MBA students learn high flying strategy on visit to British Airways HQ

A group of current MBA students recently visited the British Airways global Headquarters as part of the Business Life Employability Programme of Brunel Business School. The visit was organised by Dr. Aida Haijro of the Business School. The aim of the visit was to gain a detailed insight into the history and the future challenges facing this leading player in the aviation industry.

British Airways HQ

The British Airways HQ at Waterside is a series of buildings joined together by a glass roof and a few interconnecting walkways to form a complex which has a large enclosed public area. The BA compound included a water feature resembling a running stream, a mini supermarket, and a coffee shop with people on the terrace either sitting on their own with laptops or discussing in small groups. If it’s not for the ubiquitous aviation-themed sculptures and the occasional groups of crew and pilots in uniform walking past, it could be mistaken a mini indoor city rather than a corporate head office.

After a short welcome session students visited the Heritage Centre and were introduced to the fascinating history of British Airways which can be traced back to the early 20th century when civil aviation began. The years that followed saw many changes to the company both in terms of its organisational structure and its aircrafts. Students particularly enjoyed listening to stories about the Concorde, its supersonic glory and the unfortunate end to its legacy.

With an idea of the history of the company in mind, students listened intently to the presentation on British Airways business plan and strategies for delivering its vision for the future: “to be the most admired airline across the world’s key cities.” There was plenty of emphasis on improving the BA brand and further developing customer loyalty.
The presentation was followed by a visit to the Operation Crisis Control Centre (OCIC). The OCIC is a large oval shaped room with two rows of curved tables surrounding a long straight table at the centre, behind which are a few large screens used to show presentations or live camera feeds. It is a location where various departmental Heads of British Airways come together during an emergency to coordinate responses, recovery actions and resources. Answers to questions such as the different types of crises that tend to arise and how they are dealt with helped students understand the true extent of such complex operations.

Lunch was served during a presentation on learning and development strategy. It is a subject of particular interest to students on the Brunel MBA Programme as Brunel Business School is currently collaborating with BA’s HR department on the “Learning Academy” project. It is an initiative that aims to replace training with self-initiated learning as the first step on a journey to becoming a learning organisation. The presentation itself gave students a broad understanding of the project and the Q&A session that followed helped to clarify certain key concepts and approaches. The visit finished in the early afternoon.

Some of our MBA students in British Airways HQ

Students agreed that the trip was extremely interesting and beneficial, particularly for those who have chosen to specialise in Aviation Management.  It has given our students an unprecedented insight into the past, present and future of the aviation giant. Understandably, with increasingly intensified global competition in the market, the future is uncertain, but it is satisfying to know that continued efforts have been made to ensure the organisation stays competitive in the future.

The report has been provided by Xiaolei Guo and Elizabeth Huang, Brunel MBA students.

Prof Jarvis reappointed member of SMEIG

Congratulations to Professor Robin Jarvis of Brunel Business School has been reappointed as a member of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) SME Implementation Group of the IFRS Foundation for a further two-year term ending 30 June 2014.

Prof Jarvis

Prof Jarvis

Professor Jarvis’s current research interest is the process of accounting standard setting, financial reporting for SMEs and Business Support provisions for SMEs.

As stated on its website, the SMEIG has two main responsibilities:

  1. Consider implementation questions raised by users of the IFRS for SMEs, decide which ones merit published implementation guidance, reach a consensus on what that guidance should be, develop proposed guidance in the form of questions and answers (Q&As) that would be made publicly available to interested parties on a timely basis, and request the IASB to approve the Q&As for issue. The Q&As are intended to be non-mandatory guidance that will help those who use the IFRS for SMEs to think about specific accounting questions.
  2. Consider, and make recommendations to the IASB on the need to amend the IFRS:
    (i) for implementation issues that cannot be addressed by Q&As, and
    (ii) for new and amended IFRSs that have been adopted since the IFRS for SMEs was issued or last amended.

Book launch at Brunel Business School

Brunel Business School hosted a lunch party on 17 July to launch the second edition of Business Accounting by Dr Jill Collis, Director of Accounting and Auditing Research Centre, Brunel University, Dr Andrew Holt, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State College of Denver, USA, and Dr Roger Hussey, Dean of Guangzhou International Business School, China. Business Accounting is an accessible, non-technical introduction to financial and management accounting for undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

The event was attended by Professor Zahir Irani, Head of the Business School, Professor Keith Dickson, Acting Head of the Business School and members of staff. Other guests included co-author, Andrew Holt, Martin Drewe, Business Publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, Andrew Curd, Senior Campus Representative South-West, Palgrave Macmillan, and users of the text book in the London area.

Business School’s performance outstanding, says Head of School

Prof Zahir Irani

The University has been delighted to record dramatic improvements across all the major league tables published in the last year. The Business School’s performance is nothing short of outstanding – said Prof Zahir Irani, Head of School.  

Times Higher Education

Brunel University is ranked top in London, 6th in the UK and 35th in the world in the first THE world ranking of the top 100 universities founded in the last 50 years. Brunel performed particularly well with regard to its international outlook, reaching 6th in the world, 3rd in Europe and 2nd in the UK. This performance category measures the international outlook of staff, students and research with Brunel scoring 90 out of a possible 100 points.

the Guardian

Brunel is the biggest climber of any University, jumping from 82nd to 44th place out of 120 institutions in the overall ranking, with 19 of the 22 subject areas ranked higher than in 2011. Brunel Business School climbed 54 places to45th position in the last 12 months. This meteoric rise has happened by way of a clear strategy that is underpinned by a focus on a relevant curriculum that supports student employability, positive student experience and engaged academic staff. The future represents a challenge for the Higher Education sector, with BBS committed to maximizing students’ employability through its Business Life programme, by providing an intensive programme of professional events that run in parallel with academic studies.

The National Student Survey

Brunel is the UK’s most improved university for student satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey for 2011. We now feature amongst the top 5 Universities in London for student satisfaction. The Business School’s contribution to this result has been significant with the overall satisfaction rising from 66% to 85%. The impact of our success has seen the Business School rise to 29th position out of 94 UK Business Schools in 2011, from 89th position out of 93 UK Business Schools in 2010.

The Good University Guide

An improvement of 77 places for student satisfaction elevates Brunel to 17th in the UK, and marks a jump from the bottom to the upper quartile in just one year. The University jumps 8 places to 43rd overall. Business subjects ranking climbed by 21 places to 45th position in UK.

The Complete University Guide

Brunel is 41st overall out of 116 institutions, up nine places since 2011 in the biggest positive rank move amongst all last year’s top 50 universities. There are also significant rank improvements in Business Studies, as Business School climbs to 32nd position from 50th last year. 

The Sunday Times University Guide

Published in September 2011, the latest Sunday Times ranking sees Brunel climb 10 places to 39th out of 122 institutions. There are significant improvements as Brunel Business School climbs 50 places for Management and 20 places for Business, putting us in the upper quartile of UK Universities.