The programme has been developed against a background of an increasingly tight and highly competitive UK and European labour market which has resulted in growing graduate unemployment. Hence its development is seen as extremely timely. However, the rationale behind the development of this innovative, experiential learning-based programme is not simply concerned with responding to the current adverse economic conditions, but is one that fits well with the longer term move toward a greater emphasis on embedding employability skills and competencies with postgraduate programmes. This new Business Master's programme will also equip individuals with a range of highly marketable and up to date management skills.
The Course Structure and Content
The Programme will provide this mix of knowledge, skills and competency development through a structure that combines two period of intensive of university-based study, with two extended supervised paid work placement projects (approximately 20 weeks each) based in business organisations across the region. During the placements, participants will not only gain invaluable work experience, but will also complete a defined business consultancy project for the company in question. The proposed structure of the route is shown in the diagram below.
The Chester Business Masters Programme will be taught on an intensive basis by staff from the University’s Business School. The modules that comprise the programme are outlined briefly as follows:
Skills and Approaches for Work Based Learning
This module provides an intellectual toolkit for work-based learners and aims to ensure that students possess the skills of planning and reflective practice applicable to experiential learning at work, and for understanding the workplace as a site for learning and professional development more generally. The module is intended to increase students’ awareness of issues to consider when learning through work, and to prepare them to take an active part in negotiating experiential and work-based projects, together with associated learning agreements. It introduces a range of approaches, techniques and audit tools designed to enhance understanding of the self, and of others, in the workplace.
International Business Environment
This module is intended to provide insights and an understanding of the international business environment and economy, exploring the influence of political, cultural, economic , legal , social, ecological, technological factors that help shape and influence the global and domestic business environment. The module will also explore the nature and different interpretations of globalisation and its consequences, examines regional economic integration and cooperation; and builds an understanding of the factors driving regional and international competitiveness.
Designing Practitioner Research
This module aims to help participants develop and enhance work based/related research and evidence-based working practices. Practitioners will clearly define a personal, group, professional and/or organisational area for development, and design a practitioner-research proposal, which will provide the basis for further action. The design will consider issues of validity and ethics, as appropriate to the context and constraints of a single researcher (normally) situated and embedded within the workplace.
Triple Negotiated Experiential Learning (The Placement Project Modules) Module
These two modules are designed to enhance the student’s workplace experience and provides a framework for accreditation of experiential learning activities undertaken in the context of the workplace. In the case of this route, students will undertake a specific negotiated project for the placement organisation that may focus on a specific area of learning, but which may also involve engagement with a wide range of work activities. For the individual student, the module offers the opportunity to engage in innovative and strategic developments for the organisation as part of his/her work role, and in so doing, enhance the work of the placement organisation. From an organisational perspective, it will provide the opportunity for an independent and objective examination of some aspect of the organisation’s operations that hitherto it may have been impossible to find the time to review. The programme team will review all placement project ‘briefs’ to help ensure the broad comparability of projects.