2019 Strahclyde MBS students

Inside Strathclyde Strathclyde MBA students partner with SMEs

At Strathclyde our MBA is not just a business programme, it's a stimulating, challenging, life-changing experience which takes experienced executives from a variety of backgrounds, and equips them with the know-how, skills and strategic orientation to sustain and scale businesses in today’s global economy.

This is facilitated through enhanced understanding of the interplay of theory and practice management. Strathclyde Business School (SBS) has a long history of proactively engaging with the business community: through our Entrepreneurial Hub, our Alumni both near and far, or formalised CPD (Careers and Personal Development) bringing in business leaders from diverse industries to talk on a variety of topics to engage and inspire our students. 

Applying academic expertise to real-life business issues

MBA students working on Greenhouse Programme, March 2019

SBS is currently working in collaboration with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (CYBG), enabling our MBA students to work with six of the bank’s local small medium enterprise (SME) customers to help them to grow and develop by addressing specific real-life business proposals or issues.

The Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Greenhouse Programme is a mutually beneficial arrangement, providing academically informed, practical support through focused workshops to deliver recommendations to help shape the SMEs’ business decisions.

Working in teams of three on each of the business cases, our Strathclyde MBAs bring a compelling combination of high-level business expertise and strong academic knowledge. Comprising a broad base of nationalities - eight in all, they bring a hugely diverse and innovative approach to solving business issues and creating entrepreneurial ideas.

Having access to real life business scenarios to work on adds weight and credence to their theoretical understanding and knowledge, but also has a reciprocal benefit to the SMEs in terms of valuable business insight and entrepreneurial vision.

How does it work?

  • The business customers submit a statement describing an opportunity or challenge that their business would like to overcome, leverage or explore. The statement is then allocated to a group of pre-selected students to research and plan
  • Next is the ‘workshop’ which is the centre of the experience and is when the business meets and spends the day working with a group of students to validate pre-work and progress through an exploration and idea generation process
  • Following the workshop, the students continue to build on their ideas before providing the business with a report detailing strategic choices that they can make
  • The students will submit their proposals to CYBG at the end of March before presenting them at the businesses’ premises

A productive partnership

Both parties are gaining immensely from the experience: sharing ideas, putting thoughts into practice, offering alternative perspectives, challenging the perceived norm, creating innovative solutions and ultimately working in partnership to enable the SMEs to move forward.

The business leaders are also benefitting by working with students who are potentially the next generation within their sector or even their own organisation. Over the years we have had a number of jobs offered to students even before they graduate, demonstrating again our reputation for producing high calibre, readymade recruits.

Strathclyde prides itself on being a place of useful learning and with this collaboration, we are putting our values into practice – helping developing ambitious managers into entrepreneurial, strategic business leaders.

Cynthia Halatyn, Full Time MBA 2019 and programme participant said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank workshop. It was a unique opportunity to work hands-on with a client and apply the theoretical learning of my MBA courses to a real world business problem. I also came to appreciate the amount of active listening necessary to fully understand the client’s needs. I have been considering a career in consultancy for some time and this experience gave me the confidence to see how my MBA and passion for problem solving could help me be successful.” 

Stephen O’Keane, Senior Manager, Small Business Team at CYBG, added: “Having studied at Strathclyde, I knew that our Greenhouse initiative would be the perfect way to set up a partnership between CYBG and the University. There is a sense of shared values as both organisations are passionate about SMEs and supporting the innovations and improvements for businesses.  

“I remember this first hand from the strong industry relationships from my time as a student, and here at CYBG we are constantly striving to look for new ways to help our business customers. Strathclyde Business School is renowned for excellence and that meant that we could totally trust the quality of engagement with our customer base. This gave us comfort that the involvement in the initiative would be valuable for all involved.  I am really excited about the future of this programme and to keep working on it in partnership with Strathclyde.”