Prepare for a place on the board

An MBA isn't the only option if you're considering scaling the corporate ladder

A group of senior executives are exploring Wordsworth's historic home, Dove Cottage, at Grasmere in the heart of the Lake District. They're being introduced to the unusual art of reflective management and part of the International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM), a qualification more advanced than the MBA.

The course was launched 17 years ago and is run jointly by Lancaster University Management School and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It seeks to address the challenges and cultural imperatives for modern businesses, as well as to prepare people for board-level positions. The IMPM has benefited from the renewed interest in board-level education and a rebranding that challenges MBA orthodoxy. "There is a general agreement that organisations have to manage themselves, not in terms of profit, but more broadly in terms of their impact on the environment and society. In the long term, this is the only way the capitalist system can survive," says Lucas Introna, the academic director of the IMPM.

The qualification's five modules are taught in Beijing, Rio, Lancaster, Montreal and Bangalore. "It's international, but it's local. We give participants a flavour of the business issues and the global mindset, particularly in emerging economies," says Introna.

Although there are plenty of alternatives to the MBA at the pre-experience level, with specialist Masters degrees in domestic and international management, there seems to be a gap in the market for board-level education – partly because potential candidates for such courses can turn to professional coaches or take executive short courses.

The 18-month IMPM programme resembles a global executive MBA. But Introna, a specialist in business ethics, points to a fundamental difference. "MBAs are essentially focused on function. They will teach you strategy, marketing and accounting, but students are not taught the practice of management. A good manager is responsive not only to the demands of shareholders but to society and the environment."

Another key difference between the IMPM and the MBA is that modules are taught not by function but by overarching themes, called the "five managerial mindsets". These are reflective, analytical, worldly, collaborative and action. The mindset approach helps participants think differently, so they gain new insights into challenges they face. Instead of teaching strategy, finance or HR in a series of silos, the IMPM talks about collaboration in strategic, internal and supplier terms. In Beijing, for example, the IMPM covers culture and history in the context of an emerging growth economy; and at Lancaster the course homes in on helping executives develop reflective management practice and personal authenticity.

The IMPM's philosophy, framed by its co-founder Henry Mintzberg, is that management is a continuously evolving practice that is a blend of science, craft and insight. As the author of Managers Not MBAs, asserts, the art of management is not something that can be taught by an MBA. "The IMPM is about doing a better job, not just getting a better job," says Mintzberg, Cleghorn professor of management studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

A similar philosophy underpins the Cranfield School of Management's four General Management Programmes (GMPs), each of which is designed for a key transition in a manager's career. Programmes last between 14 and 17 days and are delivered either in consecutive weeks or in a modular format, with the intention of meeting the needs of busy executives. Unique to Cranfield's GMPs is the year-long relationship on all programmes. At review sessions held three months and a year after the course ends, Cranfield faculty discuss with each delegate how they are applying their leadership knowledge in their business.

On each of the GMPs, participants find themselves among a group of around 24 people of similar seniority and experience. They offer intensive peer review, coaching from experienced practitioners and exposure to business leaders who share their approaches to problem solving. "What makes Cranfield's GMPs different is that they are shorter than similar programmes elsewhere and they offer a very personal focus. We work very closely with each participant. There is a very strong personal leadership development component, contextualised within each participant's professional role and business situation," explains Dr David Butcher, director of Cranfield's Centre for General Management Development. The cost of the programmes range from £10,700 to £15,700.

The IMPM programme costs $55,000 (£34,550) and attracts between 25 and 30 participants for each cohort, drawn from a range of countries including the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan and the UK. The programme has a core of corporate clients, including Lufthansa, Panasonic, LG and Posco, the South Korean steel manufacturer. SMEs and NGOs are well represented, ensuring that the education experience covers all the bases.

To embed the benefits from the programme, companies sending participants are invited to set up "impact groups" – small teams of change agents within the company who can be mentored by the course participant. Members of the Lufthansa impact groups conduct regular "coaching ourselves" sessions on IMPM teaching topics, and are invited to participate free for a few days in one of the course modules. The aim being to spread and exchange best practice. "The big benefit we've found is that managers really come back with a different mindset and actively drive change in the organisation and put it successfully into practice," says Kristien Weidenmann, executive education manager for Lufthansa School of Business, the German airline's corporate university.

Lufthansa has been sending three to five of its senior managers to the IMPM programme each year since 1996. Weidenmann is a member of one of the four IMPM impact groups. "Our group is working on a project to boost the percentage for women in first-line management levels up to 30 per cent more than the actual status quo," she says, referring to the scope of the organisational impact of the IMPM.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: 1st Line IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpd...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Audit Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Audit Graduate Opportunities ar...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

SThree: TRAINEE RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT - IT - LONDON

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?