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Strathclyde Business School Strathclyde Business School

Part-time MBA: putting learning into practice

By Mildred Zimunya - Posted on 26 July 2017

From day one of my part time MBA journey I have been constantly learning and applying my learning from the MBA programme.

What has been key in doing this MBA has been the emphasis on understanding others, understanding the environment and the application of learning through the use of live case study examples from the business world. I have changed a lot in how I work with people - I listen more, I have learnt what it is ‘to be in the other persons shoes’, I have learnt to be more analytical using the many theories and tools taught to understand my work environment.

As a manager I have acquired a huge insight into understanding management issues and the technical skills necessary to tackle them. The MBA programme has been very well rounded in offering organisational management techniques to make decisions that benefit organisations and foster growth. I have been given tools that have already helped me unlock the nuts and bolts of some of my own work issues to enhance service delivery.

Before the MBA my view of the Corporate Profit-focussed world versus the Third sector, not-for-profit environment was very narrow, it was skewed towards a view that these two entities were enemies of each other and what drove them was very different.  However my view now is that organisations all want the same things and exist in more or less the same environments with similar challenges and needs around working with people, building successful businesses, sustainability and good leadership.

It’s been an incredible journey so far and the electives I chose were very much informed by my learning experience and my curiosity in how to make work environments better for employees. I feel a motivated work force is a key ingredient in organisational success. I chose the Developing Skills for Effective Management Consulting and through this I have learnt the importance of having the skills to listen, to explore issues that may be affecting an organisation, and to help organisations with the tools to solve their own issues and formulate winning strategies.

I also participated in the Leadership for Change and Innovation elective - this was about understanding leadership rather than being a leader. This is also in recognition that organisations are environments filled with creative and innovative individuals at any level and where organisations harness this resource they can think out of the box and find new and successful ideas within themselves to move their organisations forward.

These electives have reinforced the importance of acknowledging that employees often hold the keys to unlocking success and that it is important that organisations offer the right environment for this to happen. 

The beauty of doing the Strathclyde MBA part time programme has been that I have been able to put into practice what I have learnt throughout my learning journey.  I am definitely a more reflective person in my practice, I am much more confident in my view of management; I believe the skills I have gained have given me leadership skills applicable to any sector.

My fellow students and I have been on this MBA journey together and, although we are part time, we have had much opportunity to get to know each other. From the very first day we were placed in working groups and this approach has been consistent throughout. While we were put in these groups to work on various class assessments, being in these groups was a learning process on its own - learning to accept people, learning to understand that people are different, learning to view things from other people’s viewpoints. The mix of students from all business sectors and various nationalities has enriched my view of other cultures and broadened my understanding of the vital role culture plays in moving organisations forward.

Worldwide we know there are still very few women in management and leadership positions in organisations; moreover their skills are often ascribed to the ability to work in caring roles or to lead organisations with persons of their own gender. A report on the Guardian website confirms this observation “While more than two-thirds of the UK’s voluntary sector workforce are women, men still dominate leadership roles. In the UK’s top 50 fundraising charities by income, just 30% have female chief executives and only 36% of trustees are women”. 

This lack of representation from women leaders has driven me to pursue an MBA combined with my passion to develop skills to foster a motivated and actively engaged workforce. I aspire to practice good globally compatible leadership, to be a manager with strategic foresight and a mentor for my staff whatever their background or culture. 

My exposure to so many global companies - through access to other MBA colleagues and the many case studies - have given me insight into so many sectors and broadened my views of other fields of work. I look towards moving my business career forward and strengthening my links with my new found network of inspiring fellow MBA student colleagues.

I also hope one day my learning on this programme will help me realise my hopes to build and support organisations that help those most in need either through corporate social responsibility or charitable efforts that address the Sustainable Development Goals both here in the UK and in developing nations such as in my home continent Africa. My ideas stem mostly from a desire to help make a difference in people’s lives more than a desire to be at the top of the ladder. I feel my improved strategic, leadership and partnership skills and the support of our Business Enterprise Centre will help me fully develop these ideas. I have certainly found SBS a ‘place of useful learning’ and will continue to actively participate as an alumna of Strathclyde Business School.

If you're interested in our MBA programme starting in September, there are a number of upcoming MBA preview sessions



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 sbs-adviser@strath.ac.uk 

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