Class of 2023: Executive students at the start of their two-year journey

Class of 2023: Executive students at the start of their two-year journey

It was the year that Sleepless in Seattle hit the cinema screens, Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and if you were in the business world, the year that Warwick’s Executive MBA was launched.  

Much has changed since 1993, but as the 50th cohort of students joined up this week, the keynote of this part-time course remains the same: innovation.  

In the early 1990s, Warwick was the first business school in the UK to set up a Corporate Citizenship Unit, with the Executive MBA driving all those ideas of social and environmental responsibility forward.  

Now, WBS is moving the dial on sustainability, according to Hossam Zeitoun, Executive MBA Course Director and Reader in Strategy and Behavioural Science.  

“We have been promoting sustainability across the curriculum, and every module leader considers it from the lens of their subject,” said Dr Zeitoun. “This has contributed to our position as number two in the world in the Corporate Knights’ sustainability ranking.”   

The socially responsible agenda is just part of a wide-ranging student journey that starts with eight required modules and moves through four elective modules of a student’s choice (deepening subjects such as sustainability, entrepreneurship or leadership) before the student finishes off with a strategic consulting project or dissertation. 

As Executive MBA participants are typically in the middle of their careers, the required modules – looking at everything from organisational behaviour to operations management – are essential. 

“If you join the course as an engineer, you need to learn the language of accountants,” said Dr Zeitoun. “Similarly, if you are an accountant, you need to learn the language of marketeers. Obtaining this broad understanding of an organisation is crucial for making the next step in a successful career.”  

Beyond the required modules, there is real room for students to spread their wings. “The emphasis is on pursuing a journey of personal transformation, and developing the Change Maker mindset that lies at the heart of the Warwick Business School ethos,” said the Course Director.  

“Add that to our strong alumni network and one of the best career support services in the country, and it’s clear that our students benefit from a unique offering.”  

1993: Warwick's MBA by modular study was launched at London's Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

1993: Warwick’s MBA by modular study was launched at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

The school’s Executive MBA has gone through something of a journey of its own over the years. When it started in 1993, its main competitors were the London, Henley and Cranfield business schools. Since then, newcomers have arrived on the scene. In 1993, Robin Wensley (who sadly passed away last year) was Dean of Warwick Business School. There have been several changes at the helm since then.  

Heading up the course from the mid-nineties to the noughties, for instance, was executive director for the whole Warwick MBA programme Francesca Coles, who was reportedly the driving force behind transforming what started as a ‘Modular MBA’ into the well-respected Executive MBA.  

Then, there was the legendary Peter Doyle, Professor of Marketing and Strategic Management at WBS for 18 years, who captivated classes with his teaching. He was, according to an obituary in The Guardian in 2003, “probably Europe's best-known marketing academic and guru, with an outstanding reputation for his teaching and research”.  

Juergen Siebenrock, a student from Germany in the very first cohort of Warwick’s Executive MBA in 1993, remembers him as “an exceptional and inspiring academic and lecturer”. 

“He took us on an amazing marketing journey that questioned, stimulated and excited us,” he said. 

Warwick Business School continued to build on the reputation that Professor Doyle helped to forge in subsequent years. Another change came in 2015 when the Executive MBA programme was made available at the newly opened WBS London at The Shard, in addition to the Warwick campus. WBS expanded its operations to the iconic London building, taking over half of the 17th floor, and more recently moving into the 13th floor as well. 

As the fiftieth cohort began their studies this week, Juergen Siebenrock had one piece of advice: “Enjoy every moment of the journey.” 

Find out more about the Executive MBA and the Executive MBA London.