The Manchester MBA: What You Need To Know
They call it the Manchester Method. It’s a practice-based approach to teaching and learning taught at The University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School in northern England. “As with all MBA programs,” says Christopher Healy, the school’s head of MBA marketing and recruitment, “we will teach students about the fundamentals in business, such as strategy, finance, marketing, and economics. What we also do is allow our students to put that learning into practice whilst they are studying for an MBA.”
What does Healy mean by “put learning into practice”? In conjunction with classes, students also undertake three live consultancy projects, starting with the Not-For-Profit Project, in which candidates consult for such clients as the National Football Museum, the Prince’s Trust, or the National Trust. MBAs then work on a Commercial Business Project — past clients have included a range of start-ups, SMEs and blue chip organizations — and finally an International Business Project with the likes of Cisco, TNT, and Tesco. “This part of the program requires all our students to be around the world working on their consultancy projects,” Healy says. “At any one stage, we will have students in Brazil, Russia, Germany, India, and Japan. This is a great way for students to gain some consultancy experience if they don’t yet possess before enrolling.”
The three consultancy projects offer 900 hours of consultancy work, Healy says — more than any other business school in the world. Which means that in the Manchester MBA, “professional experience is key. We need to be sure that candidates will not only deal with the academic rigor of the program but also the real-life consultancy work with blue-chip organizations.”
NO MINIMUM GMAT SCORE
Alliance Manchester Business School was established in 1965 as one of the UK’s first two business schools. In September 2015, the school changed its name after Lord Alliance made a £15 million donation. In its most recent ranking the Financial Times placed Manchester fouth in the UK, 10th in Europe, and 30th globally. Manchester is also one of a small number of schools globally with triple accreditation from AACSB International, AMBA, and EQUIS.
As one of the UK’s largest business and management schools, Manchester has more than 6,000 students representing 129 nationalities worldwide in its centers in Manchester, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. It boasts more than 500 academic, teaching, and support staff representing over 45 nationalities. Research at the school covers all areas of business and management – from management sciences, marketing, innovation, work and employment, to organizational psychology, accounting and finance.
The average age of students in the MBA program is 29, Healy says, with students generally having between six and seven years (and a minimum of three years) of professional experience upon enrollment. About 38% of applicants are accepted, and GMAT scores vary: “We do not believe in having a minimum GMAT score, as we look at all characteristics of our MBAs,” Healy says.
AN MBA IN AS LITTLE AS 12 MONTHS
The Manchester MBA is an 18-month program with the option of also completing in 15 months or even as few as 12 months. The 18-month program allows MBAs to take all core courses, Healy says, a selection of electives both in Manchester and in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, all three consultancy projects, an internship, and an international exchange. The 15-month program offers all of that apart from the international exchange, while the 12-month program means taking electives sooner in the program, and not taking an internship.
MBAs can specialize with their electives in areas such as finance, leadership, marketing, technology, projects, and HR. Manchester’s consultancy projects offer applied learning in the sense that “it’s very much real-business,” Healy says, “although we don’t ask our Not-for-Profit clients to pay for this service and MBAs pay for all expenses incurred with this, as we very much believe in ‘giving back’ to the community.” With the Commercial and International business projects, clients fund the cost and any expenses incurred by the students — “and as an international element is a prerequisite for the IBP, costs can run up to £20,000 for an IBP client. This means they expect the highest quality of work from our students.”
Besides the consultancy projects, Manchester MBAs also have the opportunity to take a summer internship — “which means when they graduate they will have four new companies on their CVs and potentially exposure to four new industries that can help them decide on their MBA exit strategy,” Healy says.
Manchester MBAs enjoy an average 101% salary increase three years after graduation; excluding U.S. schools, Forbes has ranked the Manchester MBA 7th in the world for ROI. Upon graduation, most Manchester students (44%) stay in the UK, and an increasing number enter the technology sector at such stalwarts as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
“We believe the Manchester MBA is a transformational experience that can allow our students to come from a specific industry or job function and completely change direction after graduation,” he says. “This is because of three factors: our teaching, the exposure to new industries on the MBA, and through working with our MBA careers team.”