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Meet the Salford MBA Director – you’d better be on time!

By Feb.05, 2015

Dr. Yvonne Moogan

Dr. Yvonne Moogan, Salford MBA Director

I used to lock the doors if my Master of Business Administration (MBA) students were more than 10 minutes late for a lecture and not let them in until the break.

Not that I am confrontational, although students that I have worked with during a wide-ranging career that has spanned both the Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) sectors always know where they stand with me – probably because I am a blunt spoken Northerner.

Born and bred in Bolton – North West England- and being the first member of my family to go on to attend university full-time, I am always there for my students – unusually often giving them my personal mobile number: 07815 491 522.

Originally an accountant, I gave this up after a couple of years for a career “with a buzz”. That happened to be education and now many years later that buzz still remains!

The reason for the potential student lockouts was because at that time I was working for a for-profit private education provider, who being American owned their own set of rules and standards for the courses they ran to ensure their students got the “biggest bang for their bucks”.

No need to lock out Salford MBA students!

MBA Students

MBA Students
University of Salford

These lockouts were needed since these courses involved young graduate students – mainly international so with a vast array of cultural differences which brought with it its own set of problems. This is now very different – when working with mature students I am now finding myself working with having just become the head of the Executive MBA programme at the University of Salford.

Now that I am back in the public sector – where I had previously been for two decades – I intend to transfer the best of the private sector knowledge to ensure that Salford tops the Executive MBA offering league. And I am both uniquely placed and have a track record to do just this.

I was originally head-hunted where I had run the MBA programmes and had successfully tripled the student intake from 30 to 100 twice a year.

I am someone not only with a background in successfully delivering MBAs but had also undertaken in-depth research into what students wanted from universities – an area which obviously appealed to a private body establishing itself in the forefront of FE in the UK.

Somewhat unusually, I got two major academic papers published before I had even completed my PhD.

I have also past experience of educating team colleagues, as some 90% of them did not have the teaching qualifications I had as well as finding time to undertake research for those bodies involved with teaching international students with a paper that explored how best to approach the issue of having a vast range of cultural differences to deal with.

In my time at Liverpool I brought this home forcefully when my attempts at greeting Malaysian students in their own language resulted in them collapsing into laughter.

Open Learning programme experience

MBA Students

MBA students at MediaCityUK

In my past roles I have also been picked to head the Open Learning programme because I take the personal approach that students like –

“If you pick the phone up, make things more personal – that’s what students like. You’re then more likely to retain them – and that’s what I did.”

But the move over to Open Learning meant that I had to hit the road – or actually the rail – as this involved travelling extensively to the companies’ centres around the UK.

This saw me shuttling between all the major cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds – often having to spend two nights away from home at a time – an itinerary that began to impact on my family who live near Salford.

“When I went to Leeds, I had to get up at five in the morning and was not getting back until nine at night, and even on holidays, I always had my Blackberry on.”

With my 11-year-old son Adam about to start high school – “I know he wants me around less but I wanted to be around more” – and an eight-year-old daughter Emma, I decided it was time to call a halt to this increasingly demanding life with prolonged enforced absences from my family.

So I applied for the MBA post at the University of Salford

The reasons I chose to accept the role of head of the Executive MBA programme at the University of Salford effectively mirror the ones why students themselves head here.

First and foremost it is because the University of Salford Business School is AMBA-accredited, which places it in the top 2% of universities, not only in the UK but around the world. It also means students have had to have three years of management experience with their companies before they can apply. And this, in turn, dictates the quality of the student body itself, making it mature and more experienced than those MBAs that are not accredited. It is a badge that those who have wear with pride.

It is also a renowned centre for research, an area that I am keen to get more involved in again and the University has already provided me with a PhD research student to assist me in this.

Then it was because Salford Business School has a different approach – “very quirky and brilliant” – in terms of direct practical application to the real world. The students for one are called upon to provide a 10,000 word report in the MBA Business Innovation Live Project, which directly benefits the company for whom they work, so potentially their career and CVs.

I was also impressed by the way Salford Business School had taken half of the intake to Hong Kong,

Watch the Salford MBA students in Hong Kong

and the other half to Rio the previous year as part of their course for a week to meet business leaders – and for free.

But didn’t this happen at my previous institutions when I was there?

“No, there you couldn’t take them on a bus to hear a guest speaker…”

And the final unique selling point as far as I am concerned – the clincher as to why I wanted the job – was the location for the Executive MBA programme. This is at the vibrant university campus in the heart of MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, where even the BBC employees, relocated from London, are now happy to be.

Media City UK

Media City UK, Salford Quays – home of Salford MBA

Flanked by both the BBC and ITV, here is a happening location, one that provides a real buzz for the students as education still provides a real buzz of excitement for me and will continue to do so.

It is a buzz that I also transmit to my students – including punctuality.

That’s why, even when I locked some tardy students out of lectures at my previous work place, they were still queueing there anxious to get in when I opened the doors again…

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