Dr Kellie Vincent joined Westminster Business School in July 2015 as MBA Director. Before moving to the Westminster MBA, Kellie was MBA Director at Oxford Brookes for almost five years. While there she has redeveloped the programme and allowed it to substantially go up in the rankings. Within an academic context Kellie has also worked for BPP, The Open University Business School and in the Further Education sector. Kellie’s commercial experience includes marketing and operations based roles within the FMCG and consultancy sector on both client and agency sides. Her commercial career translates into her teaching and research interests. Currently Kellie researches in the area of corporate psychopaths and specifically their impact on brands.
Can you briefly describe your school and programme?
WestminsterBusiness School, University of Westminster, is one of London's leading centres for professional business education. The School offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes, including the AMBA accredited MBA. All of our degrees are professionally focused and prepare students for working in their chosen careers. Alongside our high quality courses, students have opportunities to enhance their practical experience through internships, professional placements and study abroad. Our central London location provides strong links with the business and government communities enabling us to bring practitioners and experts into the classroom on a regular basis.
We have a diverse student population which reflects London's demographic variety and every year we welcome hundreds of students from Asia, Australia, continental Europe and the United States. We also have visiting scholars and researchers from all over the world. Although we are a school with a strongly international outlook, we also offer a range of part-time qualifications for working professionals.
At Westminster Business School we focus on developing confident, capable business leaders able to meet the challenges of succeeding in a global business environment. Our MBA graduates take up influential roles within key and growth industries both in the UK and overseas. They make a significant impact both on the businesses in which they operate and their wider environment.
They have the capability, credibility and judgement to manage significant projects, business units and organisations and provide inspired leadership from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Our MBA is designed for professionals with at least three years' work experience in a functional specialist or middle/senior management role who are looking to transform, reinvent or simply accelerate their career.
The Westminster MBA will help you develop skills and acquire knowledge that will be invaluable in furthering your business career. We have strong links with employers and professional bodies and our curriculum reflects the needs of the contemporary business world. Our enthusiastic faculty has extensive academic and professional experience ensuring that class work and projects will be applicable to professional practice and relevant to your own work environment.
Westminster Business School is AMBA accredited and a preferred supplier of an MBA programme to the UK government.
Why should someone choose to study a full-time MBA programme at a European school? What is the European MBA programme's unique advantage?
On average a European MBA would be a one year long concentrated programme, submitting more experienced students than your average USA MBA. The opportunity cost is also much lower as you would be out of work only for one year. You not only spend less but also you are faster returning into the world of work.
Rather than European we are International and feel that the choice of MBA is highly personalised so students would choose the Westminster Business School MBA as it has more strategic application than others.
As would be expected of a Central London MBA, students can expect to study with other professionals from around the world, due to London being such a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. We also have a healthier gender balance than many MBAs.
It is also worth mentioning that Europe has been and continues to extend its global reach across such services as: financial and legal to name two where agile clients are supported across jurisdictions and students studying here make those links through the opportunities to network, as well as types of applied tasks they are exposed to.
SMEs are the fabric of the European economy, but at the same time, major European cities like London and Frankfurt serve as financial hubs for big capital. In that sense, what is the main focus of your programme's curriculum? Is it entrepreneurship, financial markets or the general management skills needed to succeed in both?
We attract MBA candidates from a range of organizational backgrounds including NFP, AIM, public and private as well as a growing number of entrepreneurs. In many cases the MBA has inspired candidates to have the confidence to build on the practical applied skills in their own businesses. We are aware that SMEs are recruiting more competitively and will offer a much broader portfolio than could be accrued from a more corporate position. We have whole NHS cohorts who have to operate as a small business with the health sector and they are keen to share best practice and appreciate how to reframe a corporate model to create lean operations in their Trust or Partnership. We see this especially at the project level where discrete projects are rolled out which impact on the business and can be used as a template for wider application
How diverse and international are FT MBA programmes in Europe (faculty, students, graduates, etc.)?
As you would expect from a Central London Business School we attract diversely with disparate reasons for studying in London. From an African finance minister out of government to CFOs on gardening leave all the way to the inspired entrepreneur who knows that they cannot rest on early success. There are many languages and cultural backgrounds as well as the diverse organisations mentioned earlier. English is the common language so that is the language on campus. We haven't had an Icelandic recruit yet but that is all we are missing so far, Hello Reykjavik!
How is studying a FT MBA programme in Europe beneficial to one's international careercompared to a career in Europe?
Many masters programmes would offer a good grounding in relevant business skills, but the MBA operates at a more strategic level which necessitates looking beyond the parochial level and familiar operating systems, to a truly international perspective. Whether partnering a Chinese law firm or advising investors on the vagaries of a middle Eastern merger, these elements become familiar as part of the business landscape. The need to maintain professional standards whilst adapting to local needs is highlighted when students go to support emerging businesses overseas (Simon's module). They return with a greater appreciation of the challenges and better equipped to navigate them.
Can you cite some examples of what candidates have gone on to do post-graduation? One Ethiopian man I mentored had been rejected as a project manager for a major charity and on graduation took over as a director of operations for an international children's charity.
Other graduates went on to become:
- Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Trains;
- Consulting Manager, PwC Digital Practice
- Programme Director, NBCUniversal
- Chief Executive, The Scout Association
- Accountant, Mark Davies & Associates
to name just a few...
Networking is a big part of graduate management education. How big of a part does it play in your MBA programme? Is networking in a European MBA different from others?
Our alumni are very engaged and frequently act as mentors and come along to networking and panel discussion evenings. We ensure that there are regular opportunities to network including having a monthly evening which students know about from the start of their programme so they factor it in. Similarly there is an annual HRM conference which they are invited to, featuring 5 director level speakers. Students are invited to university events and business school specific talks as well as their own dedicated evenings.