But being an effective leader requires more than just the technical know-how an MBA can provide. At Warwick Business School (WBS), a compulsory module on their full-time MBA program is putting their students’ interpersonal skills to the test and teaching them how to interact better with their peers.
The LeadershipPlus module runs for the duration of the one-year full-time MBA and is made up of five dedicated workshops exploring everything from having courageous conversations to sustainability in management.
“On an MBA you learn lots of really useful skills and knowledge in areas like finance and strategy and marketing, but really effective leaders often have very good interpersonal skills as well,” explains Bob Thomson (pictured), a professor of practice at WBS and the LeadershipPlus module leader.
“A big part of it is self-awareness—if you’re going to be a leader, knowing what you stand for is very important,” he says. “It’s the ability to manage yourself, to understand what your values are, and then translate that into how you operate.”
Getting out of your comfort zone
While executives will be used to dealing with difficult situations, Bob says that the intensity of the LeadershipPlus module on the MBA at Warwick Business School is often a surprise for students.
“If you’re learning new things about yourself it might initially be uncomfortable, but hopefully in a good way!” he laughs. “If you’re an extremely rational person and your interpersonal skills are not that great, then us asking ‘How do you feel? What are your emotions?’ can be challenging.”
Ultimately, though, Bob says the module proves successful with most of their MBA candidates. At the end of the module, students are assessed in part through a personal essay about their experience of the module—”we deliberately ask them to write in the first person because it’s about their journey,” Bob explains.
“When I read their assignments, I read some really rich material about the journey they’ve been on, and what they want to do to continue their development,” he adds. “It’s about being open to the process, and saying ‘maybe I don’t know everything’.”
The LeadershipPlus module doesn’t only focus on the self, though—it also tackles global issues, and how these affect leadership, including questions of sustainability and ethics.
“We do reflect that you’re leading in a context,” Bob explains. “You wouldn’t have thought about global warming if you’d been managing 30-40 years ago, but now you have got to understand these environmental issues, as they’re going to be present for most organizations.”
From jazz singing to an MBA
Kristen Rossi (pictured) is a current student on the full-time MBA at Warwick Business School.
Having spent ten years in the performing arts industry in Asia, including as a jazz singer for hotels in Vietnam and Hong Kong, and she’s no stranger to dealing with diverse groups of people. Even so, LeadershipPlus was a daunting process.
“We just finished our last two sessions for the term—it’s been really intense!” she admits. “After every workshop, I would go home and really reflect about who I am and why I’m doing certain things, and do I want to change and how should I change.”
While Kristen is still figuring out what her post-MBA career might entail—”as much as I love singing I can do more than that,” she reflects—the skills provided on the LeadershipPlus module will prove invaluable.
“I’ve found it really helpful, for example, to think about how to have more courageous conversations, so that you can have discussions and it not end up as an argument,” Kristen says.
“It’s great if academically you can excel, but if you can’t understand other people and can’t understand yourself, how do you apply the knowledge that you’ve gained?”
Warwick Business School
BSc Management with Marketing
I loved Warwick business school. The staff is supportive, my academic tutor was key in my development throughout the 3 years and you have to meet with her/him every term. Most professors are helpful and would happily offer support if needed. You also have office hours and can contact professors by email and through the forum. In general, WBS instills in you the willingness to learn and the resilience needed for you for whatever career you choose. Very international community which broadens your horizon and makes you more open minded and self aware. You will most certainly make friends and memories for life. I recommend that you get outside of your comfort zone and try new activities with your friends! WBS also has a great reputation and offers careers opportunities, and careers support throughout the degree. There is the opportunity to do a year abroad to further develop on a personal level. I wasn’t able to do this due to Covid but I would have loved to do it during normal circumstances! Would definitely recommend this. Although Warwick is not a city university, the campus vibe has a lot of advantages, especially at an undergraduate level. You are always around familiar faces, and in a student environment. Moreover, Birmingham is only 20 mins away from Leamington spa and London is only one hour away! Perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway!
Life at Warwick Business School
Pursuing my master's degree at WBS has been a game-changer in my life. With high-quality education, interaction with students from across the world, amazing campus life and much more. I was able to learn about business, finance, project management and strategy all in one course: MSc in Management at WBS. Besides the top-notch education from the best professors, I also enjoyed being a part of fun societies and participating in fun activities such as scavenger hunts and so much more. The school also organises many company visits and interactions which help students get a head start at finding a job. As my course came to an end, I also have a good full-time job placement in my hands. Overall, my experience at WBS was a great one.
The Warwick Business School was like a dream come to life for me. The University ranking speaks for itself, from top-tier facilities to some of the best professors I had to honour to study with I fell in love with my course. Interactions with people from all over the world gave me a newfound confidence in myself. Career prospects after graduating are endless due to the contacts of the universities and the success rate for previous students, it does open a lot of doors for students in various career fields. The campus life is quite good as well with a lot of student groups and clubs, and extra circular activities to engage students at all times. Loved my experience.
A good business school
It is a very cutting-edge, career-oriented business school, all courses are very practical, and the college does a very good job of career service. From the hardware and facilities to the staff, the student experience is at the core of the school and student satisfaction is taken very seriously. I understand that many universities in the UK are relatively traditional and can occasionally be rigid in terms of rules and regulations, and although WBS has a relatively short history, this makes it more innovative and dynamic, which is essential for a business school. The downside is that because it is on the outskirts of Coventry, it is a long bus ride to the city centre, not to mention the difference in experience from a big city like London.
The people, campus, staff. It’s a very enjoyable environment and it’s particularly good for learning and playing sports. The people there are extremely friendly and welcoming and it’s very easy to make friends
What I Like About Warwick
I’ve personally liked my experience at Warwick so far because of the amazing people I’ve gotten to meet and how many opportunities we students are provided with to learn and grow. Within Warwick, I’m part of the Business School, a learning haven comprised of well-structured modules and extremely helpful people All in all, a great place to be :)
One thing that stood out for me was the campus life, you felt like part of a community. The social aspects of the student union and on-campus accommodation meant you can easily get together and enjoy with friends. Additionally, I felt the course provided a variety of subjects allowing me to enhance my knowledge, from Marketing to Law and Finance. Overall I would most definitely recommend this university to friends and family.
Excellence self catered
The campus is very welcoming and Modern. There are many opportunities at Warwick but it is up to the student how do they want to make the most out of it and the staff at the school will definitely helo as much as possible. The location and the ranking have been amazing.
Warwick business school
Warwick business school is one of the best universities around the globe with a solid base of economic and business studies. Moreover, students get a chance to study in a diverse and warm environment with professional stuff which tries to provide the best opportunities for career development. One of the memorable features of the university are great events which sometimes take a place in one of the landmarks of the London city, the Shard building.