The full time MBA at Manchester has finally started in anger. The pre-MBA stage with its fun in the rain at Brathay and gentle warm ups in Accounting is no more. We’re now a week into the real thing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what the first term at MBS involves, here’s a quick run down:
1. Financial Accounting – how to read and interpret the balance sheets, cash flows and income statements of companies.
2. Marketing – what it says on the tin. How companies should identify, create, develop and segment their markets.
3. Economics for Business – what macro-economic factors are at work in global markets and how they materially affect business.
4. Corporate Finance – the calculations that companies need to make when making investment, acquisition and financing decisions.
5. Skills for Successful Management – the practical, interpersonal, business and consultancy skills that are fundamental to management success.
6. Guest Speaker series – alumni and others visiting the school on a weekly basis to share their business experience.
7. Not for Profit project – live consultancy work with a third sector organisation.
Enough of the dull factual stuff. You want to know what I have taken out of my Manchester MBA experiences so far. Well here it is, the top learnings stand at:
- There are a number of cultures around the world where regular male on male physical contact is a perfectly appropriate thing to do. I think I’ve just about got over my ‘stiff-assed Brit’ instinctive reaction to the hand on the shoulder or the stroke down the back but I’ve probably offended half the class in the process.
- Tardiness is (rightly) the number one no-no at the school. You may think that paying your fees entitles you to act like a client and swan in at 9:15 but be prepared to be hung, drawn and verbally quartered if you rock up so much as five seconds after the action has started.
- Powerpoint skills are a mystical and arcane art for both lecturers and students alike. Check out here for an idea of the sort of thing I’m talking about.
- Despite working at the business school, the teaching staff are still academics first and business people second. “How so?” you may ask. Well, consider whether the following exchange would happen in the world of business:
Client: “Great pitch presentation but we can’t give you the contract.”
Supplier: “Why not?”
Client: “I’m afraid your references were not cited in the officially approved Harvard format.”
Supplier: “Oh bother.”
On a serious note, with the increase in the level of intellectual challenge that comes with the real start of the program my enjoyment levels have jumped massively. Nothing like learning something new every day to get you out of bed in the morning. Five weeks gone, c. 70 to go. In the words of one Mrs D. Smith from Norwich, “Let’s be having you….”