Evolution of postgraduate study at NBS

Dr Alex Hiller

Dr Alex Hiller, Head of Postgraduate and Executive Education at Nottingham Business School provides some insight into the evolution of postgraduate study at NBS.

Since the launch of its MBA and the integrated management development programme in 1987, Nottingham Business School has supported students through postgraduate study to deal with the challenges of managing in the 20th and 21st centuries. Whilst early initiatives focused on what we would now call ‘post-experience’ programmes – especially in the 1990s through the Corporate Development Unit and our long-standing delivery of professional programmes – the school gradually grew its range of postgraduate provision in other areas.

Of particular significance was its early realisation of the changing demographics of postgraduate education as candidates became younger and the school developed its ‘pre-experience’ MSc Management (MiM) in 1997.

Through the 2000s the portfolio expanded to include a range of specialist Master’s and both in-company and open programmes in addition to the MBA and the MiM. The mid-2000s saw the launch of MSc’s in marketing, finance, economics, HRM and international business, and in recent times the full-time postgraduate portfolio went through significant reviews in 2010 and 2015 in which the school’s strengths in and focus on experiential and personalised learning were enhanced, alongside the growth of the portfolio into further specialisations. The MBA itself benefited from these revisions, and experienced a step-change with the introduction of the Senior Leaders’ Degree Apprenticeship delivered through the Executive MBA, and the launch of the Online MBA in 2017.

The school has seen significant growth in recent times across all areas of postgraduate activity, shifting its profile in the school from niche areas of specialism to a wide-ranging and vibrant portfolio of generalist and specialised Master’s delivered to some 1,500 candidates annually at multiple stages of career development and which are designed to enhance individuals’ management practice, accelerate their careers, and prepare them for a complex and rapidly-changing business environment.

Relationships with professional bodies remain central to our mission, through our delivery of professional body awards and through the dual-badging of Master’s programmes. As we encourage our students to innovate, be adaptive to change and constantly seek continuous improvement, so the School constantly adapts its portfolio and curricula to remain responsive to the needs of organisations operating in all sectors.

As we look to the future, further development will occur in areas including: innovative modes of delivery; further innovation in experiential learning; the development of students’ abilities’ to respond to key issues such as the climate crisis, the challenges of responsible leadership, digital transformation, workforce development and rapidly changing global economies; and a renewed focus on lifelong learning and supporting our alumni throughout their management development journeys.