Cass is on a roll. Not only has its month, full-time MBA risen to 13th place in the most recent Poets & Quants composite ranking, but it has seen applications to its full-time MBA — and its cohort size — rise by 30 percent in the most recent year, to 87. That is partly because Asian students put off US schools by Trumpian rhetoric are looking to London, but also because the school’s MBA offering has evolved in interesting ways.
The MBA has a new focus on data analytics, which now pervade the core courses. Also, Cass was ranked fifth globally for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times in 2018, and the subject has become a big focus for the school. Its location in the City, London’s financial district, and close to the so-called Tech City cluster, Cass is perfectly placed to provide hands-on, experiential learning with hot new businesses and many profit from coaching and mentoring.
MBAs can work with start-ups in the school’s ecosystem in many ways. Some Executive MBAs mentor founders, faculty are involved in businesses that employ graduates, and the school has a £10m entrepreneurship fund donated by an alumni, to provide equity to early stage companies with high growth potential.
Cass prides itself on the high quality of its core modules, which students take from September to April, while they also work on a strategy project, consulting for a business on a problem they face. April-August are given over to electives, international study trips and the Business Mastery Project, a piece of self-managed research. Electives are grouped into several subjects — corporate finance, corporate strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, investment strategy, and marketing — while study trips include Cuba for a view of “an economy in transition”, Kenya for technology in emerging markets, Israel and Palestine for innovation and technology, and two to the US – Las Vegas or Silicon Valley.
The biggest change for Cass is the launch of its two-year online Global MBA, which will take in two cohorts a year of up to 40 students and start in February and April, with the inaugural one kicking off in February 2020. The school is keen for this to have a strong Cass flavour, and for students to feel that they are part of the Cass family. Which is why the first week is a face-to-face week in London, with another after six months and a final one at the end of year one, which will involve guest speakers and masterclasses, careers advice and networking.
Between trips to the mothership in London, the online MBA consists of six six-week modules which match as closely as possible to the classroom experience of the full-time or Executive MBA, with the same faculty, and students working in groups just as they would on campus. Soft skills and personal coaching are also taught online and face-to-face by the Cass Careers and Professional Development team.
In the second year students choose electives, most of which are online. They can also choose to take two at Cass, or an international elective along with full-time and executive MBA candidates. Whichever Cass MBA you choose, the idea is that it has the same focus on high-quality teaching of core subjects, supplemented by everything that flows from its London, and specifically City, location.
Prof Steve Thomas ,Associate Dean, MBA Program
“Our MBA opens up a new world of possibilities in terms of both knowledge, experience, contacts and networks that can bring you into paths you might not have anticipated before. The MBA opens lots of doors and also opens your mind to lots of things in ways you couldn’t have predicted, so opportunities will come your way. People go into new jobs, switching sectors maybe, starting their own businesses or moving into a portfolio career. That’s why it’s so important that the core courses are of the highest, most intensive quality possible — so people have the skills to be flexible and move in different directions.”
STUDENT: Maggie Schroder, USA, MBA class 2018
“London is a completely different kind of city to the ones in the U.S., and that on its own warrants the year abroad. On the course you get a real mixture of cultures and personalities, everyone is really supportive. I work in theater and I worried that there might be snobbery, but there isn’t at all. There is no feel that we are in competition with each other.
“People and the students seemed really honest and earnest, it as clear there were more diverse backgrounds than on some MBA courses. Cass’s location means that you have access to all of London’s industries, but the ability to take lots of overseas trips was really important to me.”