The Manchester MBA: What You Need To Know
The University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School in northern England 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, and their school recently underwent an ambitious £85 refurbishment and now includes common rooms/study rooms, event and meeting space, a new library, observatory, labs and a ‘University Green’ area with shops, bars, restaurants and green space.
Their teaching style is known as the “Manchester Method;” a practice-based approach to learning. “As with all MBA programs,” says Christopher Healy, the school’s head of MBA marketing and recruitment, “we 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.”
As one of the UK’s largest business and management schools, Manchester’s MBA class has an average of 110 students representing 30 nationalities worldwide in its centers in Manchester, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai.
The average age of students in the 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.
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.
In conjunction with classes, students undertake three live consultancy projects, starting with the Not-For-Profit Project, where they consult for clients such 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.
“One of my favourite aspects of our FT MBA is the practical nature of our consultancy projects. A sequence of client-based consultancy projects underpins our programme. These take place from the first week in the programme and culminate with our International Business project. Being a programme designed for ambitious business leaders, our projects are not merely an opportunity to apply and consolidate learning from other taught elements of the programme, they are the main learning conduit,” notes Xavier Duran, MBA Program Director.
Besides 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.
MBAs can specialize with their electives in areas such as finance, leadership, marketing, technology, projects, and HR. “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,” says Healy.