There are many issues to consider when choosing a business school for a full-time MBA. One of the most important is the business school’s campus.
For Raghuveer Ramkumar, a current MBA student at Lancaster University Management School, the school’s campus location was the prime reason for applying. Raghuveer has been on Lancaster’s 560-acre parkland campus for nine months, and can already see the benefits.
“Since I was taking a year out to invest in the MBA, I wanted to remain completely focused and thought a campus, such as Lancaster, would be ideal for learning,” he says.
“Sharing the campus with students on different degrees has helped me develop a vocabulary to participate in conversations outside my immediate knowledge. This is thanks to the debating sessions, cultural nights, socials, the Lancaster community day and many other events that were hosted by different departments that I could participate in.”
The Lancaster campus is based in the North West of the UK and provides students with everything they could need with cafes and bookshops to supermarkets and banks all within a stone's throw. The school’s picturesque setting is designed to help students reflect, learn and improve their practice as mindful managers and leaders.
Lancaster's MBA cohort is kept deliberately small, with a maximum of 50 students per year, and this year’s diverse class boasts a 98% intake of international students, 47% of whom are women.
“The big advantage of the campus, is the opportunity to network with people” says Raghuveer. “I had been following an entrepreneur on Twitter. It was absolute serendipity when that person turned out to be an entrepreneur-in-residence here and we are now working on a project together.
“The small size of the class and the proximity with each other has given me more opportunities to connect with each one outside the MBA context. We are a family now.”
Shaswati Panda, who graduated from the Lancaster MBA in 2016 and now works in data analytics at Ernst and Young, agrees.
“The small MBA class size enables you to know each person closely, including professors, and learn from their expertise and experiences,” she says. “The college campus really helps. You have people from so many different cultures and courses around. Your exposure is vast if you take advantage of it.
“Doing a management program is about getting as much human interaction as possible” she continues. “The courses are a necessity, but understanding the cultural differences that you may encounter in a workplace and how to deal with people from different age groups is what gives you an actual view of the challenges that a manager faces.”
From October to June, Lancaster MBA students are based at the parkland Lancaster campus with trips to London and the nearby Lake District included throughout the program. From July to September, the class moves into London full-time so that students have access to the center of employment in the UK at the time they’re most active in looking for post-MBA jobs.
This way, the course is able to provide access to city institutions and finance professionals, who enhances the economic and finance modules, and also gives the perfect opportunity to network with past alumni and recruiters in the city.
“All the strong relationships and networks created within the cohort made for a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget,” says Maiko Sasaki, a 2016 grad and consultant at Ernst and Young in Tokyo.
“We always supported each other; we could help each other through tough times during the intensive courses, by sharing our knowledge and expertise through smaller scale workshops. We always watched out for one another.”
Shaswati too has made close bonds with her MBA classmates: “Through difficult phases, we could be there for each other. Whether someone was missing home, was sick or just struggling with the amount of workload, the fellow batch mates were always around.”
“We would go to the graduate bar after each difficult submission to celebrate or gather in the social hub to celebrate birthdays,” she continues.
“All these close interactions helped us forge some really strong bonds. We walked in as strangers and walked away from the MBA as friends for life.”