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Why More MBA Students Are Staying Local

With COVID-19 disrupting international travel, more MBA students are considering business schools closer to home. We speak to three MBA graduates to find out the advantages of studying local

Mon Oct 26 2020


Iain Wright has a passion for serving his local community. Born and raised in the North East of England, he began his career as an accountant, but later decided to enter politics.

In 2004, he was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Hartlepool, and went on to government roles including Minister for Housing, and Minister for Apprenticeships

“I was privileged to be an MP, but I never felt I would be in Westminster for life,” he explains. 

When then Prime Minister, Theresa May, called a sudden election in 2017, Iain made the decision not to stand, and took up a role with the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW). 

At the same time, he decided to pursue an MBA.

“I had always wanted to challenge myself, and get a sense of the theoretical underpinning behind today’s business thinking, but being an MP meant I didn’t have the time,” he recalls.

As a lifelong advocate for the North East, Iain was always going to consider a local school. After careful research, he settled on the MBA program at Durham University Business School, drawn to its prestigious reputation, and value for money.

“If I could be part of a local university and contribute to the region, I wanted to,” he says.

He opted for the online version of the MBA, which allowed him to study without taking a break from his career.

Studying in Durham, Iain felt he was getting the best of both worlds. During the week he could study remote, and at the weekend he could take advantage of his school’s library on-campus.

For Iain, the main advantage of studying local was staying involved with his local community.

“As a proud North Easterner, I would really encourage people from the region to use and be part of the Durham University Business School success story,” he reflects. 

“I’m really happy to support the local business community"


Although Beth Houghton’s IT consulting career took her all around the world, after a decade of travel she was ready to make a change, and return home to Manchester.

Because she had spent so little time at home over the past few years, building the local network she would need to launch a new career in Manchester was a key priority for Beth.

Studying the Executive MBA program at Alliance Manchester Business School seemed like the ideal way to make these connections, while exploring new career paths and building out her broader business knowledge. 

“Alliance Manchester has a great reputation, and was well connected in the local business community,” she says. “It was great to return to my hometown after many years travelling, and reconnect with the city, friends, and family.”

By the time Beth graduated from the program, she had built the skills and network needed to land a role with local private equity firm, Palatine Impact. Today, she is head of the firm’s £100 million Impact Investing Fund.

“I’m really happy to be an active investor in the region and to support the local business community,” she reflects.

To those considering business school, Beth would highly recommend a local program.

“It worked out really well for me, and I’m pleased that being local means I’m still involved with the school.”