Drop your conceptions of tweed-clad academics in musty rooms and meet jet-setting Xavier Duran, an Associate Director on the Manchester Business School Global MBA.
A sneak peak into Duran's world reveals that he could be in Dubai one week, Hong Kong the next and on the third he could be in Miami!
Xavier teaches Managerial Economics and facilitates workshops in every city where the Global MBA has a center. This international part-time MBA program has centres in Sao Paulo, Dubai, Hong Kong, Miami, Shanghai, Singapore and Manchester. Every now and then Xavier makes a pit-stop in Manchester too.
It isn't the commute of your typical university academic, but Xavier Duran spends as much as two to three months per year just travelling between cities for a reason. Manchester Business School wants to ensure that all its students receive the same high standard of learning no matter where they are.
Students on the program can choose to study on more than one campus. While Manchester is a popular choice, Xavier mentions that Miami and Dubai are growing in popularity too. Being able to attend workshops in any of the seven global centers means that students can gain knowledge of and connections in more than one market.
Xavier emphasised that differences between students in different cities enrich the system: “Middle Eastern students tended to be very outspoken and fond of discussion, Western educated students tended to question theory a lot more, Chinese students tend to go the extra mile in terms of preparatory work and US-based students draw a lot from their work experiences”.
His role involves the balancing act of teaching the same case studies on different campuses while remaining sensitive to cultural backgrounds, but consistently enough so that everyone leaves with a thorough understanding of the issues.
These are some of the serious decisions he makes while queuing for customs or being shown around town by some of the 450 students who enrol yearly on the Global MBA. And his hard work has paid off: defeating jet lag and explaining the different growth options that managers have in game theoretic terms has won Xavier the Academic of the Year for the Global MBA!
He doesn't get time to do as much sight-seeing as he would like, however, as preparing to teach brilliant and agile minds from “every single industry you can think of” takes a lot of preparation!
For Xavier, giving students the best resources and networking opportunities possible through virtual learning and workshops is the cornerstone of the Global MBA at Manchester Business School. He shared a remarkable moment with me where he witnessed a student offer a colleague a job online during a coffee break!
After eight years of teaching on the Global program this frequent flier is moving to a post as Associate MBA Director for Manchester Business School’s Global MBA. There he will be employing his understanding of student needs and expectations to extend the workshop experience beyond the classroom.
He will pay particular attention to improving the rigorous admissions criteria as there is a lot more demand for places at Manchester than can currently be met. He will be on the look out for candidates who will enrich the program for everyone else on it.
More stories about students, alumni and programmes at Manchester Business School here