Leading With Impact Module To Be Introduced For MBA Aspirants From Next Year At University Of Essex

In an exclusive interaction with BW, Nicolas Forsans, Director of Business School at University of Essex, talks about the scope and career prospects of MBA programme of the university. He also shares insights on the scholarships offered by the university. Excerpts:

Where does India stand as a market for University of Essex (UoE)?

India is a priority market for the business school, particularly because in India we have got a lot of functional institutes. India has a track record in startups, creating new companies, being forefront of the business and we wanted to tap into this potential by targeting to Indian students who wanted to do something exceptional with all the extra they require and the MBA is exactly for what we are recruiting to enable them to run the successful career in business and innovative business thinking.

What you are exploring during the visit to India?

We have an event tonight and we are meeting some of the students and alumni who got a degree from Essex and are doing very well after their graduation. Some are running their own business or are in the middle of senior level management position but we will also talk to those who will be applying for an MBA at Essex. So, I want to meet them and discuss their priorities for the year ahead. So it’s a way of getting to know each other before they come to Essex and also networking with companies.

Tell us about the scholarship that UoE is offering to Indian students now? Are there any key benefits for Indian students?

We have got a number of scholarships, some of them are full scholarship and others are 50% distant so half the fees. We want to target those applicants who have unique ideas, what they want to do with the MBA in their pocket and how they want to apply their ideas and the skills that they have acquired in order to make an impact to serve society and schools for business. The key benefits for Indian students is an opportunity to study MBA for free which is quite a significant benefit.

What are some career options that one can explore after studying courses in UoE?

We have two types of students, those students who come to create their own business so MBA helps them to develop their skills and learn more business or to position their business in such a way that they will be able to meet market level. The other type of students is those who want to acquire individual business so they can work in an existing organization and maybe develop a new venture within that organization so the organization might be more sustainable in future.

What kind of change do you see in the global education industry and how is it impacting the employment market?

The first thing I will say is that the competition is very intense, there are many quality providers out there and increasingly there is a need for business schools to clear what they stand for. Essex has been one of those universities that has a clear message out there and it’s about disrupting the way conventional business lies. So it’s about challenging the conventions and Essex has a very long history of disrupting the way of code. Essex is able to do something that has an impact on those students who join us as they took the skills and impact from us.

Job readiness is one of the burning questions for youth today so what kind of skills one institute needs to empower in order to make students employable?

Decorum is changing increasingly if we talk about the industry revolution which is all about digital, I don’t think everybody is an engineer or a coder or programmer but I think the one who will succeed in the future are those who can understand what you can do with digital or what you can do with the data and analytics. They can have informed discussions with social experts, with coders, with engineers so that they can bring together the technical expertise. In terms of skills for the future like critical thinking and the ability to inspire, I think today those businesses which succeed are the ones who have got some sense of purpose. If you can’t implement it into your behavior standards within the organization then you have no values. So for aspiring senior management, it’s all about inspiring others through the communication of values and sense of purpose but also invading it into the way the organization does business.

In our MBA programme, we have a module next year which is called ‘leading with impact’ which is not about leading other people but it’s about leading an impact and getting the best out of people by making sure they too develop themselves and make an impact out there. Because it is about making a purpose and sense of impact to the benefit for the society. MBA stands for sustainability as without sustainability you can’t have the business. It is about embedding and making the students ready for tomorrow as the business models.

As a director, what goals you have decided for coming 3 to 5 years?

The key focus is to spend some sense of purpose that we have in MBA and maybe spend some ways in which we support our students in developing their own ventures whether it’s the business or their own ventures for the organizations. Something that is wide open right next to the business school that opens next month is the innovation center. Half of the building belongs to the university and half of the building is the new initiative within the university to develop entrepreneurship focused sessions, training, and network opportunities to equip our students to whatever it takes to create their own business. So the Indian students can join the MBA and enjoy the innovation center next door and get a startup visa for next two years to work on their own business in the UK, which is something very brand new at Essex and I want to develop this further. This is one of the way we want to emphasize what Essex MBA is about and is mostly about entrepreneurship and improving entrepreneurship for our students.

What is that one advice that you will give to young students and professionals for success in life?

I would say to be open minded because opportunities are there where you least expect to find an opportunity.  Especially when you come up for the MBA program, what I have been telling is every year the students who join the MBA programme with a particular objective in mind like I want to be a banker or I want to work in an MNC so they take different modules or take part in different activities and experiences accordingly. If you want to be successful in life you need to be open-minded not just having a sense of purpose but having a clear destination in mind because otherwise, you end up on missing out an opportunity because you don’t recognize them as an opportunity.

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