University of Bedfordshire (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 921-930
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Management education globally is undergoing a period of significant change, with many higher education institutions seeking innovative ways of delivering this education. As part of a strategy reflecting these changes, the Business School of a UK university has embarked on a new practice-led vision to deliver imaginative and innovative international-level management education to its students. This vision seeks to place corporate, industrial, and community engagement at the heart of its mission.

After evaluating its current MBA programme, the Business School decided that the full-time MBA programme it offers to students needed to include fairly early in the curriculum a more realistic feel for the business environment. As a result, since the start of the academic year 2012/13, the university has launched an event called the ‘MBA Practice Week’ for each of the new intakes to its full-time MBA. This takes place after week-four of the course. Activities within this practice week consist of a variety of team-building and networking activities, focussed teaching and learning exercises, ‘Dragons' Den’ type presentations, and personal development assessments. The main purpose of the week is to incorporate elements required for the development of creative mindsets, and to expose the students to the skills needed by business leaders and practitioners of the future.

At the end of each practice week, a survey was conducted in order to understand how the MBA students are learning, and what they felt about the knowledge they had gained at the university. So far three rounds of survey have been completed, with the intakes from starters in September 2012, and February and April 2013, and a total of 156 survey forms were returned – 69 from round 1, 57 from round 2 and 28 from round 3.
The survey covers 15 topic areas. Respondents were asked about their pre-MBA experience, expectations for their MBA, and a self-assessment of their knowledge and skills both before they started the programme, and following the first five weeks of the course including the practice week. In particular students were asked about their experience of the course, the skills they felt they had gained from this, and for suggestions and comments on their experience of the programme thus far.

Data analysis is in process using Survey Snap, SPSS, and Excel. Initial findings indicate that the students felt the first four weeks of the course had taught them new and useful knowledge, and that they had enjoyed the practice week in particular. Detailed results will be discussed in the full paper.
The findings from this study will inform our course design and teaching practice, and in turn will contribute to improving student performance and satisfaction.
Practice, experience, MBA, survey.