Karla Litton, Business Development Manager at Warwick Business School, offers the all-important answers to the most common questions we hear from our prospective Distance Learning MBA students.
Distance Learning MBA participant Paul explores the different modules that make up the MBA programme, highlighting how each module has developed his experience and fed into his journey on the course.
Just under 18-months ago I embarked on my Distance Learning MBA. I can honestly say this has been one of the best experiences and life decisions to date. Having the opportunity to learn and work with professors and peers with an unrivaled depth and breadth of experience on a global scale has been truly perspective shifting. Besides the knowledge and experience gained from the modules themselves, my journey has taught me a great deal about myself and what one can accomplish when their personal narrative is challenged.
I’ve grown to appreciate the role finance plays in grasping the underpinnings of successful businesses. However, from an outsider’s perspective, finance seems to be an esoteric enigma.
Accounting and Financial Management* gave me a solid foundation, not only for finance modules, but for the synergies with Strategic Advantage and Marketing, and how they are interrelated to firm performance. I remember my first encounter navigating annual reports and the feeling of despair that accompanied it. The flexibility offered by the recordings of live sessions and module lessons afforded me the time necessary to digest and create a coherent narrative on the firms we analysed.
Return on Capital Employed, Working Capital, and gearing are now part of my vernacular and decision making when working internally or as part of the consultation process when working with prospective clients.
Economics of the Business Environment offered an additional lens of evaluation on the impacts of macroeconomic and microeconomic trends and cycles. GDP, exchange rate, raw material and oil price fluctuations all impact a firms Operations Management and subsequent vulnerabilities. These factors are particularly pertinent today, given the unanticipated impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and just-in-time manufacturing processes.
I found the application of theory to the final assignment incredibly valuable. I have a background in the agricultural industry and analysed two firms in the fast fashion retail space. This allowed me to develop an appreciation for a completely different industry, business models and the strategies employed by each to escape the perils of strategic hell.
Management Accounting was especially noteworthy. I would describe it as a practical focused accounting module. Again, the final assignment case study was really rewarding to work through, it was a fusion of Innovation, Strategy and Operations underpinned by finance and how certain KPI’s could be disincentivising people and organisations.
I intend to use Kaplan’s “balanced scorecard” in some capacity within my dissertation, I believe it gets straight to the heart of business performance. Having worked with dairy farms across the globe, an insight struck me while completing this module, the common thread of the best performing farms I have seen, unknowingly or not, employ a balanced scorecard approach.
“The time value of money” is one phrase I will always remember from the Corporate Finance* module. This has been the most challenging module of my studies to date. However, it has given me important insights into the thought process firms use in their decisions to fund business activities through the issuance of debt or equity. I can now analyse the share price of a firm and calculate its beta (how risky the stock is), compared to the overall market. Using this beta, I can also calculate the systematic (caused by trends in overall market) and idiosyncratic (inherent to the firm) risk, all of which are vital for a budding investor.
With no prior formal academic financial experience and the recognition of the pivotal role finance plays in building and leading successful organisations, I anticipated a lot and received even more from these modules. It certainly has not been easy; however, the support of the staff and my fellow cohort has indeed been invaluable along the journey to date.
Find out more about our Distance Learning MBA courses here.
*From May 2022 these modules will be replaced with the following: Corporate Reporting and Decision-making and Financial Management.