"University of Manchester Manchester Business School"
University of Manchester: Manchester Business School Study Abroad Report: Stephanie Peterson Autumn 2004 MBS Mission & Vision Statement (2003) Inside the school, we work in a lively, bustling atmosphere where ideas can be shared openly without the hindrance of internal boundaries. We strive to be honest and friendly in our dealings with each other. Our aim is that, right from day one, new arrivals feel supported and recognized and work as part of one large team to achieve the school’s shared goals. As a result, the spirit of Manchester Business School will be one of mutual support, confidence, trust and pride. We also value and rely upon those who have studied with us. We aim to remain helpful to them in their careers, supportive and concerned for their futures as they are for ours. Logistics at MBS Pre-Arrival. Prior to arrival at MBS, the exchange coordinator for the MBA office sent me a packet of very useful information; information on housing, entry into the country, etc. I would recommend reading this information thoroughly as you plan your stay in Manchester. Feel free to communicate with the MBA staff with questions, however, you will need to be persistent if you don’t hear anything back right away. The British people are more laid-back and relaxed, therefore, they aren’t prone to responding to email as soon as a message hits their inbox – unlike us in the US. Housing. MBS has on-site accommodations (in what they call the “hotel”), if you want to live right at the school. Many exchange students chose this option, however, I did not. I used www.roommates.com to find a roommate with whom to share accommodations, and this was one of the best decisions I made. 1 The woman I lived with was my age and owned her own home, in which I rented (or “let”) one of the rooms. I had full use of the kitchen, washer/dryer, etc… She was born and raised around the Manchester area, and we got along fabulously! She took me in and introduced me to her family and friends. I was able to get totally immersed in the British culture by living with her, which I think aided in the great experience I had. If you want British culture, I would recommend finding a British roommate. On the flip side, the students who opted to live in the MBS hotel didn’t have the same experience. Several of the students were unhappy with the accommodations and unhappy with their experience because they were “stuck” at the school all the time – and the school isn’t that big. In addition, they were limited to eating out (and there are very few fast-food restaurants close to the school) or eating at the school cafeteria. There was a refrigerator for the students living in the hotel to use, but there were no cooking facilities – not even a microwave, available. I, on the other hand, had a full kitchen with which to make meals, etc. Some of the con’s to renting was the increased cost I had in transportation. My house was in the “suburb” of Stockport. I wouldn’t recommend living that far away. To get to MBS, I had a 4 block walk to the train station, a 10 minute train ride, then either a 5 block walk or a bus ride – it would take me 30 to 45 minutes to get into the school. If you are thinking about living outside of MBS, be sure to get a map of the Manchester area and try to locate accommodations in areas near the school. MBS is part of the University of Manchester and is located in the southern part of Manchester City Center. The packet of information the MBA office sends you prior to arrival does a good job of explaining the surrounding areas to assist in finding a place. Additionally, it would be my recommendation to get to Manchester and live at the school for a week, or so, while you look for a place to live. Don’t agree to living anywhere until you have seen the place and met with the potential roommate(s). I, prior to arriving in Manchester, agreed to live with a woman who owned a house in Wythenshawe, however when I arrived, the house was horrible and the area was like the ghetto (it was “council housing” which is like low-income housing in the US). I had to quickly find alternative housing (which is how I ended-up in Stockport). Arrival. Arrival into the country through immigration was simple. Just be sure to have your letter of acceptance from MBS, your return airline ticket information and a copy of your bank statement (proving you can afford to live in the country). I was not asked to show my bank statement, but did need to show my letter and my return ticket. I was lucky enough to be picked-up at the airport by the woman I was going to live with. If you are not as lucky, you have two options for getting from the airport to the school: (1) Take a taxi – this will cost you ₤20-₤30 and will be the least stressful; (2) Take the train to the Oxford Road train station. You may have to take the train to the Manchester Piccadilly Station, then change go to Oxford Road. Once you arrive at the Oxford Road station, walk south on Oxford Road, then take a right onto 2 West Booth Street. The business school is on the left. It’s about 5 blocks from the Oxford Rd. station to the school. I arrived a week early, and was glad I did. This gave me a chance to get over my jet lag, get acclimated with my surroundings and spend quality time with my housemate. Another exchange student arrived two weeks early, dropped off her luggage at the school (in storage), took her backpack and used the extra time to tour around France and Italy. MBS Orientation. The first gathering of all exchange students was for orientation. In the morning we were met and welcomed by the Dean of the school, and had representatives from Career Services, IT and the MBS office staff talk to us. They went over the general information about the school, how our work would be assessed, etc. After lunch, we were given a tour of the library and a guided bus tour of Manchester. The bus tour of the city was very interesting. Be sure to bring your camera! The MBS staff even organized the first night out for all the exchange students (and any full-time students that wanted to go along) – this involved meeting and going out to several clubs to experience Manchester night life. The Dove’s Nest. In addition to the orientation at the school itself, all exchange students (and a few of the second year students) hopped on a bus and went up to the Lake District for a weekend retreat at the Dove’s Nest. The weekend included lots of team-building and problem solving exercises – all involving activities outdoors. It was a great opportunity to get to know the other exchange students and see the countryside of England – which was absolutely gorgeous. I would recommend bringing a pair of old tennis shoes, or hiking boots, and some old clothing you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. It will rain – no question about it. Here’s a picture of the house we stayed at (Fallbarrow Hall) and another of some of us who just finished a canoeing activity. This was a fabulous experience! Academic Experience Academic experience, otherwise know as The Manchester Method, is not all that unlike the courses in the part-time program at Carlson. The entire two year program at MBS is 3 very intense and hand’s on, however, as an exchange student in the fall semester, you are only taking elective courses and do not get to experience the uniqueness of the full-time program. I found the electives were taught much like those at CSOM. There was lecture, an individual project, a group project with a presentation, and sometimes an exam. I took the following courses: Management in a Globalizing World Economy (Pikay Richardson) Corporate Reputation & Competitiveness (Gary Davies & Rosa Chun) Management of Marketing Communications (Paul Michell) Corporate & Social Responsibility (Petra Molthan-Hill) The electives I chose were pretty easy; if you want to take a course with little work, I would recommend Management in a Globalizing World Economy. Management of Marketing Communications is a very good elective in which you actually put together two entire marketing plans – one as a group project and one as an individual project. It is a great deal of work, but I enjoyed it. MBS does have more of a financial focus, therefore the majority of courses are finance related. I had several friends in some of those courses, and they are quite a bit more intense. You can expect a project or assignment to take 30+ hours to complete. If you are an exchange student in the spring semester, you should expect something entirely different. The spring semester is not comprised of elective courses, instead it is an International Business (IB) project. Not having participated in this project, I don’t know much about it, you may want to read other exchange student essays to get more information. In addition, I took the following excerpt from the MBS website about this project: During this consultancy project your team investigates a particular aspect of your client´s overseas strategy. It exposes you to the unstructured, often multi-dimensional international business problems increasingly faced by senior managers. It involves extensive primary research, including international travel, plus a high level of project organisation and client contact. Many projects are with multi-nationals. Recent projects have included market entry strategies, assessing the viability of commercial information services, product support strategies, and determining the location for new operations. British Culture The British culture is an interesting one. The British people in the northern part of the country (I.e. Manchester) are typically more friendly than the people of London, but they all have the same sense of humor – very dry and sarcastic. The British are more laid- back and easy-going. The staff at MBS will tell you that promptness is crucial, however, you will quickly notice the students arriving late are usually the British students. The full-time work week is 35 hours, not 40 – they seem to value their free-time more, and don’t necessarily take work home with them. I found my housemate, her family and friends were quick to take me in as one of their own, and I felt right at home from the minute I stepped in the door. Of course, most 4 British citizens are fascinated with Americans, and once they know where you are from, they will want to tell you about their trip to the US (I can guarantee they have either been to the east coast, Florida, or California – but no where else), their trip to Canada, or a trip someone they knew took to either the US or Canada. They will also want to know if you are a President Bush supporter or the opposition. Most everyone will want to talk politics. Try to watch the “telly” (TV) while you are there. You will get a good idea of the culture… Oh, and enjoy the lack of commercials! My favorite shows to watch were: Most Haunted – where a camera crew and psychic go into England’s haunted places at night and wait for scary things to happen. Coronation Street – a prime time British soap opera filmed right in Manchester. Two Pints of Lager & a Packet of Crisps – this was actually my favorite show; kind of like “Friends.” Little Britain – indescribable, but hilarious. Ant & Dec – it’s like a talk show; they actually have a cameo appearance in the movie “Love Actually.” A few things you need to remember: Soccer is referred to as “Football.” If you want to talk about the game we play in the US with pigskin, make sure you call it “American Football.” The British are very particular about this. Go Manchester United!! The term “pissed” means drunk, and not mad. At the time of this writing, pubs closed at 11 PM, although, the long-standing law was set to change at the beginning of 2005. “Crisps” are potato chips, and “Chips” are french fries – this is very important since both are a staple in the English diet. Marks & Spencer have the BEST sandwiches. You can get cheap calling cards from the convenience store called SPAR, right next to the school. Get a cell phone. You can buy a cheap phone and pay-as-you go (it’s called “Top Up”). Text messaging is all the rage. You will become addicted to it. “Trainers” are tennis shoes, and a “jumper” is a sweater/sweatshirt. “Rubbish” is garbage, or can be used in conversation when we would typically say “crap.” For example, if you disagree with someone and you say, “That’s a bunch of crap,” the British would say, “That’s rubbish!” The British can be a bit schizophrenic at times… For example: at crosswalks, the stoplights will beep when it is OK for pedestrians to cross the street, thus signaling safety, however, the trains and underground (in London) will beep when the doors are about to close, thus signaling danger. So, in one case beeping signals safety, and the other it signals danger. See what I mean? But it is that, which I love about Britain. 5 As I said earlier, the best way to really learn about the culture is to live outside of the school with a British citizen. I would highly, highly, highly recommend doing this. You will have a much better experience. Social Life Manchester is the home to three large Universities, so you will be right in the middle of a college, party atmosphere. Manchester is known has having the best night life in the country – take advantage of it. You will get an information packet at MBS orientation with good information about the night life. Take time to read through it, and find some of the clubs that look interesting to you. I would also recommend making friends with the full-time students, especially the second year students. They know what is going on, and can give you all sorts of good advice. They have GREAT house parties, too. You can meet lots of students in the computer lab, in the common area of the school, or in the MBS bar. Yes, there is a bar right in the school. Feel free to get a pint and take it into the computer lab or study room with you – there are no rules against that! If you are a smoker, the bar will be the place you will retreat to when you need a smoke break. In addition, take advantage of your location and travel! There are quite a few interesting cities only a short (1 to 2 hour) train ride away. I visited Chester, York and Blackpool. Be sure you take a trip up into Scotland, and see Edinburgh – if you do, stay the night and go on a haunted ghost tour. I also made a trip over to Llandidno, Wales. You will find the other exchange students will want to travel, too. Make sure to get together with others right away and look at your class schedule to book trips. The sooner you book, the cheaper it is. There are also several discount airlines that fly around Europe, most notably is EasyJet – this airline flies out of Liverpool, which is an hour train ride from Manchester. I also traveled to Amsterdam (via EasyJet) and Paris (via the Chunnel from London), and of course London several times. All are very popular destinations. I didn’t get a chance to see Ireland, and am disappointed – oh well, next time! Other Budgeting: England is very expensive. I repeat, England is very expensive! At the time of writing, the exchange rate was $2 = ₤1. My budget was ₤150 per week for living expenses (not including shopping sprees and travel costs) and I was pretty much right on. Rent was ₤300 per month, but I didn’t have to pay any utilities, taxes or fees. Here are some typical costs: Baguette sandwich from Sandwichland in the Precinct: ₤2.00 (highly recommended, by the way) Marks & Spencer sandwich: ₤3.00 Bus Fare between Piccadilly Gardens and the University: ₤0.50 - ₤0.90 6 (depending on the time and what the driver thinks of you) Starbucks coffee: ₤2.50 - ₤3.00 Pint of Beer: ₤2.50 - ₤3.50 Bottle of Coke: ₤0.80 - ₤1.00 Text Book: ₤25 - ₤40 Pair of Jeans: ₤30 - ₤50 Sweater - ₤25.00 - ₤45.00 Day pass at the gym: ₤4.00 - ₤5.00 Round trip (called a “return”) train to London: ₤35.00 (with a railcard) EasyJet flight from Liverpool to Amsterdam: approx. ₤100.00 Transportation: A few words of advice on the trains in the UK. If you plan on traveling around the country (or even to London a few times), get a Young Persons Railcard. It is around ₤20, and will get you 1/3 off all train travel. One trip to London and it will pay for itself! If you are a student over the age of 25, you will need to get a form from the travel center (in the Precinct at the school) then have the MBS office stamp it to prove you are a full-time student. If you are under 25 years old, you don’t need to prove you are a student. A few words of advice on the buses in Manchester. There are several different bus companies and they all charge different fares. The Finglands buses were the cheapest. You can get a week unlimited pass for any of the bus companies, but be aware you will have to wait for that particular company bus to stop to use your pass. For example, let’s say you have a Stagecoach pass and are waiting for a bus to go to Piccadilly, if a UK North bus stops, you won’t be able to use your Stagecoach pass. You will either have to pay to ride the UK North bus, or wait until a Stagecoach bus comes along. Make sure you and your friends get passes for the same company! The bus system is GREAT around Manchester, find another student who can give you the basics on how the routes work – learn them, love them, live them. What to Bring and Wear: Pack lightly – you WILL shop and have more to bring back home with you than you left with - fashion is different in England. Rule of Manchester: On any given day you will need both your sunglasses AND your umbrella. Make sure you have an umbrella. Plan on purchasing what you need (I.e. toiletries, hairdryer, alarm clock) when you get there. Don’t rely on your power converters/adapters to work all the time- they won’t. Bring comfortable shoes – you will be walking a lot! I had a great pair of hiking boots I wore traveling. Don’t bring much for business casual dress, and maybe one suit – you won’t need any more than that. However, some clubs don’t allow jeans, so bring something appropriate if you are going out on the town. Make sure you have both a light coat and a heavier winter coat (if you are going fall semester). Did I mention an umbrella? It will rain everyday, I promise! Other Recommendations: Feel free to contact me with any questions, or just to let me know you are going! I had an awesome time, absolutely fantastic. There is so much more I could write, but seven pages, single spaced, is probably enough! Be sure to make friends with the other 7 exchange students as well as the full-time students. Venture out of MBS and out of Manchester. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Learn how to read a city map. Learn how to use public transportation. Get to know your professors – have a pint with them in the MBS bar. Learn to love the computer lab – you will spend most of your time there. TKMaxx is the equivalent to TJMax in the US – shop there for less expensive clothing. Keep a journal to record your experiences and thoughts, and bring your digital camera! Last but not least, have the time of your life! Cheers! Stephanie Peterson email@example.com Cell: 952-239-8282 8