University of Bradford - MBA

A Triple-crown accredited University

Name: Natalie Wilmot


Position in the university: MBA Director

Years with the university: 8 months


What are your values as a university and how do you ensure these values are upheld by both employees and students?

One of the things which is particularly important to the University is social inclusion.  We were named as The Times University of the Year 2020 for Social Inclusion, something which we’re really proud of as this reflects one of our core values.  Ensuring access to education is something which we firmly believe in as an institution, and so not only are these values reflected in our overall mission and strategy, but it’s something which we put into practice, for example during the current COVID19 crisis, there has been a food parcel scheme in place for our students, generously supported by Morrisons and managed by staff and students at the University, who have also been involved in distributing food and aid to the wider community during this time of need.  These actions really demonstrate the values of the University, and our commitment to being at the heart of our community.


Are you a risk taker? Describe one of the risks you have taken as the MBA director of the University of Bradford and the results?

Given that I joined the institution in September 2019, this has not been the time to take large risks, as whenever you join any new organisation there is a period of familiarization and understanding the local context.  The MBA course underwent a significant restructure which was launched in September 2018, so since I joined the University, there has been a period of continuous improvement and building on the excellent work which was done before I arrived, rather than a period of transformational change which has involved taking large risks.


What is the University of Bradford MBA main weakness and how do you plan to overcome this problem?

The MBA at Bradford is a very strong course, as reflected in our triple accreditation from leading bodies of global management education – EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB, and the ranking of our Distance Learning MBA in the Financial Times Top 10.  There is a lot of great work taking place on the course and in the School of Management as a whole, and one of the challenges for me as MBA Director is making sure that we are communicating this work and our courses to a wide audience so that people and businesses know what we are doing!  For example, we have had a number of recent pieces in the press featuring our professors in the School of Management and highlighting the MBA course, so it’s good to see that communication and dialogue with a wider audience taking place.


What does the University of Bradford offer to companies who wish to invest/work with the university?

Staying ahead of the competition in an uncertain world with limited resources is a constant challenge. In addition to organisations managing existing obligations and markets, there are also needs to innovate the product and service range offered in order to meet the diverse needs of customers, whilst at the same time providing excellent customer service. 

Having worked with businesses for 50 years, the University has a good understanding of what the present challenges are, however for organisations who choose to work with us, we don’t make assumptions.  We determine the appropriate service by listening to your needs and developing a proposal tailored around those conversations.

As we are a technology University, digital innovation is at the forefront of most of our research.  We know technological advancement in industry is a constant challenge and we can help with that.

In the Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences, we have a Knowledge Transfer Network which has over 10 years of experience working with businesses across a range of sectors and services, and run regular events for local organisations – most recently, a webinar which I presented, which thought about the impact of remote working and communication challenges faced by organisations as a result of COVID19.  It’s important to us to provide information and support which is relevant and timely for organisations!


What is your most successful postgraduate course and what would a manager in full time employment gain from it?

Certainly the MBA programme is one of the largest postgraduate courses at the School of Management, and the one which is most appropriate for managers who are currently in full-time employment as we only offer it on a part-time basis – either through Distance Learning where you can study at a time and place to suit you, or through weekend study blocks which take place in Bradford and Dubai.  The MBA programme equips managers with strategic, interpersonal, and financial skills needed to progress and perform at senior levels.  We blend theory with practice so that right from the outset you’re able to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the workplace, and the course is structured so that in the first year you gain a core of management knowledge which you then develop into specialisations into particular areas in the second year of study, culminating in the Management Project which is an in depth investigation into an area of your choice.


The University of Bradford School of Management has recently announced it can access funds that will cover 95% of an employee’s MBA.  Could you please expand on this opportunity?

Yes, this is as part of apprenticeships scheme.  There is an L7 Senior Leader apprenticeship standard against which our Executive MBA programme is mapped, and therefore students can access apprenticeship funding to study for our MBA.  The scheme will support 95% of the fees (against the funding band of £18,000) for employees from non-levy paying organisations, and 100% of the fees for employees from levy-paying companies.  This is a great opportunity to offer an MBA to candidates who may previously have been unable take up Masters level study in the past due to financial restrictions.  However, the funding is currently under review and will not be available for MBAs as part of an apprenticeship from September 2020.


Could you please expand on the links between Business Analytics, Circular Economy and Supply Chain and how their study and research will impact businesses.

Business Analytics, Circular Economy and Supply Chain is one of four Research Centres at the School of Management, with the other three being Accounting, Finance and Economics; International Business, Marketing and Branding; and People, Organisations and Entrepreneurship. 

The increasing and pervasive nature of Business Analytics has significant potential for all types of organisations, across various sectors. The BACES team are actively researching in this area to better understand the opportunities and challenges presented by this growing phenomenon for both public and private sector organisations.  Particularly as the use of analytics is of growing importance for a Circular Economy in which re-use, repair and recycling decisions are increasingly driven through the effective use of data.

While Circular Economy practices requires the redesigning of products, process and business models, there is also a need to rethink Supply Chains for circular economies. The complexities associated with circular economy practices demands the need for better collaboration and data sharing within Supply chain networks. Therefore, Business Analytics plays a fundamental role in connecting the Supply Chain and supporting a successful Circular Economy. Our research promotes an understanding of how these key areas connect and can transform both private and public sector organisations.


The University of Bradford is one of a handful of business schools worldwide with the coveted triple-crown accreditation, how important is this accreditation and does it keep the university ahead of competition?

There are approximately 14,000 business schools globally, and only about 90 of them have triple-crown accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB.  It’s very important to us as it is widely seen as a hallmark of quality of our management education, and it enables us to ensure that our standards are consistently maintained and evaluated against international benchmarks.