Dr Andrew Simpson, Director of the Sheffield MBA Programme, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in business turn around consultancy and specialises in the research areas of supply chain forecasting techniques, lean in the public sector, and operations strategy in innovative industries. Andrew talks to us about why the Sheffield MBA is leading the way for global managers today.
‘Keeping ahead of the fast paced business world is key to an organisation’s sustainability and success,’ explains Andrew. ‘And having effective leaders to guide the business through these economic changes is essential. As we know, companies are now demanding managers who can lead, are innovative and are problem solvers, whilst driving the organisation forward. Taking this, we have based the Sheffield MBA programme on the three core elements; entrepreneurship, leadership and consultancy.’
‘As a manager of either your own organisation or the company you work for, you will be responsible for dealing with uncertainty and for providing innovative solutions – dealing with risk and stimulating entrepreneurialism or intrapreneurism. Research tells us that entrepreneurs are able to do three things well: they cope well with uncertainty and indeed see the opportunities that uncertainty brings; they innovate, both in terms of product development and doing business; they also deal well with resource constraints, often as a matter of necessity.
'The Sheffield MBA opens up its participants to these real world issues, through organisation-based projects. In these projects the students are required to apply their theoretical knowledge gained during the programme and exhibit these three traits, providing innovative solutions to our client organisations, while being cognisant of the resource constraints of these organisations and dealing with the dynamic environment within which they operate.’
‘Andrew continues: ‘For decades the myth of the heroic leader, has held the popular imagination in its thrall, such characters as Alexander the Great, or Churchill are portrayed as the epitome of leadership. They are seen as “natural” or “born” leaders driving people forward through the force of their personality. Research however tells us that only a small part of leadership is attributable to such traits. Leadership, in fact, comes from how leaders behave and in the interplay of everyday situations.
The Sheffield MBA introduces participants to the many aspects of leadership. We give students the opportunity to reflect on their own leadership practice from their previous work experience. It also allows the students to discuss in a rich and diverse classroom, the differences in leadership approaches whether in different countries, different industries, or different situations.’
‘The skills of the consultant for finding and analysing information are increasingly important both within the organisation and when dealing with others. A large part of this skills set is his or her ability to communicate effectively at all organisational levels – the development of strong consulting skills are increasingly important for all managers. The global consulting industry is worth over $335 Billion annually and despite the recent global economic problems employs over 2.5 Million people worldwide.
Research shows that many organisations employ consultants as they lack the skills or expertise to investigate issues within their own organisations. In other cases they employ consultants to do the “dirty work” they do not have the managerial courage to do themselves. Whatever the reason for employing a consultant the relationship between the client and the consultant has been shown to be critical for the success of a consulting project.
The Mission of the Management School is to use this world-class research base, to develop knowledgeable and employable students, promote socially-responsible work practices and have a positive impact on organisations and society throughout the world.
Our globally renowned research investigates a range of areas that are at the forefront of the challenges faced by today’s organisations. Understanding the role of energy, environment and sustainability will become increasingly important in the 22nd Century as organisations are forced to consider the resource constraints of the globe upon which we live. The fair and respectful treatment of our fellow human beings is also an important research area of the school, the success of future organisations will be predicated on these behaviours.
Finally the generation of new businesses, within these constraints is key for the future development of society and hence the skills of the entrepreneur are needed more than ever. In summing up why the Sheffield MBA is the right choice Andrew concludes: ‘Equipped with the Sheffield MBA, we produce leaders and managers that are ready to develop organisations and inform society.’
There is more information on the Sheffield MBA here.