Skills to fit the global market

The graduates of Stirling’s Management School are widely sought after for their knowledge and problem solving skills, discovers Barry McDonald.

The philosophy of the Uni­versity of Stirling Manage­ment School is a simple one: management matters. Whether it is managing any form of human activity, personal time management or running a global corporation, effective management is key to a sustainable future for both soci­ety and business.

The school’s students (whether under­graduate, post graduate or research) are provided with opportunities to develop leadership skills, vital for effective and resilient managers, in business and organi­sations across the world.

Their graduates are highly sought-after among employers looking for professionals with contemporary management knowl­edge and problem solving skills. With internationally recognised and accredited courses, Stirling Management School takes a very modern, career-focused approach to higher education delivery. This approach leads to nine out of 10 of graduates finding relevant employment within six months of completing their degree.

It’s little wonder the school can boast a range of accolades that include: Top 25 in the UK for business and management (REF2014); top two in Scotland for mar­keting (Complete University Guide 2016); and top three in the Scotland for econom­ics (Guardian League Tables 2016).

Earlier this month the school’s Professor David Bell was appointed as a specialist adviser to the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee.

The university has also been ranked among the top 50 research-intensive uni­versities in the UK, in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Stirling’s results, sixth in Scotland and 45th in the UK, demonstrate it has more than doubled its levels of world-leading research since 2008, with almost three quarters of research activity being rated as either internation­ally excellent or world-leading.

Chief among them is key research being carried out by the Behavioural Sciences Centre, Institute for Retail Studies and the Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living. The latter can now also boast a unique collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as the centre’s core objective is to inspire and empower communities to develop new pathways to achieve sustainable practice.

Stirling Management School’s active support of local economic growth has also seen the school receive further national acknowledgement. Its work with start-ups and small businesses has been rewarded with a Small Business Charter Bronze Award. The Charter connects Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) com­munities with world-class business/man­agement school knowledge, facilities and networks across the UK.

The Awards were established by the Chartered Association of Business Schools, Lord Young and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – and are made following rigorous assessment.

Highlights at Stirling Management School over the past year include host­ing a three-day ‘Solutions for Business’ networking event, judging Clackmannan­shire Business Gateway’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ entrepreneurial competition and support­ing the first Business Week held by STEP, Stirling’s business support organisation.

The school also supports the business sector through its sponsorship of the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards, which encour­ages Scotland’s businesses to enter their green credentials for a chance to join the country’s list of sustainable champions. Open to organisations of all sizes and sectors, the awards aim to encourage effi­cient use of resources, enhance business competitiveness, improve environmental performance and support wider sustainable development goals.

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Prof. Sharon Bolton points to lasting impacts on lives

Professor Sharon Bolton, Dean and Head of Stirling Management School, said: “Our philosophy, that effective management can make a positive differ­ence, means we get to the heart of what is involved in the management and organi­sation of a diverse range of activities. Our research, teaching and knowledge exchange activities create significant and lasting impact on people’s everyday lives, through our involvement with, and influ­ence on, large and small businesses, public policy, and local and global communities.

“This is evidenced by our position as 14th in the UK Business School rankings for research impact. In everything we do we endeavour to create insightful analysis that leads to effective intervention.”

Undergraduate courses range from accounting and finance, marketing and economics to business studies, human resources and retail marketing. The school also has a range of Taught Post Graduate courses which offers a range of accredita­tions, including the highly-prized Stirling MBA(CMI), Marketing (CIM), Invest­ment Analysis (CFA), MRes (ESRC) and International Accounting and Finance (ACCA).

At the University of Stirling Manage­ment School, the focus is firmly on releas­ing students’ potential. As the graduate job market grows increasingly competi­tive, employers seek graduates who can display both hard and soft skills.

Supporting the students’ professional and personal development means that graduates leave the Management School fully equipped to confront the reality of the 21st Century job market. In fact the university was recently ranked seventh in the UK for graduate employability with 96 per cent of its graduates in employ­ment or further study within six months of graduating.

The school’s groundbreaking Flying Start Leadership Programme supports students in planning for their future career and pro­vides them with the skills to develop into successful global business leaders. Postgrad­uate students from across the Management School participate in a wide range of activi­ties, workshops and information sessions during their first few weeks which ensure their time at Stirling gets off to the epony­mous ‘Flying Start’. The programme is designed to ensure they will graduate with the confidence and cultural intelligence to manage effectively in their future career.

Another way of preparing students for the ‘outside’ world was evidenced when the school welcomed Amplify Trading, a global financial trading and training com­pany, to campus to deliver a week-long boot camp for Masters students on the finance-related courses.

This training is provided free for stu­dents. Amplify Trading provide training for some of the largest global financial institutions, with a client list which includes Bank of America and HSBC. The Boot Camp helped bridge the gap between academic theories of financial markets and how they behave in the real world. During the intensive week students are presented with live market data and have the oppor­tunity to trade across multiple asset classes, gaining first-hand experience of how intra-day trading actually works.

Internships have also been identified in helping students progress their career. The Stirling Internship Programme has been created to help businesses and organisa­tions access the knowledge and skills of students through offering paid internships during the holiday period and the school has placed a string focus of internships and post graduate consultancy projects, which equip students with lifelong transferable and practical skills.

One such graduate who benefited from an internship was MSc Marketing stu­dent Howard Birch, who joined leading advertising agency The Leith Agency for a period in 2013. Howard said: “I had never done an internship in the UK and so I wanted to gain an insight into the demands and pressures of the workplace in Scotland. It was also to boost my CV and open the door for a full time role.

“I identified The Leith Agency as a company that I wanted to work for, so ini­tiated the contact with the company and finally they offered me the chance to come and do an internship for a month.

“The objective was to develop my per­sonal skillset and learn as much as I could whilst I was there. An advertising agency provides a great place to learn as you work with a wide range of companies across various industries.”

The relationship with students does not end with graduation as it maintains and builds relationships with an extensive network of alumni. Proof that the skills learned at the University of Stirling Man­agement School are developed and honed throughout your career.