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London Metropolitan University A learning partnership to deliver graduates prepared to thrive in an increasingly complex business world

The challenge

The Faculty of Business & Law at LMU wanted to retain its relevance in today’s competitive education environment, and maintain its ability to produce commercially aware graduates that excel at winning jobs.

The solution

A review of the faculty’s approach to high-quality teaching, supported by an FT Group Subscription enabling professors to easily integrate current affairs and international perspective into the curriculum.

The benefits

The faculty remains at the forefront of teaching and develops entrepreneurial graduates, able to connect theory to practice in ways that make an immediate contribution to clients, employers and investors.

Business-ready graduates

Drawing on its 165-year history, London Metropolitan University has built its reputation through the provision of high-quality graduates. As part of that tradition, the Faculty of Business & Law offers a powerful mix of both academically rigorous degrees and professionally accredited qualifications, backed up by real-world experience.

When my lecturers prompted me to read the FT every day, I could not imagine the huge benefit I would have derived from it. I feel as if what I learn in textbooks is being applied in business. It gives me a constant opportunity for critical reflection of academic concepts and an evaluative benchmark to best business practice.

Andrada Paraschiv BSc Economics and Finance student

The faculty’s core strength comes from excellent links with both industry and professional bodies, with more than 60 visiting professors drawn from a wide range of specialty backgrounds. These include representatives of large City firms such as Ernst & Young and Allen & Overy, as well as entrepreneurs such as former Pizza Express chairman, Luke Johnson; the co-founder of Metro Bank, Anthony Thompson; and the chairman of the Central London Branch Institute of Directors, Jason Choy.

“We are not just preparing skilled technicians; we are providing students with the business awareness and ethical underpinning to add sustainable value from day one in a diverse global economy”, says Dean of the Faculty, Professor Stephen J. Perkins.

It was founded in 1984 as part of an initiative by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Koblenz to develop more commercially focused qualifications and graduates that would better meet the demands of business and industry.

Staying ahead in challenging times

Recently, the faculty has embarked on a widereaching programme, designed to ensure that it retains its appeal in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace. Drawing on its experience in the consulting world, an in-house team assessed demand for business school courses and benchmarked programmes against domestic and international competitors.

I see our students as investors; they are placing their hopes and dreams, as well as their careers, with us. We are not just trying to prepare skilled technicians; we’re providing them with the business awareness and a moral and ethical underpinning of social actors in a global diversified economy.

Professor Stephen J. Perkins Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law, London Metropolitant Univeristy

Through a series of meetings and the use of social media, input was sought from managers, staff and students – as well as among City of London stakeholders – about what they liked and how courses could be improved.

As a result of the review, the faculty decided it would place the emphasis on better focused teaching, informed by deliberately themed research, running in parallel with its enterprise arm.

The courses portfolio has undergone a comprehensive redesign to engage and nurture the leaders and professionals of tomorrow. Changes include the introduction of an 18-month MBA with professional development. Other significant measures include changing the cap on admission levels to improve student/teacher ratios and to maintain the quality of education the business world expects.

“We took an extensive look at what the market is telling us,” says Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, Professor Stephen J. Perkins. “We are building our core business around teaching undergraduates and postgraduates and offering development for business executives and legal professionals.”

Perfect fit

To support its overall aim of delivering business ready graduates by achieving the right blend of knowledge, creativity and commerciality, the Faculty of Business & Law turned to an FT Group Subscription.

With over 600 journalists around the world, the FT offers an unmatched global perspective on business, finance and politics; providing trusted news and analysis 24 hours a day. Bringing business to life, it enables students to connect current events with course principles and gives them current, real-world material for their assignments.

Having invested in this learning partnership with the FT, we are confidently demonstrating to prospective students, clients and all other stakeholders our commitment to remain at the forefront of business, management and legal intelligence, delivered via a second-decade 21st century medium.

Paul Bullock Leader, MA International Business Course

The FT Group Subscription allows students to access all articles – from news stories to authoritative comment and analysis – and learn how to interpret the information and understand the implications. Students also receive free access to the FT’s comprehensive archive, allowing them to view previous stories that will assist with research and provide context for today’s news. In the classroom, lecturers have been able to set exercises around FT content, ensuring students develop both their general understanding of business issues – including evolving areas such as emerging market opportunities – and their instinct to question and analyse information quickly.

The overall benefit is that students are gaining a better understanding of the global business landscape and appreciate how the academic principles they read about in modules, translate into practical reality in modern organisations. This kind of broad-based analysis not only helps them achieve their qualifications, but puts in place the foundations to become the business executives and managers of tomorrow.

Delivering a consistently strong performance

Students have seen notable benefits as a result of using the FT Group Subscription. Gabriele Cippitelli is a finance student, who is already on course for a successful career when he graduates. “The Financial Times has played a key role for my academic research as well as expanding my commercial awareness on a daily basis.” he says. “I recommend the Faculty of Business & Law to everyone who wants to be challenged academically in a location that is professionally stimulating”.

A further benefit cited by students – and their tutors – is the ability to access the FT.com resources through different channels, including the use of smart phones, iPads and tablet PCs. By providing access to stories on the move and at any time of day, students are able to make use of resources wherever they happen to be, encouraging them to access and digest information several times a day and to process potentially complicated business issues in a timely fashion.

This has been particularly helpful to Andrada Paraschiv: “Reading the FT on my tablet, downloaded through the FT app or online, not only gives me an up-to-date view on the global economy but also makes me understand how my skills can fit more successfully within the current innovation driven and ever-changing business scenario”, she says.

Students are not the only ones to benefit from having such in-depth information and analysis at their fingertips. Lecturers and tutors have also been able to improve their own understanding of wider business issues and have found the resources such as myFT, reading lists and the ePaper and the five-aday top business stories vital in helping students understand the need to link business and academic theory with the wider commercial landscape.

Paul Bullock, Course Leader for the MA International Business course, says: “Being able to email FT articles to one another within the platform stimulates our students’ own team work practices. Students can link their social accounts to the FT, and staff can draw attention to and annotate items for a range of teaching purposes.”

More broadly, this functionality has helped careers staff place graduates in top positions by alerting them to potential posts and has enabled the dean to promote the benefits of the faculty to both employers and potential students: “Having invested in this learning partnership with the FT, we are confidently demonstrating to prospective students, clients and all other stakeholders our commitment to remain at the forefront of business, management and legal intelligence, delivered via a second-decade 21st century medium”, he says.

Facing the future

As a result of the faculty’s renewed focus on research- informed education and consultancy, its reputation for delivering graduates that not only have the requisite knowledge, but are also able to step into the world of business on a fast-track to senior posts, is being enhanced.

Individual students have won a number of awards, including the prestigious Lombard prize, the State Street Bank prize, and group presentation awards by Standard Chartered Bank, which also offered a Faculty of Business & Law student team an “away day” with its corporate board.

The Faculty of Business & Law has around 6,000 students, drawn from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and experiences; all of whom now receive a personal academic tutor who draws up a personal development plan to help manage that individual’s progression and achievement. All students have access to the faculty’s employability unit to assist with shaping a successful career after graduation. A number of student-led business societies have also emerged, supported by the Faculty, which also make use of the Financial Times through the FT Group Subscription.

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