Creating together


Understanding UK business culture through immersive business experiences

The Business Awareness Experience (part of the Business in Action module) was a very valuable experience during the MBA and an interesting opportunity to be in contact with real businesses in the UK. It not only enabled us as MBA students to be in contact with companies, but also to hear directly from the companies their vision, their opinion, and to interact with the managers in a lively way.

The week started with a visit to Venator, the third titanium dioxide producer in the world. It was an outstanding opportunity, being able to access a multinational company that sells billions in the sector, where we had the opportunity to talk with the CEO, CFO and other top managers. Their time is precious but they were happy to engage with us.

The MBA cohort in London as part of the Business Awareness Experience

I really enjoyed this visit because we discussed deep topics about their challenges, their strategies and culture. Moreover, this was linked to a case competition challenge that we get to present them in March about some strategies proposed by us for Venator to analyse. All of us are looking forward to presenting our ideas to them!

After Venator we went to London and started the week with an important session with two financial investors that shared with us interesting ideas about financing, the process of how they make their investments and some market trends. Following that, we participated in a panel about the future in the workplace, with guests from different industries such as Motivat, Hymans Robertson, Expedia Group and What Works Centre for Well being. This panel was a very enriching experience, we heard their vision about the key issues that we as future leaders and organisations are going to face. At the end of the event we had the opportunity to attend a networking session with former MBA alumni, the panellists and broader corporates.

In London, we also visited Lloyds Bank, where we learnt about trends in the digital banking sector and an insight into how the future of the commercial banks could change. Regarding the financial sector, we also met with HSBC, which was an interactive session with some challenges about our response to certain real experiences they have faced in business.  The objective was to realise how in certain situations the decisions not 100% based on numbers but also on qualitative and ethical aspects.

The last visit of this activity was to SMD, a leading global company in manufacturing remote intervention equipment for underwater activities. As all the experiences, this one was valuable since we were in a plant seeing first-hand the equipment and the processes. After the tour in the factory we had the chance to apply our knowledge to give ideas to the top managers to develop a business idea they are assessing.

Overall, the Business Awareness Experience was a privilege to encounter and something that feels unique to Newcastle, it requires a lot of effort for the team to coordinate multiple company visits in a short time period, but it is a worthwhile endeavour for two main reasons. Firstly, it gives international students, which are the majority in the cohort, the chance to have contact with business in the UK, not just to UK business culture and the environment. Secondly, because we can apply some of the soft and hard skills learnt so far in the MBA to these real scenarios, combining the academic rigour and knowledge with practical application.

Written by John Gonzalez Garcia, MBA student – class of 2018.

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