Local, flexible and taking on Big Brother

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The Independent Culture
Manchester Metropolitan University, formerly Manchester Polytechnic, is part of the huge student campus running south from the city centre to Didsbury. And as far as its high-tech housed and centrally situated Faculty of Management and Business is concerned, it is no disadvantage having the prestigious Manchester Business School just down the road. "They are international, we concentrate on helping regional and local business," says Prof. Richard Thorpe of Manchester Met. "We concentrate on being different from Big Brother up the road."

Even so, with 5,000 students the faculty is one of the largest business schools in the country. Its part-time MBA course was launched in 1990 and achieved accreditation by AMBA in 1994. It aims to offer managers and their employers a flexible pattern of study which will disrupt their work as little as possible. And it is hoped that employers, who often pay the fees, will benefit from their managers' participation right through the course. Projects and assignments are often work-based and students are expected to explore management and organisational issues within their own companies.

The course takes 40 middle and senior managers a year. "As a former polytechnic we have a long tradition of access for local people, and the part-time nature of the course is in that tradition," Prof. Thorpe says. "Our fees are set so that if necessary students can fund an MBA for themselves."

Maureen O'Connor