The Ashridge Experience
Interview with Mirjam Schokker
Ashridge full-time MBA 2006.
Ashridge combines a business school with an innovative organisational consultancy. The School works with around 500 organisations and over 6,000 executives worldwide on a range of management development and consultancy interventions. Consistently ranked among the world’s top business schools, Ashridge MBA programmes are also among the 1% to be triple accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and the AACSB. Set in a stunning location, Ashridge sits in a country estate surrounded by National Trust woodland, only 30 minutes north of London in the UK.
Could you give a brief overview of Ashridge MBA program?
Ashridge offers two MBA programs. The first is a full-time program run over 11 months and the second is an Executive MBA program run over two years. Both are focused on developing experienced managers to take on leadership roles with current or future employers.
What is the profile of your participants?
The profile is for experienced executives with an average age of 35 and 12 years of employment. Diversity is highly valued and this was reflected by there typically being 15 nationalities represented in a class of around 30 participants. In addition, there is a more even balance between male and female participants than in many MBA programs.
What makes your MBA unique among business schools?
Ashridge established its reputation as a business school for executives focusing on developing leaders to deal with real business issues. This is reflected in the MBA program. The very personal approach to learning (30-35 students per cohort) allows for extensive interaction with the faculty, many of whom combine teaching on the MBA with consultancy and management development work with major international organisations.
How is the program structured?
The programs begin with the some key fundamentals but quickly move towards integrating the different subject areas around the key business themes that matter to leaders of the future. This involves working on live case studies within organisations – both in the UK and internationally – to add value and apply learning in a very practical way. The final phase of both programs is a consultancy project where students work individually on a strategic level project for a client organisation or their employer.
What can you tell us about your school's success in finding its graduates employment?
The Executive MBA students typically continue to work with their existing employers moving to more senior positions after graduation. The majority of the full-time students enter the program with the view to making a career change.
Due to the class size and the profile of the students Ashridge focuses on assisting participants to develop their future career goals. In my class, 80% of the participants were employed within three months after graduation.
What advice would you offer to a person who is thinking about getting an MBA?
An MBA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to learn about the most up-to-date thinking on business leadership but also to learn about oneself. Therefore, it is important to enter any program with an open mind regarding one's future career direction as the most important lessons that you learn are about yourself.
What is your school doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking?
Each year 6,000 managers go through Ashridge, attending its various executive education programs. Ashridge carries out research in a number of areas, principally through its dedicated research centres - the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre, the Ashridge Centre for Business and Society and the Ashridge Leadership Centre. Ashridge is also one of the only business schools in the world to have its own consulting arm - Ashridge Consulting Limited.
About Mirjam Schokker
“I am a hotel professional with 16 years experience. My future career aspirations are to enjoy the interaction and stimulation of working with people. I am particularly interested in the not-forprofit sector and would like to work for a company that has strong ties with the service industry”.