MBA students scale new heights of leadership through mountain sports.

Posted on 27th November 2017

Students had their leadership skills put to the test in the heart of the Welsh countryside as part of their Master of Business Administration studies.

Students taking part in the outdoor challenge
Students taking part in the outdoor challenge

The University of Chester’s Business School teamed up with National Mountain Sports Centre Plas y Brenin to offer a leadership development retreat for its MBA cohort.

The three day study trip saw the group of 13 students take on challenges including mountain walks, climbing, abseiling and mountaineering in the scenic Cym Idwal in Snowdonia.

Tony Ward, Director of the MBA programme, said: “The benefits of using the medium of outdoor activity to explore the principles of leadership and followership, are well known and we wanted to tap into this for our MBA. We also looked at communities of practice, and ethical management.”

Students on the MBA programme in Chester come from all over the world and many have never tried mountain sports, or seen the British mountains, so it offered an exciting and new experience. They enjoyed a low level walk in the Ogwen Valley, indoor climbing and abseiling at the Centre’s indoor wall, as well as mountaineering in Snowdonia.

Tony added: “The students had a really great time. The sports were all pitched at a beginner level with the full support and guidance of the experienced team at Plas y Brenin so the students were not pushed too far out of their comfort zone! 

“The retreat was tailored with pre and post- indoor activities to focus students on what the learning outcomes were for each task and achievement goals were set by personal challenges rather than group challenges, allowing less experienced students the chance to achieve their own goals as well as support group tasks.”

Student feedback on the visit was extremely positive. Student Petrina Lim, from Tawau, Sabah (North East Borneo), Malaysia, said:  “Having the right teammate was important, as it provided encouragement and motivation, tons of laughter and creativeness.

“The Johari’s Window technique that was used during the trip taught me to re-evaluate myself, what I can achieve and how having the right support of people is essential.  And also that I could also be both a leader and a follower.”

Petrina worked in Real Estate Development before joining the MBA programme. She said that the small class sizes at Chester enable her to have her one-to-one interaction with her lecturer who is very approachable. With students from all over the world on her programme she has enjoyed learning about their countries and cultures.

She added that she particularly likes the location of Chester – close to big cities such as Liverpool and Manchester but also near to the North Wales countryside – as well as the culture and history.

The Chester MBA plans future study visits for its next cohort of students and is taking applications to join the course in February or October 2018. To find out more about the Chester MBA visit programme.