If you think business schools are all about shiny steel-and-glass buildings in the heart of bustling cities, then think again. Lancaster University Management School in the northeast of England is set in a 560-acre green-field campus on the doorstep of the Lake District, the most spectacular and famous region of countryside in the country, where the school takes students for reflection and team-building exercises.
The LUMS full-time MBA is perhaps influenced by all this fresh air and space, because a course called The Mindful Manager is woven into the 12-month program. The course aims to build “business wisdom” and explore the “art and craft” of management alongside a “personal reflection tutor” who helps students to analyze their own biases and motivations. This runs alongside a course in Cognitive Conduct, which helps students learn how to “construct and deconstruct” arguments.
Rest assured, though, students do not spend all their time wandering lonely as a cloud. LUMS also covers the core MBA subjects such as Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Management, and like many progressive schools throws in one on Responsible Management and Ethics, too. A Career Advancement Program also runs throughout the year, and Lancaster’s Corporate Strategy module was ranked first in the world by the Financial Times in 2018, with the course as a whole ranked third in the UK for salary increase.
Twelve weeks of the program are spent in London. There is plenty of practical work, most notably in the four Active Learning Challenges: the Management Challenge, Entrepreneurial Challenge, Consultancy Challenge, and Corporate Challenge, the latter of which takes students to London for six to eight weeks. In the second term, students go on an overseas study tour.
The class is small, with about 40 students, but diverse, with around 20 nationalities represented. From 2014-16, a quarter of grads went into professional services or consulting firms, and around 15% into IT and telecoms, finance, manufacturing, and engineering.
Dr. Peter Lenney, Program Director of the full-time MBA:
Here at Lancaster we have set about building the sort of MBA I wish I’d done before I became the director of a multinational company. Indeed, it’s the sort of MBA I wish my managers had done. We give our students the necessary training in the functional disciplines. However, unlike most other MBAs, we also provide a highly practical program with a central mission to develop in our students the essential capacity for exercising quality business judgment in the complex, turbulent, uncertain, and often ambiguous world of business.
Bharti Syal, MBA 2018
I have six years of work experience in digital transformation, working in India and London, but I wanted a broader business understanding. In particular, I wanted to specialize in strategy, and Lancaster is excellent in that. The cohort is small, which means that you get to know everyone personally and the faculty have time for everybody. I have learned a lot from the Mindful Manager aspect of the course. I have certainly developed the questioning habit and become far more critical and skeptical — not just with others, but with myself as well. I ask questions about my own decisions, which helps me not make the same mistakes again. When I talk to alumni, they say that this aspect of the course certainly has a long-term impact.
Lancaster prefers to list all the employers of Graduate MBAs rather than list top hirers.