Ashridge has launched a management course that acknowledges earlier learning

Ashridge Business School launched its Masters in management programme in April 2010 with the aim of providing an opportunity for its students to transform executive learning time into a recognised postgraduate qualification.

A Masters in management qualification isn't a new idea, but Roger Delves, director of Ashridge's programme, claims this version has been designed to respond to the changing needs of people at work.

"There's a growing interest among managers to add to their professional credibility and prospects by having a degree standard qualification," he explains. "But often they don't have the opportunity to take off a year to do a [full-time] MBA or [two-years for an] executive MBA. The attraction of the Ashridge programme is that it's mainly virtual, which allows people to study in their own space at their own time, but is a Masters level degree from a well-respected institution."

Delves says the programme is designed for our current business climate. "Much of the content addresses the need to lead in adversity and ambiguity. The changing international environment means there is a generation of managers who haven't managed in difficult economic times and need to learn how to do so quickly."

The programme is delivered in three stages, awarding a certificate, then a diploma and finally the Masters in management. Students attend Ashridge for five days during the first stage, although any open or tailored programmes they've completed there within the past five years can be credited towards these requirements. The total programme takes two years, but can be taken in three stages.

This combination of virtual learning and face-to-face experience is unusual, says Delves. "This is an interesting innovation. It's the first time that people who have done tailored executive education can credit that time against a qualification programme."

Distance learning has been on the scene for over a decade, but Delves argues people are increasingly accustomed to working with virtual material. "We decided to offer a media learning zone where they can choose to learn in a variety of different ways. The technology needs to be reasonably simple and robust, because students are based globally. We use PowerPoint with voice-overs, offer online synchronised tutorials for discussions and encourage learning support groups so no-one has to learn on their own."

Rather than issuing large expensive book lists, the programme provides hyperlinks to articles containing core academic thinking. Delves defends the scheme against accusations of being "lite" education. "From online discussions and feedback from tutorials we find our students are offering challenging questions and producing quality assignments."

To date around 30 students have signed up, with a three figure target by the end of next year. Ages range from 30 to 50 years old, with the majority from outside the UK. Delves says the fees are very competitive.

"The total programme costs £16,000, but students can do the first level then take a year out to save for the next stage. Employers have shown their support by sponsoring individuals and small groups, while some are considering it as part of their redundancy package."

Management development has moved away from purely academic learning to mixing theory with practical experience. Delves says: "We decided to assess by assignments rather than exams. All the learning is geared towards helping students to undertake assignments and they have to do a piece of internal consultancy inside their own organisation. This creates a virtuous circle where all the learning feeds straight back into practical workplace environments and use."

For the students who are based overseas, Ashridge is prepared to take the face-to-face learning to them.

"If there are a number of individuals in one area our faculty can go and deliver on the spot, or managers can attend open portfolio programmes that we offer in different parts of the world," says Delves.

"Wherever you are, Ashridge is creating an environment where you don't have to travel to the UK to get a UK Masters in management degree."


Stephanie Roux is director of a Paris-based management consultancy who started on the Ashridge Masters in management programme in April 2010. Why did she choose Ashridge rather than programmes offered in France?

“The French style of management is very different to the English – here we still have formal talks to deal with an issue, but I like the Anglo-Saxon approach, explains Roux.

A British client with international branches had recommended Ashridge to Roux, and in 2008 she went to a short face-to-face programme on leadership skills at the management college.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, and decided to do something that would give me a diploma.

“An MBA was too large and would take up too much time. I’d been to business school 20 years ago when I was 21, and this time I wanted to focus on my special subject, which is change leadership.

“The Ashridge programme spends a third of the year on this area, and also includes strategy and finance, so the offer was exactly what I wanted at this stage in my career.”

The flexibility of the programme means that Roux can fit studying round her job. “I spend the equivalent of two days a week on it in the evening and weekends. My tutor agreed that I could do a project on one of my clients for the practical learning assignment. I’ve been able to interview clients and try and understand their particular problem without having a consultant’s hat on.

“I like the pragmatic approach of the programme – there’s a lot of hype written about leadership, but the reality is very different, and that’s what the Ashridge programme gives you.

“It’s years since I was at business school, and though I’m proficient in change I needed to be updated in other areas of management. Doing the Masters in management is a valuable experience for the next step in my career, as a consultant with a broader outlook on business.”

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teaching Assistant required in ...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam