Strategy in the making: Lancaster MBAs share ideas with Saatchi CEO
Published 16 March 2011
Students on the Lancaster Full-time MBA are getting an unparalleled opportunity not only to watch how strategy unfolds at one of the world’s best-known companies, but also to help shape it.
As an integral part of the MBA’s Mindful Manager stream, Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, is making four visits to the MBA class in the eight months from January to August.
In the first of four facilitated workshops Kevin shared with the class latest company information, and outlined their strategic plans for the future.
But this is not simply providing a window into the company’s workings – the MBA students will be required to advise on what they see, after analysis, as the ten priority areas for the company over the year ahead.
In successive visits they will work with Kevin Roberts to assess what progress has been made against those priorities, and whether new pressures or opportunities in the business environment demand a changed course of action.
Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts on the Lancaster MBA
In this video, we follow Kevin Roberts as he takes students through the first of four workshops on the Lancaster MBA's Mindful Manager module.
Watch more video in the Lancaster MBA video gallery
Managerial decision making under the spotlight
‘What’s so powerful about this course,’ says Peter Lenney, who leads the Mindful Manager module, ‘is that it has a really strong focus on developing practical wisdom and clear-sighted business judgement – it forces students to think about how you can deploy theory mindfully in a shifting business environment.
‘It will provide insights into how you reach managerial decisions, and the process by which strategy is shaped and refined. And our students are doing this alongside a man whose own span of influence and knowledge of the business world is enormous.’
‘It’s a hugely exciting development for us, and a unique experience for those on the programme,’ adds Programme Director Chris Saunders. ‘It’s makes the Lancaster MBA the only MBA where students are engaging in live decision-making with a top global CEO.’
The Mindful Manager module is a key stream running throughout the MBA programme, and brings together the MBA’s focus on learning through action. Via a combination of consultancy interventions at intervals through the programme and regular personal reflection, students are encouraged to reflect on theory in practice.
The process is both collaborative and individual, explains Lenney. Much of the project work is done in teams, but from the start all students keep their own reflective log, which is a formal part of the course. ‘We’re driving and developing students’ ability to learn from experience – the real learning for any MBA student starts when you leave. Our task is to help student realise that, and learn just how to do it.’