Long gone are the days of the one-campus, classroom-based course. Today’s MBA students can just as likely be found off-campus; travelling internationally and doing consulting projects for real-life firms.
Lancaster School of Management’s full-time MBA – which takes students from Lancaster to London, and the Lake District - is at the forefront of this trend.
Each year, Lancaster’s MBA students also travel internationally, visiting a country that’s foreign to everyone in the class. This year’s class will visit Prague in the Czech Republic for the second consecutive year.
Every location has something unique to offer.
“The best thing about Lancaster is the kind of atmosphere that’s generated in the university,” says Shaswati Panda, an Indian recent MBA grad who lived in on-campus student accommodation for the duration of her studies.
“The campus is strewn with people from so many different backgrounds and age groups. Everywhere you look there’s diversity.”
Located in the north of England, Lancaster’s 560-acre campus, plays host to undergraduates, MBAs, masters and PhD students from all over the world. 18 nationalities are represented in the current 48-student MBA class. Lancaster’s 39,000-strong alumni network extends across 152 countries globally.
“An MBA is an experience, not just a course,” Shaswati continues. “When you interact with people from different countries, and on different programs, you get to understand business in a completely different light.”
Just 30 minutes’ drive from the university campus, the picturesque Lake District is the Lancaster MBA’s most unique teaching location.
There, MBA students develop their soft skills with team-building activities. And Lancaster’s mindful manager module affords students the time to pause for reflection and focus on self-discovery and critical thinking.
Portuguese Lancaster MBA Joaquim Vermelhudo graduated in September 2016. Looking back on his MBA experience, the trips to the Lake District stand out.
“The Lake District is a place that allows you to relax, and to organize your thoughts and ideas,” he says. “On the last visit, at the end of the MBA, you have time to reflect upon on the experiences that you’ve lived, and the next steps in your career.”
Shaswati agrees: “Every time we went there it was like a cleansing of the mind,” she says.
“It’s not just about assignments. It’s a time to connect with your classmates, your environment, and your inner self. For MBAs, it’s important, because to be able to manage people around you, you need to be able to manage yourself.”
While the Lake District is a break from the high-octane life of an MBA, in London, Lancaster MBA students are thrown into the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s leading financial centers.
Both based in London, the Lancaster MBA’s four-week consultancy challenge and eight-week corporate challenge see students solve real-life problems for real-life firms, like Microsoft, Barclays, and KPMG.
Catherine Isaza, a Colombian recent MBA grad, did her corporate challenge at Barclays, exploring the restructuring of the banks later-life mortgage products.
“It was a wonderful experience, and a really good thing for my resume,” she says. “The university also helps you with living costs. They know your budget will be different in London.”
Lancaster School of Management covers the difference in accommodation between living in London and Lancaster - giving Catherine the opportunity to experience life in London without paying the high living costs, or the high fees associated with some, even unranked, London-based business schools.
Prague, Czech Republic
The Lancaster MBA – triple-accredited and ranked among the top 50 MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times – is not limited to the UK.
In Prague, MBA students on the international business in context module go on company visits, experience local culture, and network with economic experts and entrepreneurs. Last year’s class visited Skoda, Tesco, Amazon, and a local brewery.
When Ghanaian MBA grad Eric Afriyie was considering business school, Lancaster’s focus on immersive, experiential learning stood out.
“The modules and the coursework at Lancaster was more practical and hands-on compared to the theoretical approach that I saw from other schools,” he says.
“By being in the Czech Republic, we could fully relate to whatever we learnt and experience the culture first-hand. It left a lasting impression, both personally and academically.”
Having graduated in late 2016, Eric now wants to continue his career in oil and gas, moving from technical to more generalist managerial roles.
“The Lancaster MBA has helped raise my level of personal awareness which will play a key role in all my future leadership roles,” he says.
Shaswati – who in Prague appreciated the exposure to an economy completely different to the UK – graduated in December. She’s just started a new job at EY in London; her first job outside her native India.
“When you finish the Lancaster MBA, your mindset changes,” she says. “It’s helped shape me as a professional. I do not see myself working in the UK without it.”
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alumni and programmes at Lancaster University Management School.