Student in the Manchester Global MBA


Erisa123

Hi guys
I am a third semester student in the Manchester Global MBA. I obtained a lot of good information here and I am writing this to give back to the community.
There are many points that I wish to convey. My hope is that you will get some good information about this program and distance learning in general from someone in the trenches.
The MBA seems to emphasize basic and fundamental skills and concepts. It is best you have the basics out of the way first. I assume that the GMAT is the vehicle for such learning. You should know how to write a great research paper, do basic algebra and time management skills. The business school falls under the humanities. Most of your work will be research and theory, not math. If you can write logical papers, you will do well. However, the Manchester program requires many other soft skills.
The soft skills seem to be developed at the workshops. These are intensive 3 day classroom settings that attempt to replace the traditional classroom. They consist of an assignment given at about 4pm on the first day. They are due at about 10 am on day three. Note that during this time, you have class and mini cases from 9am-5pm. I call the workshops ?the meat grinder?. Often you are placed in groups that are difficult mostly due to personality conflicts. You must learn to navigate the workshops, build an effective team and get the job done. About 1/3 of your grade comes from the workshops.
For the most part the quality of the students are high. They hail from all corners of the world. It seems some classes have a heavy African component or Asian component. The older African students (45+) have a reputation for being freeloading, having trouble with English and lacking basic computer skills. The younger ones, mid 20 & 30s (which have been in my groups) have all been brilliant and hard working. The Asian and European students seem to follow a more normal distribution with most hard working with a few bad apples.
The program offers great networking opportunities. However, having such a geographically diverse friend list is not valuable. 95% of people live in places I will never live and in businesses I will never have need of contacts. Sure, you might get lucky and a relationship will pay off in the future but the students are too busy with school, work and family to understand your skills and capabilities. My advice is to concentrate your networking with friends or people who are geographically close. This will become more apparent if you are in the program.
About a month before the semester starts you get a box shipped to you with your course pack. Normally, these consist of a standard popular textbook, a self-published textbook (from your professor, I call them ?professor books?) and a study guide. The study guide is what students follow to get a B+ or ?A. The textbooks are standard and it looks like to me most business schools use them. The ?professor books? are difficult to read and not edited well. They are brilliant but sometimes incomprehensible and looks like they are written for phd students, not MBA students. If you go over the study guide and do your best to hit the books, and can write well, you will do well on the assignments.
Most of the assignments so far have been research papers. Normally, you have one mid paper, one workshop presentation and one final paper. The papers are about 3000 words. The workshop presentation is normally 20 minutes plus q and a. Again, if you can write and research, you will do great.
The content in the books, are brilliant and paradigm shifting. Flat out the professors are amazing and do a fantastic job of presenting and bringing the theories to life. I can 100% recommend the content, books and professors.
There are some negatives, which the administration knows about. First is it takes a long time to get your grade back on the papers, sometimes 8-10 weeks. Many of us are upset with the slowness of the response and have complained. Second, some students seem to not speak English well and you will get penalized in your workshop grade for their poor presentation skills. Many students show up to the workshop not have studied or read much of anything. It is infuriating to have to carry your team or when the professors have to answer basic questions. Manchester needs to develop a mechanism to ensure the students have prepared for the workshop before attending. Your grades hang in the balance.
Third, you are on your own for learning. The IT system, blackbord sucks. It is horrible and is not designed for global classrooms. It is not worth it to log in and attempt to read through all of the questions that other students ask. There is not a way to aggregate questions or information. Often you will have 100 posts relating to the same few topics. Further, a professor seems to write a reply that is fantastic but 24-72h later. Or the professor writes a quick reply within 2 hours but is flippant and doesn?t get to the heart of your mis-understanding. Many of the other students ask basic questions about the assignment and it is a total waste of time to read them.
There are also few videos and few lectures, which are disappointing. You are lucky if you get two in a semester and often just cover the same things in the study guide that you could have read with greater efficiency. You need to make the effort to cobble a study group together.
The value is there if you put the time in. You can do the minimum work and just learn from the study guides and get a B. The global provides a platform for working adults to teach yourself and get the diploma. Don?t expect much help or anyone looking out for you. To the administration, you are a number. The professors genuinely want to interact and help you. The papers, concepts and applications they introduce to you are A+.
In the end, to me it comes down to whether I would recommend the program. If you have a family, a job and you need to learn and get the degree, I can recommend the program. You will get exposed to the same material as the full time. If you really want to dig in, learn, interact with professors, build a network over time you need to join a full time program.

Hi guys
I am a third semester student in the Manchester Global MBA. I obtained a lot of good information here and I am writing this to give back to the community.
There are many points that I wish to convey. My hope is that you will get some good information about this program and distance learning in general from someone in the trenches.
The MBA seems to emphasize basic and fundamental skills and concepts. It is best you have the basics out of the way first. I assume that the GMAT is the vehicle for such learning. You should know how to write a great research paper, do basic algebra and time management skills. The business school falls under the humanities. Most of your work will be research and theory, not math. If you can write logical papers, you will do well. However, the Manchester program requires many other soft skills.
The soft skills seem to be developed at the workshops. These are intensive 3 day classroom settings that attempt to replace the traditional classroom. They consist of an assignment given at about 4pm on the first day. They are due at about 10 am on day three. Note that during this time, you have class and mini cases from 9am-5pm. I call the workshops ?the meat grinder?. Often you are placed in groups that are difficult mostly due to personality conflicts. You must learn to navigate the workshops, build an effective team and get the job done. About 1/3 of your grade comes from the workshops.
For the most part the quality of the students are high. They hail from all corners of the world. It seems some classes have a heavy African component or Asian component. The older African students (45+) have a reputation for being freeloading, having trouble with English and lacking basic computer skills. The younger ones, mid 20 & 30s (which have been in my groups) have all been brilliant and hard working. The Asian and European students seem to follow a more normal distribution with most hard working with a few bad apples.
The program offers great networking opportunities. However, having such a geographically diverse friend list is not valuable. 95% of people live in places I will never live and in businesses I will never have need of contacts. Sure, you might get lucky and a relationship will pay off in the future but the students are too busy with school, work and family to understand your skills and capabilities. My advice is to concentrate your networking with friends or people who are geographically close. This will become more apparent if you are in the program.
About a month before the semester starts you get a box shipped to you with your course pack. Normally, these consist of a standard popular textbook, a self-published textbook (from your professor, I call them ?professor books?) and a study guide. The study guide is what students follow to get a B+ or ?A. The textbooks are standard and it looks like to me most business schools use them. The ?professor books? are difficult to read and not edited well. They are brilliant but sometimes incomprehensible and looks like they are written for phd students, not MBA students. If you go over the study guide and do your best to hit the books, and can write well, you will do well on the assignments.
Most of the assignments so far have been research papers. Normally, you have one mid paper, one workshop presentation and one final paper. The papers are about 3000 words. The workshop presentation is normally 20 minutes plus q and a. Again, if you can write and research, you will do great.
The content in the books, are brilliant and paradigm shifting. Flat out the professors are amazing and do a fantastic job of presenting and bringing the theories to life. I can 100% recommend the content, books and professors.
There are some negatives, which the administration knows about. First is it takes a long time to get your grade back on the papers, sometimes 8-10 weeks. Many of us are upset with the slowness of the response and have complained. Second, some students seem to not speak English well and you will get penalized in your workshop grade for their poor presentation skills. Many students show up to the workshop not have studied or read much of anything. It is infuriating to have to carry your team or when the professors have to answer basic questions. Manchester needs to develop a mechanism to ensure the students have prepared for the workshop before attending. Your grades hang in the balance.
Third, you are on your own for learning. The IT system, blackbord sucks. It is horrible and is not designed for global classrooms. It is not worth it to log in and attempt to read through all of the questions that other students ask. There is not a way to aggregate questions or information. Often you will have 100 posts relating to the same few topics. Further, a professor seems to write a reply that is fantastic but 24-72h later. Or the professor writes a quick reply within 2 hours but is flippant and doesn?t get to the heart of your mis-understanding. Many of the other students ask basic questions about the assignment and it is a total waste of time to read them.
There are also few videos and few lectures, which are disappointing. You are lucky if you get two in a semester and often just cover the same things in the study guide that you could have read with greater efficiency. You need to make the effort to cobble a study group together.
The value is there if you put the time in. You can do the minimum work and just learn from the study guides and get a B. The global provides a platform for working adults to teach yourself and get the diploma. Don?t expect much help or anyone looking out for you. To the administration, you are a number. The professors genuinely want to interact and help you. The papers, concepts and applications they introduce to you are A+.
In the end, to me it comes down to whether I would recommend the program. If you have a family, a job and you need to learn and get the degree, I can recommend the program. You will get exposed to the same material as the full time. If you really want to dig in, learn, interact with professors, build a network over time you need to join a full time program.
quote
Optidorf

Very comprehensive post about the Manchester Global MBA, but there are some things that I'd like to add or correct.

The assignments at the workshops count for 25% of the total grade (sometimes 30% or 20%). As you said you'll also get an assignment that has to be finished before the end of the second month of a semester (February or August) which also counts for 25%. The final assignment or exam counts for 50%. There are obviously some deviations, but most modules follow this structure.

I don't know exactly what you mean with professor books, but most modules have a study guide written by the staff of MBS and a standard business textbook. Sometimes there are indeed (extra) books written by some of the professors (Leadership, Managerial Economics, MIBS) but mostly they are not meant as the sole base of reading. It is expected that you read around the subject (books, articles). This way you get much more from a module, because you get to see different opinions and concepts. Reading the study guide and the textbook are enough to pass a module, but for mastering the module you need to read a lot more.

Group work is indeed a very important part of the experience and this has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are of course that you learn to work in a group and improve your soft skills (presentation skills, leadership, group dynamics). But this also gives room for free riding problems which there are plenty of unfortunately. One is able to get decent marks in the workshops and a lot of other assignments (business simulation, professional development, research methods) without really putting any effort into it. That's a shame, but it's an inherent part of the concept. Given the fact that the Global MBA is cohort driven I think it's more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

The same applies for studying and networking. The Global MBA can be indeed a lonely place, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet students of the same cohort. You can study individually, but students do also form study groups and meet eachother regularly (online). You can take advantage of it or decide to ignore it. The choice is entirely up to you.

The same applies to the discussions on Blackboard. To quote a professor in an exam report "We encourage you to discuss the case and Course application on Blackboard and in study teams - our thanks to those of you who participated on Blackboard, however the discussion board was no better than the norm ? it never really got going ? it is your forum, if you choose not to use it that is fine ? however, in many parts of the world there was clear evidence of study groups when reading examination answers. Answer after answer made
the same points, sometimes in a very similar way."

I agree that the quality of the modules is quite good. Most of the time it's quite basic, but the MBA is a generalist course rather than a specialist course such as an MSc. Most of the professors that teach at the Global MBA also teach at the Full Time MBA, but the experience of a three day workshop is obviously different from ten weeks of lecturing. However, applying all the concepts in a module for creating a presentation makes a strong case for the benefits of experiential learning (the so-called Manchester Method).

The Global MBA of MBS is probably the closest thing to a regular Full Time MBA, but doesn't have some of the biggest advantages of a Full Time MBA (extra projects, traineeship, networking events, outside activities, career services, companies that are recruiting). The Global MBA is however a very good vehicle for promotion in your own company. Many of the assignments (Managerial Economics, Marketing, Operations Management, Strategic Management, Advanced Strategic Management, etc) can be applied to your own company and give a wealth of information. From the things that I know now I would have however opted for the Full Time MBA.

Very comprehensive post about the Manchester Global MBA, but there are some things that I'd like to add or correct.

The assignments at the workshops count for 25% of the total grade (sometimes 30% or 20%). As you said you'll also get an assignment that has to be finished before the end of the second month of a semester (February or August) which also counts for 25%. The final assignment or exam counts for 50%. There are obviously some deviations, but most modules follow this structure.

I don't know exactly what you mean with professor books, but most modules have a study guide written by the staff of MBS and a standard business textbook. Sometimes there are indeed (extra) books written by some of the professors (Leadership, Managerial Economics, MIBS) but mostly they are not meant as the sole base of reading. It is expected that you read around the subject (books, articles). This way you get much more from a module, because you get to see different opinions and concepts. Reading the study guide and the textbook are enough to pass a module, but for mastering the module you need to read a lot more.

Group work is indeed a very important part of the experience and this has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are of course that you learn to work in a group and improve your soft skills (presentation skills, leadership, group dynamics). But this also gives room for free riding problems which there are plenty of unfortunately. One is able to get decent marks in the workshops and a lot of other assignments (business simulation, professional development, research methods) without really putting any effort into it. That's a shame, but it's an inherent part of the concept. Given the fact that the Global MBA is cohort driven I think it's more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

The same applies for studying and networking. The Global MBA can be indeed a lonely place, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet students of the same cohort. You can study individually, but students do also form study groups and meet eachother regularly (online). You can take advantage of it or decide to ignore it. The choice is entirely up to you.

The same applies to the discussions on Blackboard. To quote a professor in an exam report "We encourage you to discuss the case and Course application on Blackboard and in study teams - our thanks to those of you who participated on Blackboard, however the discussion board was no better than the norm ? it never really got going ? it is your forum, if you choose not to use it that is fine ? however, in many parts of the world there was clear evidence of study groups when reading examination answers. Answer after answer made
the same points, sometimes in a very similar way."

I agree that the quality of the modules is quite good. Most of the time it's quite basic, but the MBA is a generalist course rather than a specialist course such as an MSc. Most of the professors that teach at the Global MBA also teach at the Full Time MBA, but the experience of a three day workshop is obviously different from ten weeks of lecturing. However, applying all the concepts in a module for creating a presentation makes a strong case for the benefits of experiential learning (the so-called Manchester Method).

The Global MBA of MBS is probably the closest thing to a regular Full Time MBA, but doesn't have some of the biggest advantages of a Full Time MBA (extra projects, traineeship, networking events, outside activities, career services, companies that are recruiting). The Global MBA is however a very good vehicle for promotion in your own company. Many of the assignments (Managerial Economics, Marketing, Operations Management, Strategic Management, Advanced Strategic Management, etc) can be applied to your own company and give a wealth of information. From the things that I know now I would have however opted for the Full Time MBA.
quote
georgep

Excellent post. I would like to say "ditto" for Durham Global MBA. I guess it is the same for other similar UK programs too..

Excellent post. I would like to say "ditto" for Durham Global MBA. I guess it is the same for other similar UK programs too..
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