Southampton Business School at the University of Southampton is one of the UK�s leading management schools. Prof. Edgar Meyer, Director of MBA at Southampton Business School, who has been associated with University of Southampton since 2000, teaches on a variety of subjects in Human Resource Business (HRM) and Organisational Behaviour (OB) with an emphasis on leadership, teamwork and collaborative working.
Prof. Edgar Meyer, in an interview with Education Insider, speaks about the relevance of an MBA degree in the changing global business landscape. Excerpts
What is the relevance of an MBA programme in the current business environment?
An MBA adds value as it provides students with an ability to understand the intricacies of organisations through engaging with their various functions. In a complex global environment that is shaped by austerity, pervasive technology, and global competition, understanding the challenges and interconnectedness of organisations is pivotal for survival. An MBA enables students to engage with these issues; particularly those MBAs that require at least 3-4 years work experience. Within such MBAs students are able to comprehend the ideas from both a theoretical perspective and a practical perspective � seeing where organisations can improve and develop. Employers are looking for individuals that understand business both through experience and through their knowledge of different methodologies and ways of operating organisational functions. The Southampton MBA focuses specifically on the integration of theory and practice and the integration of the different organisational functions to develop managers who are able to deal with the interconnectedness and complexity of today�s organisaitons.
How University of Southampton�s MBA programme is different from other advanced business degrees?
University of Southampton MBA programme focuses on developing critical thinkers that understand not only the different organisational functions, but are able to see the relationships between these functions in order to be proactive in supporting organisational success. The Southampton MBA also differs from other MBAs in that it puts the students at the centre of learning � we are a small programme, which enables students to have a high level of interaction with each other and our faculty. In addition, we are taking our students to a residential week in The Netherlands where they visit both, small start-up organisations as well as multi-national organisations. We also provide a rigorous professional development programme alongside the academic content. Students receive tailored individual career coaching and other support activities to make them stand-out and compete at a global level.
How do you compare MBA education in the UK with that of India?
In India many students would want to continue their studies immediately after their Bachelor degree. Whilst this is good, to gain the most from an MBA having work experience is advantages. Like the University of Southampton�s MBA, in the UK many of the programmes look for this. Furthermore, the UK has one of the most diverse student population. The Southampton MBA has, year on year, between 8-14 nationalities with individuals from different industries and sectors � this has the advantage that students learn not only about cultural differences, but also how different industries and sectors address similar problems.
What is your message for the young entrepreneurs?
As a young entrepreneur having an idea is great � but it doesn�t mean you can take this to market. Having a good understanding of all aspects of business and organisational management is pivotal of making ideas work for the entrepreneur. Thus, studying for an MBA is an excellent way of gaining an insight into the requirements of running a business.
Could you tell us about your experience with Southampton Business School?
I have been working at the University of Southampton for nearly 15 years � more than ten of those in the Business School. It is an exciting and stimulating environment with experts in many different business-related areas. We produce world-class research and deliver practice-relevant education to students from many different countries.
How, according to you, can we develop teamwork and leadership skills?
Working in teams and developing leadership skills is important in all organisations these days � irrespective of industry or country. Thus, University of Southampton MBA has dedicated time and space to support its students to develop these skills in a range of different ways. One of the advantages of the MBA at Southampton is that it has students from many different backgrounds meaning to say that students can learn from one another and how leadership and teamwork applies in these different contexts. Organisations and professions should invest in supporting their employees through an MBA as it will support the development of such skills