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The University of Southampton

MBA students make a difference

Published: 6 December 2004

Management students at the University of Southampton working towards a Masters of Business Administration award (MBA) have been praised for helping to boost business at the companies and organizations where they have worked on projects.

The School of Management is about to recruit the next intake of managers and leaders who want to expand their skills by studying for this qualification, which is respected throughout the business world. In both 2002 & 2003, the University's MBA programme was ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) among the top 30 MBA programmes in Europe.

"Real-life projects are an integral part of the course," explained Director of MBA Development Dr Roger Plant. "Over the years, students have tackled a phenomenal range of challenges in both the public and private sectors. They have made valuable contributions to the companies and organizations they have worked with."

Teams of up to six students go into organizations for up to two weeks to tackle any approved consultancy task. A member of the academic staff supports each group and a consultancy report is produced at the end, which becomes the assessment on which the students are graded.

Staff at the Blackwater Valley and Hart NHS Primary Care Trust in Hampshire worked with two students on a stop smoking strategy. They analysed systems, procedures, outcomes and marketing capabilities, researched evidence of effectiveness and profiles of smokers and developed a validated questionnaire to survey public knowledge and attitudes.

"The team must be very proud of their tremendous efforts, their perseverance to fully understand the complexities of the NHS, the exactness to elicit the details as well as the full picture and lastly their breadth of vision to think "outside the box" and come up with a focussed approach to improve our service deliverables," said Health Improvement Manager Chris Chappell.

Two students worked at HIPPOWASTE in Fareham, a company which has developed an alternative to the rubbish skip, large strong bags which can be filled with household or garden waste, then taken away by a company lorry. With HIPPOWASTE experiencing phenomenal growth exceeding 700 per cent in the last year, MBA student projects examining company branding and planning have helped HIPPOWASTE to stand back and take a fresh look at its strategy to continue improving yet further.

Strategic Projects Leader Ben Clark, who is a University MBA graduate himself, commented: "The exercise worked very, very well and both the company and the students got a lot out of the placement. I would recommend this service to any company which wishes to scrutinise its business strategy and spot potential opportunities for improvement and growth."

Managers wanting to find out more about inviting a team of MBA students into their business should contact Dr Roger Plant on 023 8059 3630. An information evening for potential students will be held at the School of Management on 16 December at 5.00pm.

Notes for editors

  1. The University of Southampton's School of Management has an international reputation for academic and teaching excellence, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Accounting, Banking, Corporate Risk, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Management Sciences and Risk Management. In October 2000 the national Quality Assurance Agency graded the School as excellent in the assessment of its teaching quality for Higher Education. The School achieved a score of 23 out of a possible 24. Its PhD programme was awarded mode A recognition by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has around 20,000 students and nearly 5,000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.
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