Athabasca University Online Executive MBA Students in UK

July 12, 2001

Students in Athabasca University’s Online Executive MBA program are converging in England to strengthen their “virtual” relationships and learn about doing business in Europe.

After working together online, the students (managers and professionals from around the globe) are meeting face-to-face, many for the first time, at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. They are participating in a range of summer school studies, much of which is inspired by the goings-on within the European Union.

The students will visit the UK Houses of Parliament and receive a presentation on Britain’s role within the European community by Bill Rammell, Labour Member of Parliament for Harlow and Chair of the Labour Parliamentary Group on Europe. They will visit Xerox’s research facilities in Cambridge where they will look at the latest developments in collaboration technologies. Other lecture topics include European developments in manufacturing, financial services and human resources. Daily trips to business facilities or government offices will reinforce what is learned in class. Group project work punctuates the intensive learning experience and, of course, no trip to the UK would be complete without a team-building exercise at an authentic British pub.

Besides Canada and the UK, the students hail from such far-flung places as Germany, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United States. During the school, they are constructing publicly accessible web pages that provide a range of advice and resources on doing business in the UK and Europe. The pages created by the students on last year’s program are available online.

Colonel Norris Pettis, Canada’s Defence Attach in the Middle East, is one of the students based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “In the MBA online I work with students worldwide everyday. The online environment gives me access to a wide range of practical knowledge of how business and other organisations work around the globe.”

“The internet technology these students use in their studies is also spawning an unprecedented surge of global business collaboration,” said Dr. Peter Carr, Associate Director of the Centre for Innovative Management at Athabasca University. “The economic benefits of improved trade relations and the potential for increased international cooperation are valuable spin-offs of the AU Online Executive MBA program.”

Quote from Athabasca University’s Online Executive MBA Student:

“I love that I learn when I’m at my best, not when the clock says I have to! Tuesday night, I started down to work and wasn’t into it. So I stopped. On Wednesday night I was more into learning, so I did lots of work. Had this been a traditional classroom- I would have skipped the Tuesday night lecture and missed the material. Hey, I think we’re getting a better bang for our buck! Do you know what else I like? We’re not prejudiced by each other’s appearances- fat, thin, young, old, black, brown, white, ugly, beautiful- the only thing we’ve got to go on is each other’s knowledge. I’m respected (or not respected) for what I say and what I think, not what I look like. It’s really tough for that to happen face- to- face.” Gordon Matchett, AU Executive MBA Student, Edmonton, Canada