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Inspiring the next generation of mutual leaders

The benefits of growing internal talent was behind the establishment of the BSA/Loughborough University MSc programme way back in 2015. As we begin recruitment of the eighth cohort it is clear that the need to develop strong and empathetic leaders at multiple levels is particularly ‘of the moment’ as all businesses, including BSA members, face a raft of external uncertainties from prevailing macro-economics, through to policy and regulatory change.

The imperative of having strong and empathetic leaders at multiple levels in a business is much talked and written about.  This is not a new phenomenon, but it is particularly ‘of the moment’ as all businesses, including BSA members, face a raft of external uncertainties from prevailing macro-economics, through to policy and regulatory change.  In many areas ambiguity is something that is faced daily, making breadth, depth and confidence in our leaders a massive advantage.

Amongst many other things, leaders are the bridge between employer and employee, needing the ability to set and communicate a clear vision, as well as an ability to set strategy and structure and organize the business effectively.  Critically, they must also be able to inspire their teams – the people who fulfil an organisation’s goals and, tread a tricky line to balance the conflicts of interest between staff, customers, communities and stakeholders. In short leadership isn’t easy.

That said there are many ways in which this depth, breadth and confidence can be achieved:  A very few are just born with it; for others it is gained through years of experience, and probably a fair few sideways moves to build knowledge and experience.  You can import leaders and or ‘grow your own’.

The benefit of growing internal talent was behind the establishment of the BSA/Loughborough University Business School MSc programme way back in 2015.  Even though I have been involved in the programme from the start, I am astounded that this year we are about to start the recruitment of our eighth group of students onto this three year, part time MSc programme.  These days it is achievable as a two-year apprenticeship plus a third year to deliver the Masters degree or as a straight three-year Masters programme.  More students now take the former route as firms can use their Apprenticeship Levy money to pay for years one and two, these two years are 95% Government funded for non-Levy payers too.   

Since 2015 we have had 123 students on the programme, 83 of whom have graduated with many gaining Merits or Distinctions.  Overall the students have been broadly 50:50 men and women and the same for those with an undergraduate degree and those without.  The first five cohorts have graduated and we have seen many examples of stellar career progression including a chief executive, a deputy chief executive; heads of lending, risk and Consumer Duty and many others.   A few have moved on outside the sector or to a different Society as you would expect, generally a number of years post- graduation.  Most are still with their original employer.

In the next couple of weeks’ we will publish the brochure for the eighth cohort which will commence their studies in October this year.  The application window will open when the brochure is published and will close on 31 July.  Between these two dates there will be two Open Days on the Loughborough Campus, both commencing at 11:00 to facilitate travel.  The first, on 29 March will be for prospective employers and students who are BSA member firms.  The second, on 16 May will be for both BSA students/employers and those from other firms and sectors.

Since Cohort 7, the BSA programme and the Open Programme have been combined for all bar a few specialist modules such Finance and Strategic Operations.  So far we are finding that this approach is giving our students the opportunity to network inside the sector and learn from those in other types of business too - so far therefore, a win win approach.

If you want to know more about the BSA programme please contact Vicki Unwin at the Loughborough University Business School - V.E.Unwin@lboro.ac.uk.  You can also visit the Loughborough University stand at the BSA Annual Conference in Liverpool on 3 and 4 May.