Meyer from the University of Southampton School of Management, which is one of Europe’s leading management schools, said the course would challenge every student.

‘It is intense but both the GTA University Centre and the University of Southampton have many years’ experience of supporting students and we want to do what we can to ensure there are no barriers put in place,’ he said.

Prof. Meyer said the diversity of the students’ background made the course very interesting to teach.

‘Once again, we have a number from the public sector, the finance industry and from the medical and legal professions, and that diversity is important as it brings a different perspective and insight. That helps challenge all of us on our own ideas and how we think things should work and ensures that we are all constantly learning as we go through the course.’

He added that he was delighted that the GTA and the university could continue working together.

‘We have a long-standing partnership with the GTA and we are delighted that they have chosen us to run this MBA once again. Guernsey is very successful and islanders shouldn’t have to leave just to further their education which is why it is important that this course continues to be available.’

The fact that the course is studied on-island is the reason Clare Carre enrolled. As a mother of three young children and with a full-time role as senior project and change manager at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, she said she couldn’t have considered the MBA had it not been taught on-island.

‘It was the reason I decided the MBA would be a possibility. The lectures are pre-planned and take place once a fortnight on the Friday and Saturday, it therefore becomes part of your life. It is very time consuming but also extremely interesting and enjoyable. I am fortunate to have the support of the GFSC which helps to fit everything in.’

Mrs Carre, who is a qualified lawyer and ex- Army Officer, moved to Guernsey last year from the Middle East as her husband is local.

‘The MBA will be a challenge but it is an extremely interesting group of people who are enjoyable to spend time. Each member brings a variety of knowledge and skills to the MBA which provides a wealth of information.’

Rachel Norman, section head of the Cellular Pathology department at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, identified the MBA as the next step in career development after spending the last five years in a middle management role within the Pathology Department at HSSD.

‘I have worked for HSSD for the past 18 years and during that time, I have undertaken much specialised scientific training including an MSc in my specialist subject, Cellular Pathology, and a Professional Doctorate in Biomedical Science. Both of which were valuable tools to help me carry out my scientific role to the highest standards.

‘When I was promoted to section head, I became responsible for much more than my own progression and development, and my remit became much broader. Despite having a good understanding of operational issues it became obvious that to operate at a higher level and to deliver a service fit for the future an appreciation of strategic business management would be highly beneficial – not only for my own prospects but for those of the organisation as a whole’.

She said she is now looking forward to combining the learning on the MBA with “the science” to reinforce delivery of a robust, effective, cost efficient and reliable service to patients in Guernsey.

‘I have two young children and am keen to show them that lifelong learning is key to successfully undertaking any job. For me as a scientist, it’s natural to want to keep on learning as there are always new developments and so in order for us to deliver the best for our patients, we need to be at the forefront.’

Dr Norman said she had already identified areas that were beyond her comfort zone.

‘We are currently studying management accounting, which is not an area that I have much experience. Despite the pace and complexity of the subject I am already benefiting from a broader understanding of the various elements that make up financial reporting. I am sure that the hard work will pay dividends in the future.’

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