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Diversity & Internationalisation Issue 4 • June 2018


Diversity and Internationalisation


Does Diversity in Leadership Matter? Page 08

Postgraduate Students Go Global Page 50

Why it’s Better to Work Together: Page 06

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At a glance: • 18 months part-time programme so you can continue to work full-time • Dual-award from Durham University Business School & EBS, Germany • Small learning groups and individual coaching • Excellent corporate contacts and alumni network

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ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


IMPACT ISSUE FOUR Diversity and Internationalisation This fourth edition of IMPACT exemplifies in many ways how our School continues to demonstrate its strength in its core strategic domains: research, education, student experience, and in embracing diversity and inclusion both inside and outside the classroom. Diversity and internationalisation are intrinsic to our School’s ethos and encompass our vision and mission to continue to yield leaders who showcase the very best in business practice around the world. Diversity – we mean this in many senses of the word. The School is at the forefront of diverse thinking thanks to the excellent research produced by our faculty, which is very much connected to the challenges facing the modern world. Professor Susanne Braun considers how diversity can mean many things. Her latest study looks at the differences between ‘surface level’ and ‘deep level’ diversity attributes from an organisational standpoint, and why businesses should care about embracing diversity, especially in leadership. Professor Mark Learmonth discusses his research on gender equality, and looks at the various characteristics that must be considered in work environments. Internationalisation – an important element to the School’s ambition to be listed amongst Europe’s top 20 institutions by 2027. Professor Kiran Fernandes looks at the School’s international collaborations in his article ‘Why it’s better to work together’, emphasising why it is important for business schools to conduct their business on the international market and engage with their global networks. Dr Jorge Lengler talks about his work with Brazilian export SMEs which aims to transfer knowledge of international marketing strategies, developed by Business School researchers, to the participating SMEs. This helps build their competitiveness in foreign markets. This edition also looks at the impact of our research across the world and also in our local region. Professor John Mawson provides an overview of how the Institute of Local Governance, located within the Business School, is working to create change in the North East of England. Professor Laurence Ferry’s research into accountability of public services has also impacted on local government at British Parliament. Professor Ferry has also provided evidence cited by Select Committees and distributed to MPs, influencing their thoughts on key issues like Brexit. Dr Barbara Bechter and PhD Candidate Michael Nower also consider the next steps and future implications of Brexit for the UK in their research.

As a leading international business school, we aim to create an environment which maximises the benefits of our diverse international community who, in turn, aim to achieve their full potential to attract and retain some of the most talented and motivated people from across the world in their own organisations. With faculty from across the globe, over 3,500 students comprising 100+ nationalities and an exceeding 25,000-strong international alumni in over 150 countries, our community is a key example to learn from. The excellent result for the School’s MBA programmes in the Financial Times’ (FT) annual MBA ranking earlier this year highlights that it is a world-class programme valued by students across the world. Additionally, being ranked 3rd in the UK and 35th globally in the FT’s first-ever ‘Top 50 MBA Programmes for Women’ list demonstrates the importance of business education for women, and how our School is taking a leading stance in breaking down the gender barriers that divide our future business leaders. Our School values external engagement and our programmes include a variety of opportunities for students to be involved with our global business networks. We’ve welcomed a number of guest speakers to the School this year, including Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President at the World Bank Group and Marco Migueis of the Federal Reserve System, as well as former Financial Director of Whitbread PLC Chris Rogers, who presided over the MBA Boardroom Exercise. Also core to our programmes are the international study and business experiences which further enrich students’ education. Our continued success relies on the combined and considerable talents of not only our academics and staff, but our students and alumni of who we profile from various countries. They share their experiences in Durham and their day-to-day lives at the School, and how these have helped to shape their careers. As always, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this edition of Impact magazine. The support from all of those featured, from staff and students to alumni and our business connections, has been exceptional. This demonstrates our excellent and collective commitment to further building our diverse and international community. Professor Susan Hart Dean of Durham University Business School

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018















Thank you to all who have worked on this edition, including academics, staff, students, alumni and business connections.


Key contributors

Durham University Business School

Jacqueline Baker Marketing Communications Officer


Stephen Close Web and Digital Officer

Emilie Allaert

Dr Julie Hodges

Lindsay Duke Senior Marketing Relations Officer

Dr Barbara Bechter

Dr Oleg Konovalov

Dr Joanna Berry

Professor Mark Learmonth

Jan Blaumeier

Dr Jorge Lengler

Professor Susanne Braun

Greg Longley

Helena Brennan

Professor John Mawson

Dr Alistair Brown

Tobias McBride

Natalie Taylor Communications Officer

Dr Ladan Cockshut

Clarissa Milne

Edgar Cortés

Dr Nasar um Minullah

Martin Thomas Senior Marketing Communications Officer

Dimitrios Dimitriou

Dr Riccardo Mogre

Professor Kiran Fernandes

Professor Geoff Moore

Charlotte Wareing Marketing Officer

Professor Laurence Ferry

Professor Mike Nicholson

Eric Findlay

Michael Nower


Tangyixun Fu

Wendy Pearson

Erika Gouveia

Jørgen Pivak

Dr Les Graham

Natalie Podda

Dr Mariann Hardey

Itzel Nieto Sanchez

Jon Harding

Aditi Sharma

Professor Susan Hart

Sam Stroot

Professor Nigar Hashimzade

Isabel Velasco

Manuel Preciado Hernández

Dr Christopher Williams

Paula Lane Marketing Officer Liz Lawrence Marketing Communications Manager

Want to find out more or contribute to the next edition? Just send us an email:

@DUBusSchool Durham University Business School Durham University Business School

Durham University and Durham University logo are registered Trade Marks of the University of Durham. Unless otherwise stated, all material in this publication is copyright of the University of Durham. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained here is accurate. This publication is intended as a general guide to University of Durham’s facilities and form no part of any contract between you and the University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of the University. Please note that the University’s website is the most up to date source of information and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.


CONTENTS Why it’s Better to Work Together


Entrepreneurship Pathway


Does Diversity in Leadership Matter?


Technology Pathway


Increasing Competitive Skills in Foreign Markets for Brazilian Export SMEs


Consultancy Pathway

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From MBA Student to MBA Business Project Host

Shouldn’t Women Be Revolting?



The MBA Boardroom Exercise 2018

Glass Ceiling or Higher Hurdles?

Postgraduate Students Go Global


High Heels and Peacock Tails The Evolutionary Psychology of Fashion

16 54

From Bogota, to Durham and Back Again Transforming Careers and Lives


The New Global DBA: Durham-emylon Become a Thought Leader and Challenge Business Practice Recent Visitors to the School


An Alternative, Personal View on Diversity

20 22

11th Dragon’s Den Final 2018 The Results


How the Creative Fuse Project is Supporting a Diverse Creative Community


Improving Diversity Through Supporting Autonomy


From Lab Bench to the Business World 88,000 Kilometres Across Three Continents, Starting from Islamabad, Pakistan

What do Leaders Look Like?



Genuine Diversity and Internationalisation The Spirit of Durham


Bridging the Gap Between Theory and the Real World of Trading


Looking For More Skilled Labour from Other EU Countries


International Alumni Chapters From Accra to Toronto Professor Robin Smith Memorial


If the UK is Leaving the EU, it must Leave the Customs Union


‘Nourishing’ Positive, Social and Environmental Impacts


The Journey to Becoming a Parliamentary Fellow


How Can More Women be Encouraged into Senior Finance Positions


Regional and Local Impact in the North East of England An Overview of the Institute for Local Governance


The Durham DBA A Professional Superpower


The Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability Agenda


An Interview with MBA Alumna Erika Gouveia


The Durham MBA Soaring High in the Financial Times 2018 Rankings

35 My Journey Towards a Durham MBA Jørgen Pivak


Solar Car Innovation on the International Stage

36 38

Connecting with Students Around the World Events


A Day in the Life of... a Student at Durham University Business School Thinking About an MBA? FAQs Answered


ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Professor Kiran Fernandes

Why it’s Better to Work Together The only thing constant in today’s world is change

In our political spheres, issues like Brexit pose significant challenges to how the UK continues to impact upon and work with countries not just in the EU but across the world. In our industries, the rise of Industry 4.0 has made the future of work and the skills necessary to succeed near impossible to predict. In our societies, growing pressures to act in a way that better sustains the world around us has prompted all organisations to seek new ways of conducting business.

In answering these challenges, there is strength to be found in numbers. The mantra is collaborating to succeed. In an ever more interconnected world, it is ‘old hat’ for a business or institution to be contained by its own four walls or geography. Today, even the smallest organisations operate – and indeed thrive – by conducting their business on the international market and engaging with a global network. It therefore stands to reason that business schools – the educators and shapers of the future generation of business leaders – should seek to do the same.


We have a goal, a strong ambition, that by 2027 Durham University Business School will be listed amongst Europe’s top 20 institutions. Key to this is extending our reach and impact beyond our current limits. Ensuring our education can be accessed by a wide range of students and professionals by, for example, recruiting internationally or exploring the possibilities of digital learning is a core priority, but becoming a truly international institution means moving beyond securing a diverse cohort.

Our School is focused on three core areas, Research and Impact, Education, and Student Experience, and it’s in each of these we will endeavour to continue expanding our horizons.

In January this year, I was appointed to lead this effort as the School’s first Associate Dean for Internationalisation. We’ve begun by launching a number of new initiatives. For example, we have developed strategic partnerships with world leading institutions in Europe, China and the USA. We have also launched a Global Citizenship Programme which is run through a multi-university partnership, enabling students to learn about, and study within, a wide range of countries and cultures. The premise is to give them not just a first-hand experience of working and studying in another location, but also the benefit of learning from local academics and industry professionals. In addition to this is a dedicated effort to ensure our core faculty and academic visitors are also representative of this vision by welcoming a broader spectrum of professions and backgrounds to our networks and encouraging those within the Business School to seek partnerships beyond the immediate faculty. By engaging in a greater number of industry projects and research collaborations with overseas partners, our School will be in a better position to contribute to answering the world’s most pressing questions ourselves and providing our graduates with the tools to do the same.

Beyond sharing our research, our School is also engaged in a number of joint programmes and new educational offerings such as the launch of a series of Doctorates in Business Administration (DBA), providing students with an alternative, academically rigorous and explorative route to professional executive development. This year sees the redesign and relaunch of the School’s jointly offered DBA with Fudan University in Shanghai. Whilst the partnership between our two schools spans more than a decade, this revamped programme seeks to provide senior business leaders with a broader scope of business knowledge by exploring the local business context in two globally influential economies. It is an opportunity to pursue original research whilst benefiting from the support of faculty from two leading education institutions and offers a chance to explore new areas of skill development. Furthermore, this year will also see Durham University Business School embark upon a new DBA partnership with leading French business school emlyon. Launching in October 2018 the Global DBA: Durham-emlyon will provide students with a unique and unparalleled opportunity to learn from, and collaborate with, internationally renowned faculty at two of Europe’s most innovative business schools. The programme has been designed to forge thought leaders who can push the boundaries of accepted business practice by encouraging students to think independently, conduct their own research and find new ways of tackling the issues at the heart of their respective industries. The partnership also extends the capacity for research partnerships between faculty, helping to ensure our School has the opportunity to leave its footprint in Europe in the years to come and vice versa.

By developing partnerships with our contemporaries (and sometimes our competitors) around the world, we’re able to improve our educational offering for students enrolled on our programmes, share best-practice and ideas amongst the wider business education community and ensure our School can keep providing value to industry for many years to come.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Does Diversity in Leadership Matter?

Professor Susanne Braun


When Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, testified in front of the US Congress earlier this April, he had a number of tough questions to answer. Not only did he come under fire for his company’s approach to handling user data in the realm of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, but more specifically, in how far the lack of ethnic diversity in corporate leadership may affect Facebook’s ability and motivation to make decisions from a culturally competent standpoint. Should their employees, especially at leadership levels, not represent the wide range of ethnic groups whom Facebook works for as their users?

Just like Zuckerberg, more executives face the question, “Does diversity in leadership matter?”, and it does not look like they have a good answer to that question yet. Diversity can mean many things. From an organisational standpoint, it is often described as the degree to which there are differences between members of an organisation. These differences can be based on so-called surface-level attributes, such as gender, age, ethnicity or deep-level attributes (e.g. educational backgrounds, values and attitudes). One is not more important than the other – deep-level diversity can simply be harder to recognise than surface-level differences between employees. Why should businesses care about diversity, especially in leadership? Both surface-level and deep-level diversity can affect how people work together in teams and organisations as well as the outputs that they generate. Seminal reviews of the literature conducted over more than half a century of diversity research, point in this direction. More specifically, diverse groups have the potential to generate creative and innovative output – if they can manage to integrate and reconcile the different opinions and perspectives that their members typically generate. Diverse teams are less likely to think alike. However, in order to perform successfully, teams and organisations are challenged to ‘make diversity work’ for them. And this is where leadership comes into play. Having a diverse

leadership team can generate competitive advantages – especially when leaders take on role modelling functions for employees, foster positive diversity beliefs and send positive signals to external stakeholders. Role modelling Despite the best intentions, many businesses struggle to make their workforce more diverse, for example in terms of ethnic and gender diversity. To achieve better recruitment results, they can think along the lines of role modelling and mentoring for early career professionals. Benefits occur even in initial stages of the recruitment process where it has been shown that advertisements with images representing both genders attract more women to apply. Employees from historically under-represented groups (e.g. women at executive levels) can also find role models from similar backgrounds and with similar demography in a diverse leadership team and learn from them for their own career development. Benefits can be achieved in formal mentoring programmes but also through informal networking and events. Positive diversity beliefs A diverse leadership team can spread the word about the benefits of diversity. Diversity at the executive level will make this message more credible for others in the organisation. Research shows that employees’ positive beliefs about diversity increase the actual impact of team diversity on team’s performance. Diversity beliefs are also part of a wider organisational culture. A diverse leadership team provides opportunities to shape an organisational culture of inclusion as culture is created through bottom-up influence from employees but also trickle-down processes from the executive level. Signalling openness and innovation Just like the questions that US Congress had for Zuckerberg regarding Facebook’s leadership diversity, customers and other external stakeholders are paying increasing attention to the leadership setup of companies they buy from or invest in. A diverse leadership team does not only represent different social groups within the organisation, they can also be better attuned to their customers’ needs and interests. Having individuals from different backgrounds, ages, genders and ethnicities on board signals openness and innovation – attributes that many external stakeholders look for in profitable businesses.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Increasing Competitive Skills in Foreign Markets for Brazilian Export SMEs Dr Jorge Lengler

Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in all countries employ significant numbers of workers. In Latin America they are responsible for the majority of work positions, yet despite their important contribution to society, SMEs make only a small contribution in terms of exports, in contrast to the scenario in Europe and other developed countries where they have a major role as exporters. The main reason for the low participation of Latin American exporters is their lack of market knowledge and strategic resources in respect of international marketing strategies – something which I, along with my colleagues Dr Roberta Aguzzoli and Professor Carlos Sousa at Durham University Business School, are seeking to change.

Since December 2016, we have been engaged in a project with a small sample of Brazilian export SMEs. The project aims to transfer knowledge developed by Business School researchers in the field of international marketing strategies to the participating SMEs to increase their competitive skills in foreign markets. To support our efforts, funding for the project has been provided by the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account and the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE).


The preliminary results indicate that the participating companies have achieved substantial improvements in their export activity. Specifically, SMEs now appreciate the need for a higher degree of formalisation of the international planning process, the assessment of potential customers and distributors in foreign markets, and they realise the benefits of balancing investment in different strategic areas of the export firm. Additionally, directed by Durham University Business School research, these firms have also implemented managerial tools to correctly assess the degree of adaptation necessary for their marketing strategies to be effective in foreign markets, which has helped them to tailor their export ventures’ international marketing programmes to better meet customer needs.

From a macro-environmental perspective, it is relevant to mention that the communities where the participating companies operate have also benefited from their increasing international performance as more jobs have been created, helping to further invigorate the local economy.

Some of the participating SMEs had never previously been involved in exporting. Their participation in the project has not only brought new challenges, but new possibilities of growth. As stated by the CEO of one of the companies involved:

In view of this, Durham University Business School will support me in hosting an international three-day seminar in November this year, during which future avenues that can be explored to improve the competitiveness of export SMEs will be discussed. During this seminar, Latin American and British authorities, industry federations, researchers and export firms will consider how public policies can support SMEs’ international activities. Attendees will explore the main drivers of international success in small and medium export companies. Given the evolutionary nature of policy-making, it is anticipated that the seminar will kick-start a series of influences at the political and policy-making levels, and within society at large, that will focus on supporting SMEs’ export activities.

“In 2016, I decided to enter foreign markets with export products, however I did not know where to start. Being part of this project made a big change in the company. At the beginning we screened some potential foreign markets in Latin America using the managerial tools that researchers from Durham University Business School presented to us. Since then, we’ve hired one dedicated manager and a sales representative to expand our activities to other countries. During the project, we learned how to assess foreign markets and balance our investments in different strategic areas across the company. For a micro company with no previous experience, the results we achieved at the end of the project were remarkable. The company and its culture have significantly changed. We’ve gained a global vision that we did not have before, and we are more confident to face the challenges international markets bring.” Mr Diogo Tomazzoni, CEO, Serralog Electronic Solutions, Brazil.

The project’s success has allowed the Business School’s team to take a step further in its collaboration with SEBRAE and the Brazilian authorities - a new project which began in January 2018 seeks to develop an international market risk assessment index, the RI-Index. Fifty export SMEs from Latin America will participate in the project to design and test such an index for use by small export firms.

Image: Mr Tomazzoni - Serralog

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Shouldn’t Women Be Revolting? Men’s continued domination of the top echelons in society is an indictment of our times.

Professor Mark Learmonth


After some 40 years of equal opportunity legislation in most Western countries, progress towards women having an equal share of top jobs remains painfully slow. The latest figures suggest that only around 5% of CEOs in the UK’s largest companies are women – a proportion that is similar throughout the West – with long-term trends flat-lining or even pointing to a decline in the numbers of women in these jobs. The position is similar for almost any kind of job deemed high-status in society. For example, I did some research a few years ago in a large science organisation. It employed about 1,600 scientists, of whom 60% were women. Nevertheless, and in spite of the fact that the majority of the workforce were highly qualified women, all 13 scientists in the most senior grade were men, as were more than two-thirds of the 110 staff in the two grades below.

Of course, it’s not just women – as opposed to men – who are disadvantaged. Many people with the so-called protected characteristics listed in the UK’s Equality Act (skin colour other than white, a disability, non-heterosexual orientation and so on) suffer similarly disadvantageous effects, regardless of gender. Even being comparatively short in stature has been shown to provide a statistically significant disadvantage in career terms. It is as if we still take it for granted that the ‘ideal’ senior person should be male, white, straight, able-bodied, tall and preferably educated privately. Those who are different always have an uphill battle to prove they can make up for their inherent deficits – even with an exemplary CV.

Increasingly, these issues are being recognised, of course. Many organisations now mandate all staff to attend unconscious bias courses, for example. Still, there’s a suspicion that a lot of lip service is being paid to the problems. It’s relatively easy to write progressive-looking policy documents and organise a few courses. It’s a different thing altogether, at least for many organisations, when it comes to putting significant amounts of hard cash where their mouth is. If you want to see where a company’s true priorities lie, look at how they use their money. Lack of spending on equality and diversity – even in industries with severe skills shortages in traditional male professions that would benefit directly from more women joining them – demonstrates that diversity is often not regarded as a real or pressing so-called ‘business’ problem. I think one of the things we will have to do sooner or later is to face a bottom line issue, one that is often avoided. Namely, that powerful men benefit from the privileges of being a man – they are therefore unlikely to question these privileges seriously unless forced to do so. In addition, the continuing relative hierarchical weakness of people outside privileged male groups means that they will struggle to force senior men to question their gender privileges using formal means. Speaking out effectively takes a lot of guts, and many who protest about workplace inequality too overtly for their bosses’ taste have faced considerable (if often subtle, hard-to-complain) forms of hostility. Over the last 100 years, there have only been two periods in which sustained progress has been made for gender equality in the UK. The first was the era of the Suffragettes who successfully obtained the right to vote. The second was the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, when equal opportunities legislation was first enacted. Outside these two periods, progress has been painfully slow. The lesson of history seems to be that sustained activism for equality can work – indeed that activism may be necessary to get anything much to happen at all. Why are we (men as well as women) not protesting more about the frankly gross injustices that are still rife in society? Given the incentives to stay quiet about it all, perhaps the lack of protests are unsurprising. I suspect, however, that it is only when enough of us get angry enough to protest loudly and openly that change will start to happen more quickly.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Glass Ceiling or Higher Hurdles? According to The Fawcett Society, women in the UK make just “6% of FTSE 100 CEOs, 16.7% Supreme Court Justices, 17.6% of national newspaper editors, 26% of cabinet ministers, 32% of MPs”. Every sector is dominated by men1. Furthermore, women in business hold only 9.8% of executive roles and 27.7% of all directorships. Only 4% of women in the UK are involved in entrepreneurial activities, less than half compared to men. At the same time, “companies across all sectors with the most women on their boards of directors significantly and consistently outperform those with no female representation – by 41% in terms of return on equity and by 56% in terms of operating results”, and “companies in the highest percentile of women on their boards outperformed those in the lowest percentile by 53% higher return on equity, 42% higher return on sales, and 66% higher return on invested capital.” 2

Professor Nigar Hashimzade


This raises a number of questions that are the subject of current academic and policy debates. What influences the choice between becoming an entrepreneur versus taking up a paid job, and to what extent is this choice affected by the discrimination in the capital market? Are women more successful in business than men in identical circumstances? If yes, is the reason behind this difference the fact that in a discriminating world a woman must have entrepreneurial skills superior to that of a man in order to achieve the same level of indicators of business performance? Does this pattern differ across countries with different institutions and regulations and at different stages of development?

than the marginal man owner (or manager). Therefore, the conditional average entrepreneurial skill of women business owners and women managers is higher than that of their male counterparts. If entrepreneurial skill contributes to the business success, then in the identical circumstances firms owned or run by women should perform better than the firms owned or run by men. The model was tested using a detailed firm-level survey of businesses in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, conducted by the EBRD and the World Bank4. The empirical findings support the model assumptions and predictions. There is evidence in the data of discrimination of female entrepreneurs in the capital market. After controlling for the usual factors that determine business performance, including access to finance (captured by prohibitively high interest rates and the size of the collateral), the firms with female owners and/ or female top managers perform better than the firms with male owners and/or male top managers. The findings suggest that, indeed, women entrepreneurs need to demonstrate higher skill than men to achieve the same career success, and that a masked discrimination in the capital market might be behind the distortion of occupational choice and waste of talent. The same may well be taking place in many other countries, including the UK. Policy makers should do more towards monitoring equality and elimination of open and hidden gender discrimination to allow aspiring female entrepreneurs to fully realise their potential.

To address some of these questions, Professor Hashimzade and colleagues conducted a theoretical and empirical investigation of the links across gender bias in lending, occupational choice and business performance3. They constructed a theoretical model where lenders’ discrimination against female entrepreneurs results in a distorted occupational choice. An unequal access to finance leads to different distributions of entrepreneurial skill for men and women conditional on the choice of owning a business or entering paid high-skilled employment, such as a managerial job. In the pool of potential entrepreneurs, the marginal woman owner (or manager) has higher entrepreneurial skill

1 uk-sex-and-power-index-reveals-men-dominate-in-every-sector

2 women-and-work-facts


Nelli S. Gazanchyan, Nigar Hashimzade, Yulia Rodionova, and Natalia Vershinina (2017). “Gender, Access to Finance, Occupational Choice, and Business Performance”, CESifo Working Paper No. 6353.


ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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High Heels and Peacock Tails The Evolutionary Psychology of Fashion

Professor Mike Nicholson

HIGH HEELS AND PEACOCK TAILS • The Evolutionary Psychology of Fashion • 17

It was Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel – better known to the world as Coco – who famously remarked that the whole point of fashion was “to become unfashionable”. From her boutique at 31 Rue Cambon, soon to celebrate its centenary, she set out to shake off the ‘corseted constraints’ of inter-war austerity fashions, launching innovative collections of casual sporty designs that quickly became the epitome of Parisian chic. Chanel gave the world classic couture and today’s fashion seasons, all through a shrewd understanding of the role style plays as a signal of individual sophistication and social status. Wear anything “last season” and you convey neither. Fashion signalling is a prominent theme in evolutionary consumer psychology. Whereas most psychologists look for differences between individuals, such as those resulting from personality traits or learning, those viewing the world through a Darwinian lens are more interested in the regularities in behaviour that often seem to cut across socio-cultural boundaries. We all know that foods high in fat and sugar content are bad for us, for instance, but we just can’t resist that nice juicy burger or the last slice of cheesecake! Why? Because our brains evolved to face the harsh environment inhabited by our hunter-gatherer ancestors, not the more sedentary world we live in today, and a hardwired preference for energy-rich foods makes perfect sense when seen in that light. All societies have their own particular junk foods, making this a good example of an evolved cross-cultural decision bias – and it is these specieslevel consumer insights that are attracting increasing attention from marketers seeking to build truly global brands. Of course, signalling itself is by no means unique to humans. The most stunning example of ‘nature’s chic’ is to be found in the tail feathers of the peacock. Beautiful colours and intricate patterns, arrogantly displayed via an almost catwalklike strutting movement to signal biological strength and social status to available peahens. It’s all about status displays and, when it comes to mate attraction, means signalling

access to resources that are both scarce and prized. Even when we aren’t consciously in the mating marketplace, it’s our Armani suits and Louis Vuitton handbags that are the human signalling equivalents of the peacock’s tail. And if it’s gold that’s currently prized, just show off that bling! Sex and fashion, it seems, are inextricably linked. This stems from the fact that men and women are biologically different and not just in the more obvious ways. Sex differences in neuroanatomy and neurochemistry result in corresponding sex differences in information processing. Want to sell more of a product to a particular sex? Pair that product with an attractive member of the opposite sex. Want to sell even more? Make sure the male model you use has a symmetrical baby-like face or the female model’s waist-to-hip ratio is close to 0.7 – two simple visual indicators of reproductive fitness. It’s no coincidence that we often refer to those we find attractive as being ‘fit’. Sex differences such as these shape a variety of our consumption decisions. Men are more preoccupied with technology products and trends, for instance, reflecting a desire to show mastery over the environment, while women display similar levels of preoccupation with products such as jewellery which have more long-term investment value, which is why diamonds are still ‘a girl’s best friend’. Similarly, although most Western societies have seen phenomenal growth when it comes to appearance-enhancing consumption activities among both sexes, women continue to account for the lion’s share of the skincare and cosmetic surgery markets with the one exception of breast reduction procedures, where men are the dominant clients in what is probably an unconscious attempt to preserve the male physique. A note of caution, though: Sex and gender are complex variables, both often exerting an effect. Men may well find a woman in high heels attractive due to their effect on her lumbar curvature, but women often report that it is the sense of confidence and power the extra height brings that makes them endure the discomfort and pain. These latter effects are more socially constructed, suggesting gender is playing a greater role here. Despite these qualifications, evolutionary psychology is an important field of inquiry that extends way beyond the marketing domain. Ultimately, it is about uncovering unconscious biases resulting from our biology. In the field of HR, new evidence has emerged about the relationships between a person’s evolutionary fit and the impact this can have on recruitment decisions and the references we write. Worrying perhaps, but it is only by uncovering such biases that we can work to overcome them.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

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Transforming Careers and Lives Edgar Cortés and Manuel Preciado Hernández graduated from the School’s MSc Finance programme in 2016. After returning to Colombia, their finance careers have gone from strength to strength.

Before applying to Durham, Edgar had studied Economics at Los Andes University and was also undertaking an MBA. He also had worked as a

Financial Consultant and a Financial Analyst. Manuel had completed his undergraduate degrees in Finance and in Economics at the Universidad Del Rosario. As well as an internship as a Research Assistant, he was a Corporate Credit Risk Analyst.

FROM BOGOTA, TO DURHAM AND BACK AGAIN • Transforming Careers and Lives • 19

To further their careers they chose to study their Masters in the UK and Durham University Business School due to its academic reputation and location. Although Manuel received a number of offers from universities across the UK, he decided to study MSc Finance at Durham. Manuel said: “The School and programme reputation was important to me, and Durham’s finance and investment route offered me all I needed to further my career. The programme provided me with the opportunity to tailor my academic experience as I could choose among a variety of elective modules, including Market Microstructure or Behavioural Finance and Economics, to name but a few, which are current topics within the financial industry.” Durham University Business School offered a safe, historic and peaceful city. Manuel said: “University facilities were all within a walkable distance which is fantastic, especially when you come from a big, busy and chaotic city like Bogota.”

Edgar said: “I would also like to say I just followed my heart, something I cannot really explain told me that was the spot in this huge world I had to choose and give my all to. I was looking forward to living overseas in a country with a completely different culture and language. With the openness and welcoming attitude of the British people that live, work and study in Durham, I am telling you, I would choose Durham over and over again for the complete package.”

Both agree that studying at Durham University Business School was the best year of their lives. Edgar said: “The way the MSc Finance programme is planned allowed me to acquire a huge amount of knowledge and hands-on practical experience, which developed me as a person and has enabled me to further my career in Colombia.”

Manuel said: “There were also a number of extracurricular activities that really added to my Durham experience from finance to sport. This included the Durham University Finance Society, in which I was able to

attend a number of networking events and interact with professionals of different nationalities.” Edgar said: “Coming all the way from a country without seasons, with Spanish as the native language and my friends and family with me the whole time, it seemed like an enormous challenge and a complete change of lifestyle. But, truth be told, the amazing and beautiful city of Durham enabled me to adapt and have an absolutely incredible experience.” Following gradation, both returned to Bogota. Edgar took a position as an Analyst with The Fund for Guarantees of Financial Institutions, which is a financial authority attached to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. Manuel was contacted by a recruitment agency whilst still in the UK currently working with Colombian Foreign Trade Bank, which is owned by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia. Manuel recently moved to a different position within the bank and is currently working for the Financial Risk Department, undertaking an assessment of international financial institutions creditworthiness. Edgar has recently moved and now is a Research Assistant at S&P Global Ratings, a major international credit rating agency. He said: “All the knowledge I acquired on the programme and the reputation of Durham University Business School has enabled me to get the job I currently have. The position and company requires you to have an outstanding academic background and the experience to enhance the goals of the company. This means protecting every single one of the Colombian deposits and implementing resolution mechanisms to companies with financial difficulties in the most smooth and costless way for the country.” Manuel said: “Since completing my Masters and returning to Bogota my earnings have vastly increased, and without my Durham experience and qualification I would not have the job I am in now. I undertake market data analysis used to make business decisions and generate growth, working closely with companies from different industries and professionals towards business diversification and sophistication across Colombia.” Edgar said: “Durham gave me everything and I gave it my all. I was awarded the Santander scholarship by Durham and gained my Masters, but most important of all, I acquired an unbreakable love for the UK and for Durham.”

LINK You can find out more about our MSc Finance programmes at:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Diversity & Internationalisation

An Alternative, Personal View on Diversity As a mixed-race, White British & Black Caribbean female, working in the City of London for a Japanese bank covering the Nordic countries, I have a personal perspective on the topic of diversity and internationalism within the modern working environment. As per McKinsey’s recent review of the benefits of gender and ethnic diversity in the workplace, the case and evidence-based research for wider participation at all levels of an organisation has never been more accessible.

Clarissa Milne


Happily, I have never felt excluded or discouraged from the banking sector due to my personal makeup and background. Great strides have been made with open access workshops targeting young people to open financial services to the widest possible pool of new recruits for an industry focused on acquiring talented youngsters, would you expect anything else?

We have quite rightly celebrated and championed the first of many things in the diversity arena: the first female astronaut, the first openly homosexual politician, the first Muslim Mayor of London. Looking at these ‘firsts’, you notice how determined and driven these individuals are. They have at times overcome adversity, challenged convention and admirably shown another path to success. These are lessons for us all. However, the further I advance in the banking industry, I hit upon an inescapable observation. The concept of what I shall call characteristic-based diversity (i.e. gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.) is the same as something which I think is lacking in many organisations today: diversity in thought. The hues of the office have broadened, the number of nations represented soared and sexual orientation and gender self-identification more widely accepted, however my peers and I tend to follow a similar pattern; the same education milestones, the same friends and social circles, even the same politics. This leads me to some perplexing questions. Despite our growing outward diversity, has our similar life experience and subsequent groupthink mentality been advantageous in the modern era? How can our outlook keep up with the fast paced, constantly evolving world that we all experience in everyday life, when all the ideas we have are the same? I contend that what matters most now, and what we need more of, is the ability to be expansive in our outlook, more accepting of new ideas and welcoming of constructive criticism. You may think this is idealistic but being preeminent now is no guarantee for success later on. The question is how you stay relevant. An inquisitive and broad outlook must be part of the answer. I am pleased to say change is afoot in the financial services sector with a growing commitment to thought diversity that could only have been dreamt about previously. Employers

are now more actively teaching emotional intelligence courses to promote better understanding and openness to colleagues. Investment is being made into employee profiling via personality tests to help staff understand their own motivations, how they appear to others and how to overcome differences in viewpoint and behaviours. Lastly, the growth of reverse mentoring, with junior staff actively engaging leaders, is helping to broaden executives’ understanding and outlook on other generations and upcoming industry trends. This may seem a world away at present, but it is important to understand how thought diversity is relevant to you. Our experiences and the lessons learned materially shape our outlook and it is this, alongside our academic achievements, that we bring to a working environment. Many of the skills and insights employers are trying to find are those that can be found in the most normal of settings: the student job in those wonderfully long holiday seasons, volunteering at events for causes close to your heart, trials and tribulations on your stocks and shares portfolio, participation in sporting/music/ creative events…the opportunities are endless. It has been widely stated that one of the benefits of diversity is the concept of ‘If I see people that look like me, or have characteristics that are most reflective of me, then that means I can do it too’. I would challenge all readers of this article to think a little braver on this point. Instead, I would like to change the narrative to, ‘If I see an organisation accepting of a broader range of views, what can I bring to the table that could benefit our discussion?’ For me, thought diversity is all about how you think and a reflection of the type of person you are and want to be. You are in complete control of what value you can bring to an organisation, and employers are hunting to find a future crop of people willing to shake things up.

Clarissa Milne graduated from Durham University Business School in 2009 with BA(Hons) in Business Finance. Clarissa is now Senior Associate Director, Nordic Region, at Mizuho Bank, Ltd. Image shows Clarissa delivering a talk at a Business School Open Day.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Diversity & Internationalisation

How the Creative Fuse Project is Supporting a Diverse Creative Community

Imagine a room of local artists, craftspeople and small digital businesses, each building an octopus using Play-Doh whilst playing a collaborative board game custom-designed to help them explore planning and delivering their own arts and crafts workshops. Or picture a group of similar businesses and academics exploring how Instagram art can facilitate economic growth. These are just two examples of the workshop programme designed and delivered by Durham University Business School researchers Dr Alistair Brown and Dr Ladan Cockshut in Spring 2018, aimed at North East England-based creative practitioners hoping to improve or optimize their business practices. As a result of these efforts the University is benefiting from novel engagements with a distinctly unique, local, and diverse group of creative, digital, and cultural practitioners on an unprecedented scale.


Creative Fuse North East (CFNE) is a collaboration between all five universities in the North East of England and is a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder action project running until October 2018 aimed at exploring the social, economic and innovation value of the Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) sector across the region. The CFNE Durham team, based in the Business School and led by Principal Investigator, Dr Mariann Hardey, has shaped its programme of support – called Bespoke – around the needs of businesses and draws on the research and professional expertise of the team on areas including digital development and social media, gamification, arts and creativity, creative marketing, pedagogy and workshop design, and funding and collaboration for small businesses. The project itself is not only novel in its engagement across the region but also in how it has benefited from an interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in the Arts and Humanities, Culture Durham and the Business School to generate new opportunities and connections in the creative sector. The team – which also includes Ed Ruck-Keene, business development manager for Advanced Research Computing, and co-Investigator Dr Gretchen Larsen, Associate Professor in the Business School – has reached out to creative and digital businesses located predominantly in County Durham to explore and facilitate innovation and growth in businesses while being sympathetic to the individuals behind them. The resulting activity has established contacts with almost 200 small and sole-trading businesses in the region over the past six months, many of whom have had no prior relationship with the University. These businesses, on the whole, represent the team’s own ethos and approach to this work: local, diverse and unique. To effectively reach these often isolated and lone working businesses, the team adopted a dispersed approach by taking their work out to businesses and asking them for direct input into the supportive content being delivered. An example has been the work carried out at the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope, a community, tourist and cultural hub in Weardale. The team not only visited craft fairs and shops at the Centre to meet local artists and businesses but also delivered workshops and drop-in sessions on site. This provided more rural businesses with access to the project’s research and teaching expertise. It is also becoming clear, based on the locations of businesses engaging with the project, that the creative and digital economy is well dispersed across the region, including rural or non-urban environments. Going forward, this knowledge will be beneficial for other projects, and it is the aim of the project to sustain the long term engagement between the School and University with more of County Durham’s businesses.

The uniqueness of the businesses themselves also features notably in the project. Engaging with such a broad range of commercial activity has allowed the team to unlock diversity at a human and local level. Diversity may often evoke notions of identity, and while that has been observed, the team has also identified that diversity within the region’s creative businesses also includes diversity of business needs and personal aspirations. Most businesses in this sector, especially in County Durham, are not the prominent corporations usually targeted by universities but rather sole traders who, by definition of being individuals, present their own experiences that entwine the business with the personal.

These creative businesses possess a range of life and work experience and authentically represent the diversity across the North East. They have to reconcile their needs as businesses with the personal journey that led them on this creative path. CFNE’s aim is to effectively link the University to them to generate new forms of innovation, growth and opportunity. Creative Fuse North East has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Arts Council England and European Regional Development Fund.

LINK Creative Fuse North East:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Diversity & Internationalisation

Improving Diversity Through Supporting Autonomy

Serving with Fairness, Integrity, Diligence and Impartiality: An Evidence-Based Approach for Reducing Bias and Prejudice in Policing In March of this year, Dr Les Graham hosted the 2018 Durham University Policing Conference: Insights from Evidence. The conference was opened by Professor Susan Hart, Dean of Durham University Business School, who welcomed the 135 senior police people from forces across the United Kingdom. The focus of the conference was on the evidence and underpinning theory from the collaborative research conducted with 36 police forces and on how forces have used the research findings to successfully achieve improvement of workplace factors to improve their effectiveness, and benefit their employees and the communities they serve. Of particular note at this year’s conference was the work Dr Les Graham has conducted working with Dr Netta Weinstein (School of Psychology - Cardiff University) ‘An Evidencebased Approach for Reducing Bias and Prejudice in Policing’.


Deputy Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “Identifying new and effective ways of reducing biased behaviour and potential prejudice is very important in policing as it affects both our staff and the public we serve.” There is an increasing awareness within policing of the importance to improve diversity and attitudes towards equality as these factors are fundamental to the principle on which UK Policing is based on policing by consent. In a recent review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (2017), it was identified that unconscious bias towards people from different backgrounds such as those with different religions or racial backgrounds threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the police and is the largest barrier to effective community engagement. Only a small number of studies on how to tackle unconscious bias exist and while some approaches may appear promising, the limited prior research suggests that interventions adopted to tackle unconscious bias may have limited success or even make the situation worse. Working with four police forces, Dr Graham and Dr Weinstein have completed studies as part of a larger programme of research towards designing and developing concrete and clear strategies to improve attitudes towards diversity and equality. The research is based on the idea that it is vital that people not only conform to workplace codes of conduct, but more importantly that peoples’ internal motivation to treat people from diverse groups with dignity and respect can be increased. The work is informed by self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2000). Research in SDT has shown that working to support peoples’ autonomy is critical to change behaviour in a meaningful way.

Left: Dr Les Graham and Deputy Chief Constable Jo Farrell

The research conducted in policing by Dr Graham and Dr Weinstein focuses on communication strategies used within forces that enhance the experience of being supported in one’s sense of choice and self-expression, which in turn is expected to motivate reductions in prejudice. In the initial studies the active potential dimensions of autonomy-support have been explored. These include factors such as encouraging an absence of pressure and guilt, the provision of structure, the need for perspective-taking, the provision of a rationale of the needs and consequences of poor attitudes and that of allowing people choice in their decision making. In the studies the findings support the importance of developing autonomy-supportive strategies for the improvement of attitudes towards diversity in police officers and staff. Autonomy-support was found to be positively related to an internal motivation to overcome prejudice, which in turn improved peoples’ attitudes towards diversity and equality. The findings suggest that police organisations can improve attitudes towards diversity and equality through an autonomy-supportive culture rather than that of a controlling one. In a more positive culture, people will come to personally value being more accepting of diverse colleagues, while in a controlling culture they may become frustrated and defiant. Dr Graham leads the Policing Research Unit at Durham University Business School which is currently collaborating with police forces to conduct longitudinal collaborative research in policing. The project is partfunded by research awards from the College of Policing, Durham University Seed-Corn funding and the ESRC IAA research fund. It is supported by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Diversity & Internationalisation

What do Leaders Look Like? I recently watched a TV show putting people through the training given to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) – the secret espionage and sabotage organisation created during World War II. The trainees were asked to vote on which member of their group they would trust to lead them in a mission and which member they would choose to leave behind. The first two members voted to be left behind were a gay man and a black woman, while the leaders they chose were white men, one a military veteran. The real SOE on the other hand recruited agents from very diverse backgrounds, including over 3000 women – people who had special skills and who could disappear into a crowd. Although just a TV show, this reminded me of how much we can be influenced by our ideas of what a leader looks, sounds and behaves like. Career theorist John Kruboltz points out the influence of this kind of worldview generalisation on career choice. If we can see leaders who look like us, it is easier to see ourselves as leaders. In the same way, we are biased, consciously or unconsciously, to choose leaders who resemble those who have gone before.

MBA programmes allow students to develop and demonstrate their readiness to lead. In 2017, the Full-time MBA programme intake at Durham University Business School included 67% women – far above the average for UK and EU schools in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking. The cohort is also internationally diverse, with 18 nationalities represented. Students have the opportunity to learn together in diverse groups and to experience each other’s leadership. The Durham MBA also provides companies with access to a pool of candidates that could help them address the diversity of their talent pipelines.

If you are contemplating a career move, or working out what roles might be right for you, take a moment to check that you are not ruling anything out on the basis that “I am not the kind of person who does this kind of thing”. Challenge your own perceptions of what you could do. If you are in a position to make decisions about who to hire, consider whether you are ruling anyone out because they don’t seem to fit in or don’t look like the people you expect to find in the role. Promote diverse images of people at all levels of your organisation that candidates can identify with. Remember too that some people might need more encouragement to see themselves as leaders and might have reservations in articulating their leadership abilities, whether because they have never seen anyone they identify with in a leadership role or because their culture places greater value on team cohesion than on individual leadership. And if you can’t find someone who looks, sounds or behaves like you in a leadership role, don’t wait to find a role model, but become that role model for others.

Wendy Pearson


/ Diversity & Internationalisation


Greg Longley

Durham University Business School helps facilitate this. It enables us to accept, embrace and appreciate our differences as we journey towards making our postgraduate learning a success. It thrives, and it works on the basis of the fact that we are all different, that it brings with it an essential mix of diversity and internationalism. As divisive as the issue is, and whether you are ‘Pro Brexit’ or a ‘Remainer’, if everyone is completely honest, no one really knows what the future holds after the historic June 2016 vote where the UK opted to leave the European Union. Putting the wrangling aside at least enables energy to be focused on making a success of whatever the future holds. Surely the positive lens is that we at least have some power in shaping that future? The vote on 23 June 2016 doesn’t mean an end to diversity and internationalisation, but in fact, the opposite can apply. If I look at my Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) cohort at Durham University Business School, I can see the wonder of diversity and internationalism at work first hand. The non-EU centric focus this brings is refreshing, invaluable and opens up our eyes to other ways of working, other cultures different to ours and strengthens our learning beyond the narrow confines of what some us may have previously known. There are no similar courses that offer what the Durham DBA course does in terms of a truly global cohort. Every year of the DBA has a similar combination of people, and the impending Brexit transition hasn’t stopped that enthusiasm to learn at one of the best institutions in Europe.

I struggle to name somewhere else at postgraduate level where you can not only listen to, but also enjoy listening to a fellow student’s updates on pension reform in Switzerland, public sector infrastructure in Bulgaria and higher education developments in China!

On that point, both sides of the Brexit divide can do a lot worse than to embody the spirit of the Durham DBA. There is a big old world out there, and wherever we live is only ever a small part of it. There are parts that we may never know let alone experience, and where possible if opportunities come our way to embrace this, then we should open our arms and do just that. Our future isn’t only the past 40 years when we joined the EU in 1973; it’s also the centuries before that, and the centuries to come – a future of global trade, of global learning, of global cultures – a future of genuine diversity and internationalism. The spirit of Durham.

LINK You can follow Greg on Twitter at @TheGregLongley

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Research & Impact


Dr Barbara Bechter

Currently in the UK, there is both an increase in demand for health services and strong innovation-led growth in the manufacturing sector, which has meant that the UK is looking for more health professionals and skilled labour from other European countries – however this is a major challenge.

unethical recruitment practices, and the hospital sector has recently successfully recommitted to its code of conduct in April 2018.

One of these challenges is the European Sectoral Social Dialogue (ESSD) committee, which is implemented in up to 43 different industries across Europe and prevents downward competition on wages and employees’ terms and conditions, for the benefit of 145 million workers and more than six million businesses.

This high competition among richer countries for skilled labour has increasing implications for the UK as it will be affected not only by the migration policy of the UK after Brexit but also broader economic factors, causing significant business uncertainty. If the UK is no longer part of the ESSD following Brexit, then policy outcomes or regulations agreed through the ESSD will be completely out of the UK’s control, yet the UK will still be affected by it – making the employment of European health professionals and skilled labour even more challenging.

The ESSD commits businesses to a code of conduct on ethical cross-border recruitment to address inequalities and unnecessary burdens on healthcare caused by

In the current project, Social Partner Engagement and Effectiveness in European Dialogue (SPEED) which has been funded by the European Commission, Dr Bechter has investigated the motivation and benefits for social partners to engage in this dialogue at the European level. The study investigates ESSD in the hospital sector and metal manufacturing sector, both of which are heavily affected by cross-border employee movements, and shows that joint decisions aimed at suppressing unfair recruitment practices are less likely when competition amongst employers is high.



From an international trade perspective, the choices for the UK’s relationship with the EU are clear: Either the UK should remain in the EU to retain full access to the single market, customs union and all EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Non-EU countries, or the UK should leave both the single market and the customs union in order to regain the ability to sign its own independent FTAs.

In terms of international trade, all the potential benefits of leaving the EU, such as the ability to negotiate better tailored FTAs for the UK or to unilaterally reduce barriers to imports and promote more competition in the UK, can only be achieved by leaving the customs union, thus giving the UK direct control over its trade policy. The research undertaken in international trade at Durham

Michael Nower, PhD Candidate

University Business School shows that the potential benefits of unilaterally reducing the UK’s barriers to imports could be as large as a 3% increase in long-run GDP. However, remaining in the EU allows the UK to retain access to both the free flow of international trade within the single market, and the FTA’s the EU currently has or is in the process of negotiating. The middle ground, where the UK leaves the single market but remains in the customs union, leaves the UK in a position guaranteed to decrease UK international trade in comparison to if the UK remained in the European Union. The research shows that even if the UK remains in the customs union, UK GDP is expected to fall by at least 1% in the long-run and by up to 2.6% in the short-run. The international trade decision is therefore obvious: Either the status quo should be maintained, or the UK should leave the customs union, as the middle ground of leaving the single market, but remaining in the customs union has less benefits than staying in the EU and none of the potential benefits of leaving the single market and customs union.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Research & Impact

The Journey to Becoming a Parliamentary Fellow

Professor Laurence Ferry


My research into accountability of public services has had various impacts, including workshops, involving key institutional players such as the National Audit Office, Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the Local Government Association and the Centre for Public Scrutiny among others. I have also provided written evidence to Parliament cited by Select Committees in their reports and distributed to MPs, influencing their thoughts on key issues affecting the country. In December 2017, I was invited to give oral evidence at the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on Brexit and Local Government at Parliament. Furthermore, my research was translated into the jazz musical, The Austerity Playbook, a sold out performance at the theatre as part of Freedom City 2017. I have since been invited to talk around this in Paris and Washington DC. What is most exciting is being successful as a Parliamentary Academic Fellow 2018-2019. I am one of just over a dozen successful academics to be given full access to Parliament and work closely with a select committee on a range of issues where research can be fed into policy and practice. I am lucky to be working with the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on public accountability, and more specifically on looking at whether accountability arrangements for local government are robust given the significant changes that the sector has had to deal with including austerity-localism, financial and service sustainability, devolution, combined authorities, Brexit and the industrial strategy. Back in May 2018, I had an induction at Westminster. Whilst I had been to Parliament previously, now I had my own pass – effectively making me an insider! What hit me was just how open and accessible Parliament is to the public. It is a very public space and in no way private, upholding the virtue of democracy that our country holds so dear. Even the traditions of Parliament uphold this, such as Black Rod representing the Monarchy and the importance of separation between the House of Lords and House of Commons. As part of the induction, we were escorted through the back corridors to Westminster Hall congregating inside the large doors near the desk where the tours depart from. We were

also given a tour of the Palace so we could all understand the history and culture that underpins how Parliament functions and why some things are done the way they are. As an accounting scholar, this is more critical than many realise, as the accounting ultimately affects and is affected by organisations, institutions and society. A lot of my work therefore looks at how accounting functions within the institution of democracy. After a splendid tour that has already enriched my research, we had lunch altogether in the cafeteria in Portcullis House and were joined by staff from the Parliament Office for Science and Technology (POST). After lunch, we looked at where to work on the Estate and had an overview from the Library Operations and Engagement Team and were given a tour of the space in Derby Gate Library that is available for you to work in. This is important, as the Library is really a foundation for research. The afternoon sessions covered academic research in Parliament. The Social Science Adviser, POST, gave an overview of the main areas in Parliament where research is used and talked about the steps Parliament is taking to support academics to engage with Parliament through their research. This was followed by an academic who talked on their work as a Special Adviser to select committees in the Commons and Lords. Another speaker from the Lords Constitution Committee shared insights and reflections on their different experiences from various roles they had held, including an overview of what Select Committees are and how they run, their relationship to Government, how they choose what to focus on and who to call to give evidence. A library specialist – researcher for Parliament – then gave an overview of what the libraries are and what their role is. This was very critical, as it highlights how different research is created and used to influence and shape policy and scrutiny processes. Finally, there was a reflection and discussion around the academic fellowship from the previous cohort.

I look forward to continuing to work with my main contact staff throughout my project and working towards the outcomes we are aiming for.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Research & Impact

Regional and Local Impact in the North East of England An Overview of the Institute for Local Governance

BACKGROUND Durham University Business School recognises in pursuing its educational philosophy and strategy that engagement, impact and sustainable development are key activities in the pursuit of academic excellence. Professor John Mawson

The Institute for Local Governance (ILG) has sought to make its contribution to these key themes since it was hosted within the Business School some eight years ago as a University initiative with support from the ESRC’s Ventures Scheme. The ILG operates as a research and knowledge exchange partnership, involving many of the region’s key public sector organisations (local authorities, police, fire and rescue, and public health bodies) as well as drawing on the North East’s five universities. Its focus is on providing management and public policy expertise in a world of rapid change in which the boundaries between private, public and voluntary sectors are becoming increasingly blurred. The ILG functions as an ‘intermediary’ or ‘bridging agency’, whose role is to identify and secure the delivery of the research requirements of its public sector partners through the facilitation of collaboration between practitioners and the relevant academics concerned. The ILG team of three staff, with senior experience in university research and public sector management, are located within the School. The activities are funded by annual subscription added to by grant income and overseen by a quarterly Management Board, chaired on a rotating basis by local authority Chief Executives, with senior representatives from the partners and the University, including Professor Susan Hart, Dean of Durham University Business School.

REGIONAL AND LOCAL IMPACT IN THE NORTH EAST • An Overview of the Institution for Local Governance • 33

R AT I O N A L E The ILG emerged from a lengthy dialogue surrounding these challenges amongst its North East stakeholders. It was recognised that there were common interests in the pursuit of research and intelligence in the sphere of local and regional governance. Also acknowledged was that the two worlds of academia and practice sometimes draw on different forms of knowledge. This presented a potential opportunity to generate new insights based on a two-way flow of knowledge and experience. In taking forward these ideas of co-production, the partners recognised that there can be a range of organisational barriers to knowledge exchange which may need to be addressed. There is evidence that practitioners do not always understand how to engage in and utilise university research and vice versa. This was to be tackled in ILG processes by identifying key contacts in each university, strengthening corporate commitment in local authorities to an agreed research agenda, bringing together academics and practitioners in research dialogue through various formal and informal events and partnership arrangements and a ‘light touch’ support role to practitioners, if necessary, as the research proceeds. It was also recognised that it would be difficult for any university within the ILG Partnership to provide the necessary full range of expertise in local governance. Further, there was often a lack of awareness of world class research capacity present locally, hence the need to establish a ‘virtual’ institute, drawing together and promoting research capacity present in all the universities involved. While the ILG’s strategy of facilitating local sourcing was designed to improve access to high-quality and cost-effective research and intelligence, it was also recognised that the activity could serve to promote a key sector in the regional economy – Higher Education.



02 03


Secured the delivery of 90 research projects by North East academics for its public sector partners worth over £2 million, including 20 projects delivered directly by the ILG Team and other Business School colleagues. 195 research seminars involving over 5000 academics and practitioners were delivered across the region.

Levered over £1 million of funding for the partnership from research councils, charitable trusts, voluntary organisations and central and local government.

Initiated and funded the delivery of major region-wide ‘impact’ studies including topics such as: Scottish and North East Devolution, Large Plant Closure (Northumberland), Large Scale Capital Projects (Teesside), Welfare Reform, Public Expenditure cuts, Mental Health Services for Young People, Child Poverty, Procurement policies for SMEs.

Over 150 academics from the region’s five universities have been involved in delivering projects representing a wide range of disciplines including management studies, with 16 projects involving two or more.

Looking to the future, the ILG is currently reviewing its activities against the financial pressures faced by its partners, with the object of continuing to maintain its successful knowledge exchange and impact activities in a sustainable form. The ILG Team Professor John Mawson, Phillip Edwards, Dr Deborah Harrison, and Janet Atkinson. Further information:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Sustainability & Ethics


Professor Geoff Moore

As a School, we are committed to the ‘Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (ERS) agenda’, as we term it. This now forms part of our overall strategic framework as shown in the diagram below:


Ethics, Responsibility & Sustainability

External Engagement & Connection

We are in the process of producing an ERS Strategy to go alongside the strategies in all the other areas of this framework. Within ERS, one of our longer-standing commitments has been to the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), which the School has been a member of since 2012. Part of the membership commitment is to provide a ‘Sharing Information on Progress’ (SIP) report every two years, and we have just submitted our third such report, which you can find on the School’s website. The report covers the School’s education, research, partnership and dialogue activities, together with activities such as carbon emissions, all broadly within the area of ERS. Highlights from our 2018 report include: our commitment to produce “graduates who are equipped to become architects of a more equitable and sustainable world”, and to embed ERS in the curriculum in order to achieve this; a sample of our research outputs, which are relevant to this agenda together with an example of our research in relation to power sector reforms to improve access to energy and reduce poverty in developing countries; our partnership with 35 police forces in the UK exploring ethical leadership and behaviour; our own

staff volunteering programme; and our commitment to gender equality through the Athena Swan charter. As always, we are keen to receive feedback on this and to enter into partnerships with organisations where we might be able to contribute to and learn from similar initiatives. For more information, please contact Professor Geoff Moore.

LINK For more information please contact Professor Geoff Moore on: To view our latest ‘Sharing Information on Progress’ (SIP) report visit: For more information on the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) visit:

THE DURHAM MBA • Soaring High in the Financial Times 2018 Rankings • 35

THE DURHAM MBA - Soaring High in the Financial Times 2018 Rankings FULL TIME MBA



9th in the UK 18th in Europe 64th in the world

2nd in the UK 3rd in Europe 5th in the world

3rd in the UK 9th in Europe 35th in the world

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2018

Financial Times Online MBA Ranking 2018

Financial Times Top 50 MBA Programmes for Women

The Durham MBA has again performed well in this year’s MBA rankings by the Financial Times (FT). The FT rankings, which are among the most prestigious rankings for business schools, list the world’s best 100 MBA programmes based upon a number of factors including programme costs and return on investment, salaries and class make-up. The Durham Full-time MBA led the way at the start of the year in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2018 in which it was ranked 9th in the UK, 18th in Europe and achieved a position of 64th globally, climbing 11 places from last year’s position of 75th. The programme also achieved 1st in the UK and 23rd globally for average salary increase for the programme’s alumni. The ranking reveals that the School’s Full-time MBA graduates have seen an average salary increase of 118% in the three years following graduation, compared to the salaries they received prior to starting the programme. Furthermore, the Durham Full-time MBA also ranked 2nd in the UK and 5th globally for value for money, demonstrating the strong return on investment for the programme’s alumni. In addition to the overall ranking, the FT also released their top 10 MBA programmes in selected categories list, and the Full-time MBA was 1st in the UK for both economics (3rd globally) and marketing (10th globally). In March, the Online MBA was recognised, again, as one of the world’s top programmes by the FT, with the programme ranked 2nd in the UK and 5th globally. The Online MBA also achieved a position of 2nd in the world for return on investment and 3rd in the world for career progress, recognising the quality and successes of the School’s alumni.

To coincide with International Women’s Day, the FT released, for the first time, their Top 50 MBA Programmes for Women list. In this, the Durham MBA achieved a position of 35th globally and 3rd in the UK. The ranking also positioned the programme 1st globally for value for money, 3rd globally for female faculty as well as 4th globally and 3rd in the UK for gender pay gap. This new ranking demonstrates the importance of business education for women and clearly defines which institutions are really making a difference. Dr Julie Hodges, Associate Dean of MBA Programmes at Durham University Business School, is delighted by the success that the Online MBA and Full-time MBA programmes have seen in this year’s rankings so far, and said:

“The results highlight that the Durham MBA is a world-class programme and one that continues to develop and evolve to meet the emerging trends of the global landscape. Our students benefit from the academic excellence of the Business School, our network of connections with industry and our successful alumni, all of which enables our students to enhance their capabilities for working in various sectors across the world.” “Also, our Full-time MBA being positioned as one of the world’s top programmes for women in the new Top 50 MBA Programmes for Women list is excellent news. Supporting women to achieve their goals and become leaders in their chosen profession is important throughout the programme.”

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Sustainability & Ethics

Solar Car Innovation on the International Stage Tobias McBride, Head of the Business Team at DUEM and a Masters in Management student at Durham University Business School

Durham University Business School’s aim is to help its students develop the relevant skills and knowledge to become the responsible international business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future. Durham University Electric Motorsport (DUEM) is a perfect example of how Business School students are already using their skills and knowledge to lead innovation in their field at an international level. DUEM is a 50-strong student-run team that designs and constructs solar powered cars to compete in international endurance competitions. Its aim is to encourage further innovation in the development of

sustainable solar energy for electric vehicle usage in the future. Below, Tobias McBride, Head of the Business Team at DUEM and a Masters in Management student at Durham University Business School, gives us an update on the successes of the DUEM team since the beginning of the year.

2017 marked a landmark year for the DUEM team. We exhibited our solar car at a number of international events, such as Goodwood’s Festival of Speed; signed a landmark agreement at the UN COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn, and also took part in a 3000km solar car challenge across the Australian outback against 45 other teams from around the world – which you can read about in the previous IMPACT magazine, Issue 3. This was a truly fantastic way to celebrate our 15th anniversary, by continuing to be at the forefront of solar car technology.


We have already built on our previous successes this year and have been working hard on numerous projects since the beginning of 2018. Our ever-growing push to market our solar car saw us attend Cleantech Innovate in March, an event held at the historic Faraday Lecture Theatre in the Royal Institution in London, which provides developers with the opportunity to put their sustainable technology products in the limelight for potential funding. DUEM pitched its solar car to around 400 potential investors and received a great reception, which hopefully will lead to even more exciting opportunities in the future. We were able to push our visibility even further on the international stage after being invited to appear at the premier electric vehicle championship – Formula E – at its Rome, Paris and Berlin races. This event offers a great opportunity to showcase the solar car to a large, global audience who are specifically interested in not only sustainable energy, but also its uses in transport for the future. We have also been invited to attend and present our solar car for the remainder of this Formula E season – including the Zurich E-Prix on 10 June 2018, which will be the first road race held in Switzerland for over 60 years. However, the Zurich E-Prix is not the only international event we will be presenting our solar car at this summer. We have also been invited to a host of global sustainable energy events, including Energy Live News’ Future of Energy conference – where we shall be showcasing our solar car, promoting its unique innovation and discussing how this can be utilised to create a sustainable future for transport. We have also been invited to present our solar car at the music, science, arts, culture and space festival, Blue Dot, in mid-July, and a top-secret event that details will be released for in the near future. At DUEM, we have continued to expand our outreach programme, focused on attracting the widest range of students as possible into STEM degrees and careers, particularly looking to appeal to students from the most diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope to inspire the next generation of students to push for innovation, seek better sustainable energy and think differently about our planet. Since our launch over 15 years ago, the DUEM team has grown year on year and 2018 has already proven to be the biggest year yet. Behind the scenes, we are already working hard on our next generation solar car which will be released later this year.

There are numerous events that DUEM will be showcasing its solar car technology at this year, new team members to be introduced and a new generation solar car to unveil. The future of energy will be solar, and DUEM are leading the way in the use of solar energy for cars. We have so many exciting opportunities lined up and cannot wait to share our exciting news and updates, as we prepare once again to show the world just what our team can do.

LINK To find out more about DUEM, visit: or follow @DUEM_Electric on Twitter DUEM.Electric on Facebook @DUEM_Electric.Motorsport on Instagram Durham University Electric Motorsport on YouTube

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Student Experience


a Student at Durham University Business School Internationally accredited, Durham University Business School is proudly integral to one of the world’s prestigious universities. Our vision is to lead business thought and practice to improve global wealth and well-being, with a mission to develop and enthuse leaders and entrepreneurs who create, share and use knowledge to deliver equitable and sustainable futures around the world. Students come to the Business School from all over the world, and the 100+ different nationalities are integral to our diversity and internationalisation. With over 3,500 students at our School, we thought it would be interesting for a few to tell us a typical day in their life.

UNDERGRADUATE Jan Blaumeier Current course: BA Philosophy Politics and Economics Year: Second The learning facilities at Durham University Business School are outstanding, and I often spend my time there between lectures, seminars and tutorials working. Studying at Durham, one of the leading universities in the country and specifically as a student of the Business School, of course is challenging, and requires every student to work hard, but it is extremely satisfying and rewarding to see the hard work pay off. That being said, there is always an academic at the School covering your current research or work who is willing to help you succeed.

Studying at Durham offers each student unlimited opportunities during their studies. For me, being interested in a career in the financial industry, getting involved in the Durham University Finance Society (DUFS) has definitely been a highlight. Approaching my final year, I am now President of the society, which has allowed me to gain invaluable insights into finance through networking opportunities with representatives of bulge bracket banks and educational experiences like making investment decisions as an analyst of the society’s investment fund. Joining DUFS further paved the way for a future career in the financial industry.



Full-time MBA

Tangyixun Fu Current course: MSc Finance (Finance and Investment) Year: 2017-2018

Aditi Sharma Current course: Full-time MBA Year: 2017-2018

The most familiar place to me at Durham University is definitely the Business School. Every morning when I walk through the reception area, I pick up the daily Financial Times, which is a helpful resource for keeping up to date on current events and news. The library in the Business School is a good place for self-studying and the Bloomberg machines in the computer room can offer us the data we need for writing essays. In addition, I also participated in the International Study Tour organised by the School, where we visited several financial companies in Zurich. I spent the most wonderful time during this year of study.

At Durham University Business School, a typical day would start at 9am with intense and full participationbased lectures. The duration for these lectures would be four hours, and the way they are conducted by our faculty ensures we get the most out of them.

Moreover, my favourite activity at Durham is attending the formal dinners in different colleges with my friends. As the colleges organise various styles and themes of formal dinners, such as, ‘Halloween’, ‘Chinese New Year’, ‘Harry Potter’ and so on, we can choose to participate according to our own interests. Some of the colleges require us to wear a gown and sit at the long table to chat and have dinner together. It is like living in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! This kind of activity is very special and interesting, and has become one of the most popular activities among students.

I am so glad I chose Durham University and to study at the Business School, where I’ve made unforgettable memories.

During our lunch breaks, we talk about our lectures and food from different parts of the world, as the majority of people are from international locations. For the second half of the day, we either have group work or undertake a foreign language class. The rest of the day is mostly spent reviewing the newly learnt concepts and frameworks and putting them into practice. The way the MBA course is planned helps me change and develop my outlook in perceiving and analysing business concerns. I come from a technical background, but the course structure and faculty help me to understand complex concepts and equip me with the ability to apply them in real world situations. The experience-based learning and diversity in the class also helped me widen my horizon. The learning experience was engaging and required constant efforts. The Durham MBA has given me the confidence to start my career with more experience and learning. I will not forget my global network and experience, which will remain with me even after I finish my MBA programme.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Student Experience

Online MBA

Executive MBA

Dimitrios Dimitriou Current course: Online MBA Year: Second

Itzel Nieto Sanchez Current course: Durham-EBS EMBA Year: Graduating June 2018 Current job title: Senior Product Manager, Terumo Europe

My daily weekday schedule reverts around ensuring that I devote at least a couple of hours a day for studying. Inevitably my weekends are also focused on studying, as an MBA is a very demanding course. Additionally, the Online MBA students at Durham University Business School are presented with a choice of taking some modules as ‘taught’ or ‘online’. My personal preference is taught modules. As a result of that, I had the chance to visit the Business School four times in the period of April 2017 to April 2018. It was a nice break from my daily routine, as I had the opportunity to catch up with other members of my cohort and remember the perks that come with being a student again for a few days!

I highly recommend the EMBA programme at DurhamEBS. The part-time nature of the programme allowed me to continue working as a Senior Product Manager in a medical device company, while pursuing a business education. The 3-4 days a month classroom sessions in the European Business School or in the Durham Business School covered all the relevant topics and allowed enough room for discussion and interaction. Additionally, as our cohort was quite international, with participants from around 11 different countries and from different sectors, it gave the opportunity to obtain a well-rounded perspective on business matters. Not only did I learn from my professors and peers, but we also developed friendships that I believe will last for years to come.

Meeting my fellow students for the first time was very interesting especially because each one of us comes from a different background, and we can share different experiences. Exchanging first impressions and discussing each other’s anticipated outcomes from the MBA course was an eye-opener.

For women in business, having to juggle between work and family life, I can also recommend this programme. In the middle of the programme, I became a first-time mother. It was a challenge to incorporate the workload required to complete each class into my new family life, but in doing so, I developed my time management skills and learnt the value of building a support network – both of which are key also for my current professional life. Now, I have accepted a new position as a Marketing Manager with another large medical device company, with even more responsibilities. Nevertheless, the skills and knowledge that I developed during the EMBA gave me the confidence to tackle this new challenge.

Furthermore, coming from Engineering, an MBA provides a different set of knowledge to what I have been used to. In that sense, the introduction and the first module filled me with anticipation and curiosity of the modules to come. I must admit that so far the course has lived up to my expectations. Hopefully this time next year I will be able to say my favourite memory of Durham University Business School is the graduation ceremony!




Helena Brennan Current course: PhD in Economics: ‘The Impact of the EU on the North East of England in Terms of Productivity’ Year: Second

Jon Harding Current course: DBA Year: Second Current job title: M&G Prudential Culture Change Lead

I recently had the opportunity to go and present my work at the Annual Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) PhD Forum at the University of Sussex in May.

Given the nature of my course, my trips to the Business School are usually short but fairly intense. I am mostly studying independently. It’s always lovely to catch up with my class mates, and one of the things I most enjoy is spending time with such a diverse group of fellow students. The thing I really value about the programme is how it has changed my perspective on my work and brought a new level of insight to what I do. Equally, my experience of leading large culture change efforts in the financial services sector means that I am able to bring a practical perspective to the assignments. This means that my studies feel very much a part of my daily work and equally my work helps to inform my studies.

This would be the first time that I have presented my work to anyone outside of Durham University Business School. As this forum was for PhD students from a number of different disciplines, it was really interesting to hear feedback on my work from different perspectives. I have also had opportunities to go to workshops here in the UK and in Dublin. The most recent one I attended was in Leeds, organised by the IPPR North think-tank, discussing the impact of the Brexit on the North of England.

One of the highlights about studying at Durham are the colleges. They provide an opportunity to meet and socialise with students who are not in my department. The lateral support and socialising through the formals and balls with people from my college is really beneficial.

Durham is a very special place to me as I studied as an undergraduate here back in the 1980s. I always think that in some ways it has completely changed (the University is a lot bigger, and when I was here it was very much a mining town), but in other ways it is completely unchanged and it still feels like a small medieval town. What is most special though is that my daughter is now studying for her degree at Durham. My favourite thing is to see her for dinner when I come up and we can compare notes on our lectures and assignments!

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Student Experience

Thinking About an MBA? FAQs Answered

Dr Julie Hodges, Associate Dean for MBA Programmes at Durham University Business School, has provided a lot of guidance in the media about MBA programmes recently. We have pulled together some of the most frequently asked questions to help anyone currently considering an MBA programme. How would you suggest choosing between the different modes of study? Who is the right fit for each? The traditional study format of an MBA – an on-campus programme such as The Durham Full-time MBA is a great way for an individual to step away from their day-today professional careers and immerse themselves totally in a business learning environment. Such programmes enable students to learn at a quicker pace than a part-time programme, explore new industries and test their newfound skills in a relatively risk-free environment before returning to the workplace. People who are at an early stage in their careers (three to five years’ experience) and looking to either change direction, or move up a level in their current industry, may find a greater benefit from studying full-time, than through more flexible options.

Dr Julie Hodges


The Durham Online MBA, on the other hand, is a programme typically chosen by managers from a wider variety of sectors and global locations, who want to improve their business knowledge and capabilities to enhance their career prospects but either cannot, or do not wish to study on a physical campus. The flexibility of the format enables students to study at home or anywhere in the world and better fit their studies around their personal and professional lives. As students they can continue in full-time employment whilst they study. Their learning can also be applied directly to their daily work providing an instant return on investment. Whilst online programmes might appear to be isolating experiences on the surface, an additional learning opportunity is provided by working with a more diverse cohort, whom students can learn from as much as from lectures and the possibility of engaging in in-person learning opportunities such as international study trips. Part-time options are also available, but whilst these are often considered to be a convenient study option, such programmes take much more dedication than a traditional MBA format. Though part-time MBAs enable students to apply their learning directly to their work in real time, these programmes do not necessarily provide an easier path for students, as they require a solid time commitment and the discipline to fit their studies in with the rest of their life. The format works exceptionally well for Executive Education programmes, where applicants may not be able to take lengthy breaks from senior roles in order to study. An MBA that can be studied part-time, such as the Durham-EBS Executive MBA, provides greater flexibility to fit studies around careers. Such programmes can be a good fit for someone who feels ready to either move up to the next level or take on another role, but needs an EMBA to provide them with the capabilities to do so and, for their own reasons, prefer not to take a career break. Will an MBA allow faster career advancement? Whilst the MBA sends a big signal that someone is ready to take the next step in their career, and provides a firm foundation for continued career growth, an individual’s career advancement will depend on far more than the qualification alone. Their willingness to be geographically mobile, their level of experience and skills prior to the MBA, their career aspirations and attitudes will all be important factors to consider. If you are looking to utilise your MBA to gain a promotion within your current workplace, then prior to applying to any programme speak to your line manager,

HR department, senior colleagues and other people within the type of role you would like to be promoted to, so you can find out what skills, learning and practice are essential for you to have. From this research, you can then see which programme is right for you and liaise with your company and line manager about any support they can offer you going forward. If you are considering a programme which you could complete alongside your current role, explain to the company how you would be able to apply what you have learned from your MBA straight into practice, so they will benefit from your learning and experiences immediately. There may even be opportunities for professional or financial support whilst you study. Is this career advancement reflected in graduate’s salaries? In many cases, yes. The Durham University Business School MBA is currently ranked by the Financial Times, in their Global MBA Ranking 2018, as 1st in the UK and 23rd globally, for salary increase. Can you still have a life and do an MBA? There is no getting away from the fact that studying an MBA is a large commitment, but if you know it is the right choice for you, then there are things you can do to ensure your personal life can continue whilst you study. Time and project management are key skills to use throughout your programme. If your schedule is already very full, you will need to work out when you are going to complete the reading and assignments and take care to manage your time effectively. The Online MBA programme offers the opportunity to study flexibly alongside your employment, giving you the opportunity to apply your learning as you go through. Students embarking on the Durham Full-time MBA have the advantage of being able to give the programme their full focus and complete it in a shorter space of time. If you decide to study full-time, then be prepared to immerse yourself fully in being a student 24/7 but maintain time/ project management techniques to get you through. This balance means you can attend social and sports activities which means that, as well as taking a break from studies, you are spending time with the people you want to. Exercising will also motivate and energise you into reaching your targets and your career aspirations.

LINK To find out more about Durham MBAs visit:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Student Experience

MBA Pathways: an Overview As part of the Full-time and Online MBA programmes, Durham University Business School offers the options of pathways in Consultancy, Entrepreneurship and Technology. Students select one of the pathways to follow during their MBA, and each pathway includes two academic modules, skills workshops and strategic insights provided by industry experts. Dr Julie Hodges, Associate Dean (MBA) said “The pathways offer an excellent opportunity for students to specialise in a specific area and develop skills which they can apply in organisations.”

ENTREPRENEURSHIP PATHWAY The Entrepreneurship Pathway at Durham University Business School is a fantastic opportunity to get the world of business in front of the students, and equally to get our students out into the world of business. Guest speakers include nationally and internationally renowned self-made entrepreneurs, as well as those who are just starting up their own new ventures. Class contributions come from a huge variety of sectors: Drones to recruitment, University biotech spin outs to digital banking, plumbing to product inventors, 6th generation family business owners and corporate entrepreneurs all add real life stories to the theory taught in class. We also bring in business angels and venture capitalists, and many others from the legal, networking, and other support services which young, entrepreneurial companies need to access to succeed. The Entrepreneurship Pathway Leader, Dr Joanna Berry, is Regional Chair for the international Institute of Directors. This gives her access to senior boardroom executives from all over the world. In 2018, it also meant that she could take the MBA Entrepreneurship class to her 2018 International Business Leaders black-tie dinner in Newcastle, where the students had the opportunity to put their essential networking skills into real life practice.

Above: Nigel Mills CBE on a visit to deliver guest speech, and Dr Joanna Berry.

Dr Joanna Berry

Dr Berry said: “The MBA masterclasses give us the chance to highlight critical issues facing modern-day entrepreneurs: Cybercurrencies and Blockchain, presentation and networking skills, policy and patenting are all vital areas for an aspiring business owner to comprehend. We also like to bring into the classroom ‘live’ cases so that the students can interrogate them in real time. This is a process enjoyed as much by the guests as the students!” Nigel Mills CBE, Chairman of The Lakes Distillery and The Entrepreneurs’ Forum, who visited the School to share his business journey, said: “Never give up on your dream, and never accept no for an answer, but recognise that the route to success is not linear and that business models evolve and develop over time. Good is often good enough to continue to build a business. Find a mentor or a series of mentors, and let them help you succeed.”

TECHNOLOGY PATHWAY • How Specialised Skills Training Can Help Students Beyond Graduation 45

TECHNOLOGY PATHWAY How Specialised Skills Training Can Help Students Beyond Graduation Dr Riccardo Mogre

Professional Scrum Master course helps students prepare for their future careers. The Technology Pathway prepares students to tackle the contemporary business challenges arising from technological advances. Students learn how to manage technological innovations, analyse and apply data to improve management decision making, develop new technological products, and deliver them using an agile approach. Agile product delivery using the Scrum framework is the main focus of the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) course, which was most recently offered to the Technology Pathway MBA students in March 2018 by and Professional Scrum Trainer, Simon Reindl. Agile project management is an approach aimed at guiding teams in the incremental delivery of requirements throughout the project life cycle. Scrum is an agile framework for product delivery that is practiced by 90% of agile teams and this adoption continues to grow.

Dr Riccardo Mogre, Leader of the Technology Pathway and Assistant Professor in Operations Management, said: “The adoption of agile frameworks, and of Scrum in particular, is on the rise and not only limited to the software industry, where it originated. The PSM course will help our Technology Pathway students in their future career by exposing them to agile project management styles that they are likely to use after graduation.”

The PSM course covers the principles and empirical process theory underpinning the Scrum framework, and the role of the Scrum Master in it. This course is a combination of instruction and team-based exercises, and teaches what is at the heart of the Scrum and agile movement. Students who successfully complete an assessment earn the PSM I certification.

Irshad Paurobally, a student of the Technology Pathway, said: “Durham is one of the few schools that offer a Technology Pathway. Aside from modules such as Technology Innovation and Business Analytics, we are also provided with the opportunity to undergo training on Scrum. We learnt how with Scrum, processes can be broken down into smaller parts with minimal feature sets and with repeated releases called Sprints. It was striking to me how the Scrum Master displays servant leadership with responsibilities for supporting both the team and the process. Additionally, team members are required to display versatility in their roles. The overarching theme is that of the centrality of the product delivery in a timely manner. The PSM class is a great learning experience for students and one which is relevant to the organisation of tomorrow.”

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Student Experience

CONSULTANCY PATHWAY The Consultancy Pathway enables Full-time MBA students to build on their consultancy capabilities by critically examining the complexities of managing projects in a business context, including planning, monitoring and closure of such projects. Students explore the intricacies of leadership, culture, change and motivation of project teams and have the opportunity to work within a company, putting their knowledge and theory into practice. As part of the Consultancy Pathway, Full-time MBA students can also propose a business problem to a selected charity, providing them with the opportunity to apply their advanced critical, evaluative and communication skills to real business situations, delivering tangible added value to their charitable cause within the local area. Dr Christopher Williams, Consultancy Pathway Leader said: “The Consultancy Pathway on the Full-time MBA programme consists of a series of inter-linked experiences for

Dr Christopher Williams

the students: guest seminars and masterclasses, taught modules in Management Consultancy and Project Management based around the case method, skills workshops, and an opportunity for the students to work with local charities on strategic issues facing them.” “The charity projects are purely voluntary and give those students taking part an extra opportunity to practice and hone their hard and soft skills in a client – consultant engagement. They get to visit and listen to the specific needs of the client, determine the scope of work to be conducted, research and formulate advice for the client and then deliver their advice in the form of a presentation to the charity. This does not only develop the skillsets of our students, it also impacts local charities in terms of their strategic thinking and approaches to the challenges they face.” One of the charities MBA students presented to was The Auckland Youth and Community Centre (AYCC). John Wiseman, Business Development Manager at AYCC said: “On behalf of everyone who attended from AYCC, I’d just like to repeat how informative we found the presentation and also the wider discussion which it generated.” Students were expected to dedicate around 22 hours over an 11 week period from March to May 2018. The proposed projects cover topics such as strategy, marketing or finance, however other areas of the organisation can also be explored. Dr Julie Hodges, Associate Dean for MBA Programmes said: “This is an excellent initiative, which enables our MBA students to share their learning and expertise with charities. It provides the opportunity for the students to work in collaboration with the charities to review their business model and identify recommendations for enhancing the services the charities provide.” Anna Liu, Full-time MBA said: “The charity project gave me an excellent opportunity to apply my skills learnt in my MBA Management Consulting Pathway in the real business world. The whole experience built confidence for me to engage in the consulting industry while completing my MBA.” Charlotte Howell, Skills and Development Coordinator at the Business School said:

“I love being part of this activity. I think the opportunity for the students to work with real live issues that affect our area – giving back to the community – is a really positive experience for everyone involved.” Image: Anna delivering her project to Daisy Chain in Stockton.


/ Student Experience

FROM MBA STUDENT TO MBA BUSINESS PROJECT HOST Eric Findlay graduated from the Durham MBA programme in 2010, and has recently launched a new business with his brother Ben Findlay, Since launching the company a year ago, they have hosted two business projects with MBA students from the 2016/2017 cohort and are hoping to host a further student from the 2017/2018 cohort. Having studied an MBA himself, and having to guide his company though a constantly evolving market, Eric fully appreciates the insight a Durham MBA project can bring to a company.

Eric said: “Studying at Durham was a wonderful and unique experience. Spending a year working with MBAs from many disciplines and nationalities provided a unique insight into international business. Following graduation, I used the skills I developed on the programme to investigate a market opportunity my brother and I felt existed in the digital B2B market. This led to the launching of”

With Eric spending much of his time dealing with immediate issues surrounding the growth of his company, he had little time to investigate future opportunities in any depth. To develop the company’s original business plan, Eric identified two strategic areas, based around geographical expansion, which required further investigation. The brothers wanted to investigate ways of expanding their reach, and while they had a feeling there were suitable market opportunities in India and China, they required more information to ensure they were minimising risk and that it was the right move for the business.

Eric said: “We were lucky to have two MBAs investigate the market opportunities both in China and India, the results of which were incredible.

They provided a greater understanding of the market dynamics and also detailed recommendations about how we can take advantage of market opportunities. It was clear from the reports that we needed a great deal more resource to act on the recommendations. However, this knowledge has allowed us to amend our business plan and growth strategy to act on the market opportunity in the correct manner and at the right time. The insight we gained from hosting a business project has been immensely valuable, and we look forward to working with another student this year to explore further market opportunities. I would highly recommend hosting a business project to other companies to help them achieve their strategic objectives.”

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Student Experience

The MBA Boardroom Exercise 2018 One of the final modules of the Full-time MBA is the Boardroom Exercise, a five-week long project which aims to give students an insight to what it’s really like to be an executive director in a boardroom.

Our challenge? To work together to plan, create the necessary materials for, and run a successful 90 minute board meeting for the senior staff of Whitbread Plc. The first step was compiling our boards. We students were put into teams of five or six, and assigned the different roles that make up a typical board. I took on the role of CFO. As for my classmates, Irene Liu became our Marketing Director, Na Li assumed the role of Business Development Director, Annanth Syam Mohan was our COO and Ying Yang was appointed as CEO. To oversee our activities, each group was also assigned a Chair and two or three NonExecutive Directors who were all business professionals with some link to the Business School. The introductory three days at the beginning of the exercise gave us a clue as to the hard work that awaited us as we were introduced to the responsibilities of the Board, and what should be included in a set of board papers, as well as having gained a brief insight into the company. Our task was to devise a strategy for the future of the company Whitbread as well as provide a report on the company’s current performance, so it was particularly interesting to have a presentation by the former Financial Director of Whitbread, who gave us his own opinions on the futures of two Whitbread-owned companies: Costa and Premier Inn. The following five weeks were extremely intense as we endeavoured to learn as much about the company as possible and prepare our materials. Key to this was working together as a team, setting objectives (and sticking to them) and taking responsibility for our own progress. During this time the support from the NEDs and Chair was invaluable. We met with our advisers at least once a

Natalie Podda, Full-time MBA

week to discuss our ideas and ask for their feedback. The vast levels of knowledge and experience these successful business people possess provided us with a learning opportunity we would not have found in a text book or academic journal. Similarly, the support we received from the School’s academic staff (all of whom have extensive business experience) was also fantastic. The various preparation sessions, such as the ‘pre-board’ meeting, allowed us to reflect on our progress as well as how we were working as a team. Guidance from Alan Ross, an executive coach, helped us to evaluate our individual performances and identify opportunities to improve and overcome any issues. He also introduced us to the concept of ‘mindfulness’, and stressed the importance of setting aside time for personal reflection and relaxation in our professional lives – which is something I’m sure all of us needed by the end of the project! The culmination was a 90-minute boardroom meeting, where each member of the group had the chance to present their report or proposal to the Chair and NEDs. True to any real-life board meeting, our ideas and key points were challenged and queried throughout the meeting, forcing us to think on our feet. Our group had to tackle some rather difficult ‘curveball’ questions on more than one occasion. This experience quite possibly would have reduced some of us to tears if it had occurred five weeks earlier, but the learning and skills gained from the module enabled us to answer with confidence and professionalism. Our thorough preparation enabled us to work effectively as a team, contributing to the discussion if someone found it difficult to answer a question and recognising the individual strengths and personalities of each team member.

The MBA Boardroom Exercise has been one of the most challenging, interesting and rewarding parts of the programme, and I’m sure we will all remember it for many years to come.


A networking lunch between students and external executives was held at the Business School as part of the Boardroom Exercise. This was preceded by a masterclass led by Chris Rogers, one of our visiting fellows and former Financial Director for Whitbread PLC and Managing Director of Costa Coffee. A class on the latest developments in Board Governance was delivered by Anthony Carey, Head of Board Practice at Mazars LLP. Following lunch, each group met with their allocated Chair and Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) to begin the preparations towards the Board Meetings. These photographs were taken throughout the day.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Student Experience

Postgraduate Students Go Global


During the Easter vacation, over 240 Durham University Business School MBA and Masters students travelled overseas as part of their International Study Experiences. Students from several programmes take part in these experience-enriching opportunities across the globe every year.



Itineraries are filled with an array of beneficial activities including company visits, cultural tours, university lectures and opportunities to expand their network including meeting Business School alumni. Fifty-four Full-time MBA students travelled to Germany (Mannheim), Spain (Madrid) and China (Beijing) for their assessed International Business in Context module. Durham-EBS EMBA and Online MBA students travelled to San Francisco, where the 38 students on the trip experienced Silicon Valley. Masters students across the MSc Management, MSc Finance, MSc Economics and MSc Marketing programmes travelled to various European cities. The students explored the working life and culture of Switzerland (Geneva and Zurich), Germany (Frankfurt and Mannheim) and London.


an n Fr - Sa l e t n


The Full-time MBA cohort visited companies such as Caterpillar Energy in Germany, TESLA in Madrid and Bloomberg in Beijing. As the visit is part of the students’ International Business in Context module, they then prepared an assignment once they returned to Durham. The Online MBA/Durham-EBS students visited the University of San Francisco (USF) and took part in the USF Silicon Valley Immersion Programme. The visit to San Francisco also formed part of the International Business in Context module which is assessed. Guest speakers included Intel, North Face and lectures from USF professors. For the Masters International Study Experiences, the Geneva visit is an assessed module where an assignment is submitted following the visit. Companies that the students visited included the World Trade Organisation, Nestlé and Medicines for Malaria Venture. Teaching and workshops were also held prior to the visit by the module leader.


a visit students on l in Staff and oo ch S s es Busin to ESADE Madrid

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

at a lecture Students in s School in es in ESADE Bus Spain Madrid_

The remaining Masters tours are non-assessed i.e. Mannheim, Frankfurt and Zurich; hence students need to research the companies before they travel and prepare three questions, in groups, to ask whilst visiting the companies. Companies visited were European Central Bank (MiM Mannheim), Credit Suisse Group (MiFE Zurich) and Frankfurt Stock Exchange (MiFE Frankfurt). Students on the MSc Marketing programme visited London, where they visited companies such as KHWS and LEGO.

Feedback received from students confirms that the experiences are worthwhile and valuable:

“The USF Silicon Valley Immersion Program was a truly life changing experience. It was an intense week of learning from industry experts, practitioners and venture capitalists, focused on innovation and start-ups. Highlights included a guest lecture from Hap Klopp (founder of North Face), developing and pitching a business plan to a panel of investors and connecting with so many interesting people.” Peter A. McAuley, San Francisco IBC module

Students on the Geneva visit experience the Nestlé offices

“The study abroad element of the MBA was probably my favourite part of the programme. We studied in Germany’s best business school and were taught by industry and academic leaders in their respective fields. The main benefits range from both getting an opportunity to see the theory, which we had been taught throughout the year, in practice at a range of market leading businesses; whilst creating what will hopefully be lifelong friendships with other business school students abroad. We also made connections with a number of companies and some of us are now looking for jobs in the countries that we visited. It was also great to travel around and to get to know a different culture.” Dan Odutola, Full-time MBA


/ Student Experience

University The Durham e ol bear at th Business Scho ijing Be in en av Temple of He

“There is no region with a higher focus on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking as in the Silicon Valley. The International Business in Context module gave us the possibility to experience this unique mindset and transfer the hands-on learning experience in our daily business.” Lars Schlemmer, Durham-EBS EMBA

“The Frankfurt Study Tour was exciting and unforgettable. It gave me a great opportunity to visit some famous organisations such as the European Central Bank and Deutsche Bundesbank. By listening to speeches and asking questions, my understanding about some modules was deeply enhanced. However, the trip is not just for study; it also provided me with a chance to learn about Frankfurt, and I will never forget the breath-taking view I saw from the top of the Main Tower.” Zijian He, MSc Finance (Finance and Investment)


on the B eijing vi meet wit sit h alumni

“The London Study Tour was a very educational and fun experience. The company visits were very varied and interesting and really opened our eyes to a variety of roles in marketing practice. The experience to meet and network with people who are in the roles we aspire to be in was inspiring and really beneficial for our future career development. Finally, it was a really nice chance to better get to know our class and enjoy the beautiful sights of London together.” Chloë Apostolatos, MSc Marketing

THANK YOU Thank you to Michele d’Ambrosio as well as our student reporters, including Caspar Rundegren who provided photographs of students on the Geneva trip.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

THE NEW GLOBAL DBA: DURHAM-EMLYON • Become a Thought Leader and Challenge Business Practice • 54

/ Student Experience

THE NEW GLOBAL DBA: DURHAM-EMLYON Become a Thought Leader and Challenge Business Practice Durham University Business School and leading French business school emlyon have joined forces to create a joint Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) programme, beginning October 2018.

The Global DBA: Durham-emlyon has been specifically designed to answer the call from industry for business leaders who can challenge current business practice and devise new methods for progression in times of technological and geopolitical change, and increasing uncertainty. By combining an academically rigorous education with business practice, the programme will enable participants to update their business knowledge and enhance their analytical and critical thinking capabilities through modules delivered in Durham, Paris and Shanghai. However, unlike other senior-level management programmes on the market, the DBA will also require students to produce a doctoral thesis – an original piece of research focused on solving a core issue within their own industry or organisation – helping to bridge the gap between business practice and academia and create real business value. Professor Kiran Fernandes, Associate Dean for Internationalisation at Durham University Business School commented:

“This is an exciting international partnership for Durham University Business School which helps to further our mission to develop global leaders and entrepreneurs who can confidently push the boundaries of business practice, present new ideas and become transformational business leaders. By collaborating with emlyon our Global DBA can offer an education which answers the most pressing needs of modern industry.”

The programme will be delivered on a part-time basis, spanning four to six years, enabling participants to continue in their careers during their studies. Modules will be delivered by faculty from both Durham University Business School and emlyon business school. Upon graduation, students will receive a Doctorate from each school. Dimitris Assimakopoulos, Founding Director of the emlyon Global DBA and President of EDAMBA - the European Doctoral Programme Association in Management and Business Administration, added: “What this double degree DBA offers, in contrast to most other executive-level education, is an opportunity for senior executives to carry out original research in a particular area of their business in great depth. It allows them to do this whilst staying in their job, and will also give them the chance to examine and solve a particular business challenge that their company faces. In a world that is becoming ever more fractured, this collaboration with Durham University Business School demonstrates our belief in the importance of international collaboration through high quality teaching and impactful research.”

LINK Find out more about the Global DBA programme, visit:


/ Student Experience

RECENT VISITORS TO THE SCHOOL The School is well connected with excellent links to business, governing bodies and international institutions. These links benefit both staff and students in many ways such as guest lectures and research insight. The following are just a small sample of recent activity. Durham-EBS Executive MBA students visit Durham in January Students on the Durham-EBS Executive MBA programme attended Durham University Business School in January 2018. The students came to the School to undertake the Improving Management Decision Making module. They had a busy schedule of lectures, group work and consultations as well as an array of activities planned to ensure that their visit to Durham was a varied experience. María Peralta, one of the students who visited Durham, and also Manager Membership Compliance at Star Alliance GmbH, said: “One of the outstanding characteristics of the Durham-EBS EMBA is the opportunity to study in both the German and UK system and to live both experiences. Now that we are here for our second residential week in Durham, it is a pleasure to meet Durham students and staff once again, explore the historic buildings and enjoy the modern classroom facilities, while completing our final core module. It is definitely a unique combination.”

Dr Mohieldin said: “Islamic finance can help deliver muchneeded solutions. Its ability to enhance financial stability, promote financial inclusion and drive sustainable development could spark transformative change across the region. To realise this potential, Islamic finance, no less than its conventional counterpart, needs an appropriate enabling environment, one characterised by a level playing field, an adequate regulatory framework and effective partnerships.” Marco Migueis of the Federal Reserve System Marco Migueis, Principal Economist on the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, visited the Centre for Banking, Institutions and Development (CBID) February 2018 to meet with staff and students, and held a seminar on operational risk capital. Marco is a principal economist at the Division of Supervision and Regulation of the Federal Reserve Board. He has represented the Board at Basel Committee’s working groups on operational risk and liquidity, and led analytical work on the development of the new standardized approach for operational risk capital. During his visit, Marco presented a paper titled ‘Forward-looking and incentive-compatible operational risk capital framework’ in a seminar delivered to Durham academics and students. Designing an operational risk capital framework has proved challenging for the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and banking regulators around the world. Marco’s talk highlighted the drawbacks in the current operational risk capital models and put forward a proposal for an incentive-compatible mechanism that elicits forward-looking projections of loss exposure. MBA students explore sustainability challenges with GoodBrand and Nestle Nespresso Dean Sanders and Mike Thompson of GoodBrand, and Julie Reneau of Nestlé Nespresso, visited the School to run a sustainability and innovation workshop with the School’s Fulltime MBA students.

Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President at the World Bank Group Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President at the World Bank Group and a member of the School’s Advisory Board, visited the School to discuss the ‘Sustainable Development Goals and the Role of Islamic Finance’. Dr Mohieldin is the Senior Vice President at the World Bank Group and is responsible for the ‘2030 Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, and UN Relations and Partnerships’ portfolio. Because of his previous capacities, Dr Mohieldin also has extensive experience in the area of Islamic finance.

Dean (Founder and Chairman, GoodBrand), Mike (CEO, GoodBrand) and Julie (Sustainability Strategy and Stakeholder Relationship Manager, Nestlé Nespresso) worked with Professor of Business Ethics Geoff Moore to deliver a segment of the Full-time MBA module Sustainability, Ethics and Change. GoodBrand is an impact-led innovation consultancy that works with brands to effectively manage long-term business challenges related to sustainability. The workshop with students involved exploring GoodBrand’s Nespresso case study, in which they helped the business to assess continuity risks in their supply chain and to create a commercially sound model for the future. Image: Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin on his visit to the School.

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

THE RESULTS • 11th Dragon’s Den Final 2018 • 56

/ Student Experience


11th Dragon’s Den Final 2018 The annual Durham University Business School Dragon’s Den final 2018 took place in May. Dr Karen Langdon and Professor Ian Stone commenced the event followed by each of the judges introducing themselves. The judges in the final were Professor Susan Hart, Kevin Houston, Steve Jackson and Gillian McLeod. Gillian McLeod, Business Development Consultant said:

“I was in the unique position of being a previous participant and winner of the Durham University Dragon’s Den 2014. The standard of this year’s finalists was exceptional, and I felt privileged at being able to offer advice on their entrepreneurial journey! Everyone who participates in this competition is a winner. The support, development and mentoring they receive assists them in becoming successful in the long term. Personally, it helped me advance through my own entrepreneurial journey, of which, many of my mentors have now become long term friends.” There were six presentations on the day with five individuals and one team. Each finalist delivered a six minute presentation followed by a window of opportunity for the judges and the audience to ask questions. The judges then discussed the business ideas privately and announced their decision on the day. Professor Susan Hart said: “As one of the judges in the final, I am pleased to say that the quality from finalists was not only excellent, but reflective of the increasing importance of data and digitisation, with a focus on social as well as economic well-being. Competition was very hard fought, with a high standard of ideas, execution and presentation.”

The winners of Dragon’s Den 2018 are:

S M A R T P R É PA , ELIOTT MOGENET £600 awarded

Eliott is a third-year undergraduate student studying political sciences at Aix en Provence and Corporate Finance at Durham University Business School. His business launched two months ago and is focused on preparing school students for state exams.


George is a final-year undergraduate anthropologist who has been running trials for his music teaching business, Band Blend during the holidays of the last two academic years. He has been teaching music for ten years and hopes to revolutionise the accessibility of music for children ages 11-17. George said: “Durham Dragon’s Den not only taught me how to streamline a pitch to engage an audience with my business idea but it also helped me to see the scope of my business’s potential. Above all else, this endowed me with confidence for the business’s future on my own.”

LUKMAN HAKIM I A N S T O N E AWA R D F O R I N N O V AT I O N 2 0 1 8 Lukman is a postgraduate student on the MSc Islamic Finance programme with 13 years of experience in corporate banking in Indonesia. Lukman’s business idea is about changing waste into money by turning coconut and candlenut shell into briquette as alternative renewable energy. Lukman said: “I am very grateful for the result. The most important things for me are putting in the best effort and to keep improving. The award will be helpful to convince our potential investor and customers, but more importantly it gives us the confidence to move forward and put the idea into reality.”


FROM LAB BENCH TO THE BUSINESS WORLD 88,000 Kilometres Across Three Continents, Starting From Islamabad, Pakistan This is the story of my Executive MBA from Durham University Business School and European Business School Germany. Coming from an academic background in biotechnology, I was a little shy to get into the MBA despite growing up in an entrepreneurial family. The EMBA team in particular helped me with the change after spending a decade of a biotech lab rat-life. My journey of personal development kicked-off with a residential at Durham University Business School, and from there I kept moving in between my lab and the EMBA modules. The courses were tailored well with a work-life balance, and I would typically spend about 30 hours of reading before approaching the summative assignment write-up. I chose Theranos Inc., a Silicon Valley unicorn aiming to disrupt the In Vitro diagnostic industry, for my first summative assignment. The strategic analysis revealed the possible downfall of the company when I conducted it in early 2016. Months passed by, and my analysis aligned well with expert analysts’ predictions about the company. By the end of 2016, Theranos fell from grace due to its strategic mistakes. That was the point when I realised the importance of business management knowledge for scientists. My prior knowledge of biotechnology and my ongoing business management education blended well to help me develop a critical mindset to look into the businesses strategically.

Dr Nasar um Minullah

Very often, an academic making inventions in the lab develops misconceptions about the business world and many important discoveries remain commercially unexploited. The EMBA training empowered me to transcend this boundary, and I helped my university to establish a Science and Technology Park. Moving on, I realised that the lab experiments I used to design on a daily basis involved a mix of routine procedures while creating new knowledge, bit by bit. This approach related well with the innovation paradigm that relies on assimilation of knowledge across different fields to develop a new product, a service or a process.

The contemporary technological age is largely dependent on an entrepreneur’s ability to transform their creative spark into innovation after making the invention. Now, when I have graduated, I am going to teach Innovation Management while integrating lessons from neuroscience to help students understand the process by which an invention is transformed into innovation.

LINK Find out more about The Durham-EBS Executive MBA:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Student Experience

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THEORY AND THE REAL WORLD OF TRADING Chris Jenkins, Managing Director of Market Squared (an educational subsidiary of OSTC), visited the BSc Finance and BA Accounting and Finance programmes at the beginning of the year. Chris spoke to the students about Volcube, Market Squared’s options simulation and training technology, which students on two different modules have been using. Chris became the Head of Operations for OSTC Iberia in 2013, having had a previous role focused on teaching, training and mentoring traders into profitability who were under his remit.

Chris said: “The ultimate aim of the platform Volcube is to bridge the gap between what students learn in the classroom and how this theory is applied in the real world of trading. We are not trying to replace education but rather complement the in-depth knowledge that the students gain in their studies at Durham and allow them to gain experience in applying that knowledge.” Charles Lord, second year student of Accounting and Finance at Durham University Business School, said: “I thoroughly enjoy the interactive trading sessions. Our finance course at Durham University Business School is always engaging and the sessions truly bridge the gap between classroom theory and real life. The sessions solidify and expand upon my prior knowledge of derivative trading, specifically options and futures, in a way that is simplified to ensure that a lot of information is delivered in a relatively short time frame.”

During the term, the students were also invited to take part in a trading competition. This involved the students being given two weeks to take part in five simulations. Top performers were then automatically given first round interviews at one of Market Squared’s trading floors. Chris said: “Three students did exceptionally well using Volcube. I must say I was impressed when I interviewed them as they came across very well. They had clearly enjoyed their time using the platform, bringing to life the theory from their classes. All of the interviews had positive outcomes and we look forward to seeing how this progresses once they graduate.”

Dr Ian Whitfield, Deputy Head of Faculty and Associate Professor in the Business School, said: “Volcube is an exciting and innovative trading platform which provides students with realistic exposure to trading and hedging of options. Our students performed exceptionally well in the trading simulation in the last academic year.”

LINK To find out more about Volcube, visit the Market Squared website here:


/ Alumni


Durham University Business School currently has 31 International Chapters in cities across the world enabling alumni to maintain their links to Durham after graduation. During the last two years, new Chapters have been established in China to reflect the growing alumni community there. The established alumni Chapters in Beijing and Shanghai have been joined by new Chapters in Chengdu, Shenzhen and Shanghai. Amy Chu (MBA 2014-2015) is Vice President for Sanhe Group, an investment company focusing on the automobile and luxury fashion sectors, as well as Chapter leader in Chengdu, which was created July 2017 to support alumni in south west China. The group recently enjoyed a trip to the Sanhe Classic Car Museum.

Amy reflects: “The international Alumni Chapter empowers us more than a social network; it creates a deeper connection. We had a truly impressive afternoon together sharing our memories of Durham as well as our current career development.” The priority is to continue to build the network across the world. Michael Shearer OBE (MBA 1995-1996) is Managing Director Asia Pacific for McLaren Applied Technologies and has recently become the newest Chapter leader for Singapore.

Michael says: “Delivering a step-change in Durham’s international reputation is one of the stated goals in Durham’s 2017-2027 strategy. This is not simply about better brand awareness and visibility globally. If Durham really aspires to remain one of the world’s great universities and one of the most distinctive, then it is vital that we can communicate with and influence existing and potential students, staff, investors and alumni in key global cities like Singapore. Durham’s International Chapters have the potential to play a significant role in helping to build the platform for Durham’s future. I am hugely enjoying re-connecting and re-engaging with the Business School, over 22 years since graduating!” As well as the Chapters overseas, Durham University Business School is re-establishing its Chapter in Durham to enable alumni in the North East of England to reconnect and network with each other. There will be an event at the Business School on the evening of Monday 16 July 2018. Anyone wishing to attend can sign up at the link below. If you are based outside the UK and interested in setting up a Chapter in your city, please contact the Alumni Team at

LINK Sign up for the event on Monday 16 July here:

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018


/ Alumni

Professor Robin Smith Memorial

Above: (L-R) Professor Robin Smith with Professor John Machin at the School for the 50th anniversary celebrations in April 2015

We were very sorry to hear that Professor Robin Smith, who will be particularly well known to graduates from the 1970s and 80s, passed away on 30 April 2018. He joined Durham University Business School in the early 1970s when the demand for the School’s courses was expanding rapidly. His teaching was quickly and highly appreciated by both students and managers. Professor Smith took the lead role in the introduction and development of two major innovations by the School: the four year joint honours degree in Mandarin and management and the first ‘distance learning’ MBA to be offered by any university in the UK. Professor Smith was the course director for the Full-time MBA programme for students of a broad and diverse range of nationalities such as Greek, Chinese, Pakistani, Argentinian, Australian, Indonesian, Zambian, American, Canadian and British.

Jonathan Lee, from the Full-time MBA cohort of 1987/88 said: “Robin was a welcoming and approachable course director, as well as an entertaining and informative lecturer in corporate strategy. He will be remembered equally fondly for his blue corduroy suits and legendary dance moves!” Reflecting the diversity of the students, Professor Smith is also remembered for his internationalist outlook and research interests as well as his role as an important figure in the wider University ‘industrial relations group’. He personally researched the development of South African trade unionism. Lynn Young, Undergraduate Programme Administrator, speaks fondly of Professor Smith’s very dry sense of humour. Another colleague, John Ritchie, recalls: “In many ways he was an unusual ‘all-rounder’ and I’m not referring to the annual staff vs. students cricket match. He taught across most, if not all, of our programmes. He was a sage figure in the development of the Business School.” Professor Smith was also known for his commitment to cricket, especially the elegance of his batting. After two decades of success at the Business School, Professor Smith was appointed to a Chair at Northumbria University.


‘Nourishing’ Positive, Social and Environmental Impacts Sam Stroot and Isabel Velasco, both Full-time MBA alumni, chose to study at Durham University Business School because they were looking for a programme that would provide a diversification of nationalities to enable them to expand their international business acumen. Sam and Isabel both agree that the programme curriculum positioned them to be more adept across all business functions, especially post-study and into their careers. Sam said: “Since the programme had such a diverse cohort model, it allowed us to work with students across cultures to understand their business perceptions in depth. This has worked greatly in our favour, as we now operate a business where we source products and services internationally.” Sam and Isabel now operate a business called Noorish PBC, which is a public benefit corporation that owns and operates two brands called Jungle Orchard and Señor Avocado. Their mission is to develop the brands to generate positive, social and environmental impacts.

Isabel said: “Jungle Orchard is an organic dried fruit brand where we source fruit from small-scale farmers in the country of Colombia, my home country, while following Fairtrade certified practices.” “We support farmers directly with fair pricing and good working conditions to help them improve their livelihoods. The farms are certified USDA organic, growing clean, non-GMO fruit along with regenerative soil practices.” Sam said: “Our other brand, Señor Avocado, is first-to-market freeze-dried avocado bites that allow the consumer to eat a shelf-stable avocado on-the-go anytime of the day, while getting the

nutrients and good fats of a fresh avocado. We use non-conforming avocados and up-cycle them to our bites to help with food waste initiatives, which is very important to us. We believe in clean all natural eating, so our avocado bites are preservative, additive and GMO free.”

Sam and Isobel agree that the programme was both challenging and rewarding, and provided useful information while generating a high quality output that has carried over positively into their careers. Sam said: “We were also able to create great friendships with fellow students that we still keep in contact with today. These are life-long relationships that are deeply valued and would not have been developed without being a part of the Business School.”

Sam concluded:“We feel that the priceless experience at Durham University Business School has expanded our horizons into the international world giving us the tools to make a positive impact on the work we do today.”

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

/ Alumni

How Can More Women be Encouraged into Senior Finance Positions? Emilie Allaert

Whilst women hold just over half of all finance positions globally, the majority of these are junior level roles. Sadly, when it comes to career progression women are drastically under-represented in senior positions – occupying just one in four.

Though there has been slight progress in increasing the gender diversity at senior level, this has been slow. Numerous countries have taken the approach of imposing quotas on organisations to encourage the employment of female professionals at senior level in an attempt to narrow the gender gap. Though on the surface these quotas appear to be effective, they only offer a short-term solution and could have adverse effects. For example, it is likely that some women are only propelled into senior positions because of the need to meet a target, rather than in recognition of their work. Employing more women in senior positions can provide a win-win situation - improving the firm’s reputation, but more importantly acknowledging deserving, successful women by promoting them. But what effective, longterm methods (other than simply complying with government-imposed quotas) can be taken in order to help encourage greater diversity at the top levels of our financial institutions? Encourage women to be vocal about their successes When it comes to talking about personal successes, women typically are modest and see these successes as simply ‘doing their job’. However, their male counterparts are typically the opposite and are loud and


proud about their successes. Women must be encouraged to follow suit and be visibly proud of their accomplishments. By ensuring they are taking credit for the work they have done, this will help raise awareness amongst superiors of their competency - reiterating their value to the company - and also encourage other women to do the same. Teach finance and technology at a younger age Despite the finance industry employing over two million of the UK’s workforce, there is little education available on what opportunities the sector offers, and the skills required to pursue a successful career, before university level. With many of the jobs of the future likely to be in finance and new emerging sectors such as FinTech, it is important to provide better education in both finance and technology at a younger age.

Ensuring that this education is easily accessible to young women will help to increase the numbers of women who want to pursue a career in the finance industry later in life, by giving them the confidence that they have the knowledge and ability to pursue such roles once they enter the working world. Additionally, earlier education can help to eradicate any perceived gender divide by placing all students on an equal footing from the outset.

Promote more women role models When senior finance positions are mostly seen to be held only by men it can be difficult for a woman to see these roles as either achievable or desirable. It is important to bring forward more female role models into the finance industry as, by shining the spotlight on successful women, they can become role models for others. This can be done by facilitating opportunities for female staff to access and meet female leaders, or by promoting female-focused networks both inside and outside of the organisation. For example, the Business School alumni network connects women working in finance together, helping women to see senior roles as achievable and aspire to reach them. Encourage confidence Studies suggest that male-dominated workplaces such as the finance industry can make women less confident in their abilities and capacity to learn new skills in comparison to male colleagues. When senior positions become available this lack of confidence can stop women from applying, despite being suitable and capable of the role. Employers must engage with female staff to help boost their self-belief and ensure that more women are confident in their own qualifications and assured enough to apply for and learn within these senior roles.

There are clear obstacles for women in the finance industry, and now is the time for women to be bold and strong, to create change for the next generation.

Encourage risk taking When it comes to taking risks, both in work-based situations such as investing, and in personal development such as applying for promotions, women typically are a lot more risk-averse than their male counterparts. Though these risks may not always pay off, those who take them are often seen as bold and assertive in the eyes of their superiors – key traits for leadership positions. Employers must do more to encourage an environment where failure is not equated to ineptitude and is instead seen as an opportunity to learn.

EMILIE ALLAERT Emilie Allaert completed her Masters in Management at DUBS in 2010 and has since worked in the finance industry. She is currently Head of Operations and Projects at Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT).

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

THE DURHAM DBA • A Professional Superpower • 64

/ Alumni

THE DURHAM DBA A Professional Superpower I was running an international fishing company when I joined the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) programme at Durham University Business School in 2007. There were two main reasons for such a strange move from the fishing industry. Firstly, having an extensive practical experience and MBA under my belt, I still craved for the most advanced knowledge. Secondly, I fully realised that change is an inevitable necessity for every modern leader. Durham was a pragmatic choice for a perfect combination – quality, ranking, a doctoral programme for practice and an excellent opportunity to learn from top experts. The Durham DBA gives something no one can buy. I learned how to look beyond horizons, concentrate on the core issues and see every detail in a broad picture.

I remember the day when we were told that by the end of the programme we will become experts in our fields, and it turned out to be true. My life and career changed completely since my Congregation ceremony in 2012. I sold my fishing business and focused on a more demandable area I fell in love with – knowledge generation. Today, I am running a management consultancy company, Valuekod Ltd., and continue my research on how to improve organisational performance. I am the author of business books where two of them, Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business and Organisational Anatomy: A Manager’s Guide To a Healthy Organisation, became highly praised by readers from across the world.

Dr Oleg Konovalov

Organisational Anatomy is a new management concept, which views different types of organisations from a biological perspective, offers the development of a holistic picture that will allow businesses to achieve higher performance and recognise problems by considering organisational pathologies and diseases. My latest book, Corporate Superpower, which was published in the United States recently, discusses what culture is, how to identify and correct cultural problems in an organisation, and how to turn culture into long-lasting success. The book has already been named a “Bible of culture management for modern leaders”. Marshall Goldsmith (Thinkers 50, #1 Leadership Thinker, #1 Executive Coach in the World) said of Corporate Superpower – “Great coaching on culture from a great thinker!”

I am grateful to the Business School for every lesson I learned and helping me become the professional I have become.

LINK Find out more here:


An Interview with MBA Alumna ERIKA GOUVEIA Originally from Rio de Janeiro, MBA alumna Erika Gouveia completed her MBA at Durham University Business School in 2017 and is currently the Energy and Green Finance Programme Manager at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, located in Brazil. Erika helps apply the British government’s prosperity fund for energy and green finance in Brazil. What made you decide to pursue a Durham MBA? “The MBA was important to further my career in terms of seniority and to broaden the scope of potential work. And in my case, to help me specifically explore the whole energy sector, not just oil and gas.” Why did you choose Durham as the institution to attend? “I chose Durham University Business School after doing a vast amount of research. I found that the Durham MBA had an excellent reputation, great value and a programme design which suited many of my interests - for example, international business trips, leadership classes and many optional routes. In addition, my choice was also driven by the excellence and reputation of Durham’s Energy Institute.” Tell us about the scholarship you received? “I was awarded two scholarships: the Chevening scholarship, which is awarded by the UK Government to future international leaders, offering them the chance to study in the UK, and a Durham University Business School scholarship. Both of these were offered after my professional experience and personal profile (leadership skills, career desires and teamwork competences) were evaluated.” What was an unexpected part of your experience at Durham? The most unexpected and the best experience was to learn on a course with such diversity. The Durham MBA attracts people from so many different backgrounds, both in terms of industry sector and cultural origins. Despite the fact that I had already worked in an international company

(Shell), with many diverse people across the globe, I was surprised at how much I learned by being in the same class every day, with more than 50 people from different backgrounds, discussing a huge variety of topics - from finance to leadership, strategy to international business.” What skills do you think you have gained from the Durham MBA? “I believe the most important skills taught by the Durham MBA are: patience, the ability to put yourself in others shoes, leadership and strategic and management skills which can be applied in any type of business.” What drove you to a career in green energy after completing the Durham MBA? “The reason I like the energy sector so much is because it brings together both technology and people. I believe the energy sector is in a real transition period at the moment, and I want to be part of this transformation by contributing my skills, to achieve a smooth and sustainable energy era for the future. I want this to be my legacy to the world.” How has the Durham MBA helped your career? “My career has really upgraded after achieving my MBA from Durham University Business School, mainly because of the leadership and strategic skills, and the values that I developed during the course. It has certainly enhanced my CV and has exposed me to a wider and more global market of opportunities. I now have friends all around the world and my network has expanded massively.”

ISSUE FOUR • June 2018

JØRGEN PIVAK • My Journey Towards a Durham MBA • 66

/ Alumni

JØRGEN PIVAK My Journey Towards a Durham MBA After completing a five-year Masters degree in Veterinary Medicine in Ukraine, Jørgen took a leap of faith and relocated to Norway. The move came with a steep cost. Jørgen’s qualifications were not recognised in Norway, meaning he had to rebuild his career from scratch. Without citizenship, his options were limited. Keen to stay within the boundaries of what he knew, Jørgen took a position on a farm, working to care for and breed livestock, and maintain the land until his residency could be granted by the Norwegian government. After four years he was awarded leave to remain, allowing him to peruse a wider scope of occupations. Jørgen was presented with a choice: return to studying animal medicine or pursue an alternative career path. Working in a management role had always held appeal, however his lack of formal experience – not to mention the additional challenge of getting to grips with a new country, new language and unfamiliar business culture made the transition difficult. With no business connections to help bridge the gap he took charge of his own development, engaging in MOOCs to build his knowledge. His first foray into management happened at a meat processing organisation. After two years working on the production line, Jørgen became responsible for the classification of animal carcasses according to the European Union classification system (which uses the data it collects to set the prices paid to suppliers, and to regulate the market). The role required him to communicate with suppliers, oversee the supply chain and carry out regular quality inspections. It was at this point Jørgen felt additional education would be a worthwhile investment. Being relatively untested in a business and management capacity but with a wealth of industry experience, he decided an MBA would be the logical next step to allow him to pursue his goals. It was at this point he took another leap of faith, applying for Durham University Business School’s Online MBA. Why did you decide to study in the UK? “I knew that by applying to a UK school I could be assured of receiving a high quality education. I thoroughly researched my options, looking to London but also to schools such as Warwick before deciding that my best option would be Durham University Business School. The Durham MBA programme is delivered by a historic and well-respected university and has continually improved its standing in the business education rankings. This proved to me that the programme was progressive and the faculty were dedicated to ensuring its success.”

Jørgen Pivak Were you concerned your professional background would hinder your application? “It was certainly something I was aware of as, whilst I’d gained some managerial experience, my working life to that point did not necessarily fit the stereotype of what an MBA student should be. The application process was a worry for me at first, but I received some excellent advice, support and encouragement from the admissions team at the School.” How did the programme meet your expectations? “It was gratifying to see that, amongst my classmates, there was no typical background. Every student came from a different industry and country, everyone had their own individual perspectives and experiences to share. Rather than hindering my development, I found my experiences of living and working abroad, my language skills and even my veterinary knowledge only complimented my learning. By the end of the first week of the first module I was already thinking differently. Instead of returning to my old role I began my job search almost immediately and, within two months had already secured a new role. “Opportunities to travel further, such as study trips to San Francisco, not only helped me to build my skills and perspectives, but get to know my classmates a little better. Despite our differences in country, culture or profession we always found something in common.” How has your career advanced since enrolling on the MBA programme? “I started my MBA in September 2014 and, by November I had secured a new position with Topigs Norsvin – one of the biggest and the most innovative swine genetics company in the world – as an export manager. By March I was further promoted to position of export leader. Through the Durham MBA I have changed city, changed industry and changed my job role. I’ve transitioned from working on a production line to designing and implementing export strategies for more than 54 countries. The Durham MBA has made this possible.” What advice would you give to someone considering travelling to the UK for an MBA? “I would first recommend that applicants ask themselves why they feel they might need an MBA to consider their career aspirations. Is the MBA the right fit for them? The MBA is a commitment of time, money and focus, particularly if you study overseas. Its effectiveness depends on your own drive and ambition. Do they wish to make a big change in their career? If so they must be prepared to work hard and have their existing ideas tested. For those prepared to do this, the reward is invaluable.”



International student recruitment fairs provide an excellent opportunity to meet with select universities for those who are unable to visit their short-listed university on site. They form an integral part of the Business School’s recruitment activity and allow us to meet one to one with students from all around the world. In the past year we have attended fairs in: • Athens and Thessaloniki (Greece) • Bangkok (Thailand) • Bogota (Colombia) • Dubai (UAE)

We are currently in the process of arranging our Autumn and Winter 2018 series of recruitment fairs, which will be available on our website in the summer. For those who are unable to meet us in person, we also offer online information sessions where staff and students will be on hand to answer all admissions and programme questions.

• Dublin (Ireland) • Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt (Germany) Hong Kong (China) Jakarta (Indonesia) Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) London (UK) Mexico City (Mexico) Milan, Rome and Venice (Italy) Montreal and Toronto (Canada) Moscow and St Petersburg (Russia) Mumbai and New Delhi (India) Paris (France)

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New exciting partnerships with top world-class institutions, such as emlyon business school (FR) and Fudan University, Shanghai (CH) are under way adding supervisory capacities and global reach. These factors give the programme a distinctive international opportunity for learning across all kinds of boundaries (geographical, cultural and disciplinary) making an impact to professional practices and companies worldwide.

Contact us Doctoral Admissions Durham University Business School Mill Hill Lane, Durham, DH1 3TH, UK Tel: +44 (0)191 334 5404

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IMPACT Magazine Issue 4