MBA students prepare for their Business Tour. Destination – India!

Professor Ashley Braganza, the Director of Business Life and a truly motivational force, met with MBA students in a recent class session to prepare them for the next international business tour. Five students will be selected to travel to India where they will meet heads of top level corporations and small not-for profit organisations. This will enable students to truly understand different sectors of the Indian market – a booming, globally significant economy.

Read a moving student report from last year’s International Business Tour here: MBA Students learn a humbling lesson on Business Tour to India

Students being their International Tour at the Gateway to India in Mumbai

Making Growth Happen: Meeting of Industry, Academia and Students

Brunel Business School recently hosted an annual Capstone event: ‘Making Growth Happen – What can be done to achieve an authentically sustainable economic growth?’ under the umbrella of Business Life: Employability Programme.

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Flavia de Facendis, an MBA student who took part in the event this year, writes:

The Eastern Gateway, Brunel Business School’s brand new building, was an ideal venue to host ‘Making Growth Happen – What can be done to achieve an authentically sustainable economic growth?’, where industry representatives, academics and students were able to share their experiences and develop collaborative ideas.

After a welcome from the Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Jenks, high profile business leaders delivered engaging presentations about growth and sustainability.  A diverse range of organisations were represented, from the Confederation of British Industry, to British Airports and Telefonica. The property and development company Cathedral Group were also present, as were the environmental management consultancy Giraffe Innovation.  The challenging and thought-provoking ideas of Brunel’s newly appointed Professor of Contemporary Thought, Will Self, concluded the speeches and the first part of this event.  To find out more about Will Self’s involvement with Brunel, read here.

The second section of the event comprised of contributions from all of the attendees, focusing on collaboration between participants: business leaders, academics and students worked together to produce a call for action.  The participants were encouraged to identify a definitive Ten Point Plan for enabling a sustainable business growth.

The afternoon ended with a valuable networking opportunity for the students to engage with industry professionals.  One of the students attending, Sayantan Das, commented:

‘The event was a great networking platform for the business students and a great occasion for us to meet delegates from various industry sectors.  I have interacted with some interesting people in my discussion group and created contacts that will be useful in my job search.’

Work Placement Mentor Scheme Launched

The Work Placement Mentor Scheme for 2012-13 launched this November. Organised by Michelle Kavan from the Placement and Career Centre, Alex Sedgwick and Fintan Clear from Brunel Business School, the students took part in a ‘Speed Networking’ event that was a key part of the launch. Having received counselling training from Beverley Crooks, the mentors (Level 3 students who have completed placements) were able to pass on a host of tips to a select group of mentees (Level 2 students intending on getting a placement).

In a lively session mentees were informed about the need to:

  • think in terms of quality rather than quantity when making applications
  • apply only for jobs that genuinely interest them
  • tailor an application to the needs of the job as indicated in adverts, job descriptions and company websites
  • plan job seeking as an activity in balance with coursework and exam preparation
  • rather than respond immediately to a request for an interview by phone, ask the interviewer to ring back so that they have time to put things aside and to focus properly on the job in question
  • try not to get demotivated when the inevitable rejection letters come in – get feedback if possible and learn from the experience
  • it is a myth that all the good placement jobs are taken early in the year – one student who started looking in October 2011 only found her fantastic placement opportunity in July 2012

Quite apart from the serious teaching and learning going on, everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.

To find out more about placement opportunities, please talk to Michelle ( and Reay Elliott ( in the Placement and Careers Centre.

MBA vs Specialist Masters – a choice that will decide on your future career.

Prof Francesco Moscone from Brunel Business School gives his view on the choices faced by candidates wishing to pursue Postgraduate Study in the area of Business and Management.

MBAs and specialist Masters have many strengths and similarities, and they differ in several aspects, including contents, students’ experience, and projected career paths.

Essentially, an MBA is a ‘post-experience’ qualification in general management, although some business schools may offer specialist MBA programmes in areas such as aviation and health care. The aim of an MBA is to offer students a holistic overview of how a business works, covering all major functions and practices of a business. As a result, MBA graduates will acquire theoretical and applied knowledge of several core subjects including marketing, international business, entrepreneurship and human resources.  One of the strengths of an MBA is fostering organisation, persuasion, leadership ad team-building skills as well as skills for innovation which are needed to expand career prospects, and tackle the most difficult issues facing businesses and societies. The plurality of students’ professional backgrounds is another key benefit as they may profit from networking with their peers. 

Specialist Master programmes are designed for people in the early stages of their career; immediately after their undergraduate degree or after one/two years on the job. These courses focus more on the theoretical side of the management field than the MBA, equipping students with more specialist knowledge.  A student may opt for a specialised Master if she is more interested in acquiring specific skills required by the industry.

From a pedagogical point of view, although some Masters cover the similar material as the MBA, they have a different teaching style which is more lecture-based. MBAs, in contrast, tend to focus on teamwork, business case studies, and the exchange of individual experience.

In this period of economic downturn investing in a post graduate management course is worthwhile, as the need for well-educated and internationally-oriented graduates will not cease or decrease in the long-term.

As people leave jobs in industries as a result of the economic crisis, an MBA is a unique opportunity for ambitious leaders to secure a better management position. A specialist Master is a worthwhile investment in order to stand out in a demanding and competitive job market.

Professor Francesco Moscone is the Director of the Brunel MBA programme and the former head of the Centre of Research into Entrepreneurship, International Business in Emerging Markets. He has previously worked at the University of Leicester, University of Cambridge, and London School of Economics (LSE). He has held visiting scholar positions at University of California-Berkeley, University Pompeu Fabra, and LSE. He has worked as health economist for the National Collaborating Centre for Women and Children’s Health, and the National Agency for Regional Health Services (Rome, Italy). He is principal investigator on an ESRC (UK government funding) first research grant entitled “Statistical Modelling of Interdependence in Economics”. Additionally he is co-investigator for the grant “Economic Performance and Quality of Life in European Cities” awarded by the Economics Education and Research Consortium. Francesco is also a co-investigator for the grant “Development of new indicators to assess research within scientific areas” awarded by the European Social Fund. Additionally Francesco co investigates a major EU grant entitled “Biopool- Services associated to digitalise contents of tissues in Biobanks across Europe”.

He is associate editor of the journal Economic Modelling and a Member of ESRC Peer Review College.

University applicants get a crash course in success on Brunel Business Boot Camp

Brunel Business School will be organising two Business Boot Camp events in February and April for high achieving applicants following the success of the fully booked event last year. The Business Boot Camp event at Brunel Business School is an exclusive event for candidates who are predicted to achieve AAB grades or above, or an overseas equivalent, holding an offer to pursue their Business Degree in Brunel University. Eligible candidates will be receiving a personal invitation from the Head of School, Prof Zahir Irani, directly.

The Business Boot Camp is a three day, residential event, with free accommodation and food on campus for all participants. The number of participants is limited to 40 per event.  This interactive event will offer participants an opportunity to:

  • Engage within a stimulating learning environment
  • Be exposed to the latest business thinking
  • Develop aptitude and critical thinking skills
  • Be exposed to motivational speakers such as “Meet the Apprentice” Saira Khan, as seen on TV
  • Participate in business simulation games
  • Network with other high achieving applicants
  • Experience what it’s like being a University student before actually going to a University
  • Get a taste of Brunel Business Life Employability Programme

The School received recognition for its innovative approach to giving prospective students a taste of life in a university in the national press, but more importantly the event was a major success with the participants themselves. Here are some of their testimonials:

Sana Ali

I attended the Business Boot Camp because of the incredible opportunities on offer and the chance to gain knowledge and inspiration from professionals, entrepreneurs and staff at Brunel was too good to turn down. I was able to gain skills that I can carry with me throughout my time at Brunel, attaining my degree and preparing for life afterwards. I was also able to get a better insight into the life at Brunel University as I got the chance to stay on campus. In doing this I was able to start great friendships with others at the Boot Camp, and they made the experience all the better. The session with Saira Khan and the guest speaker at the Dinner in particular were very useful and insightful, adding an entrepreneurial atmosphere to the days spent at Brunel. The experience as a whole greatly influenced my choice in attending Brunel for my Business Management degree and I would definitely recommend that anyone interested in business study should attend. The Boot Camp itself has done a lot in helping me realise business is the route which I would like to take for the rest of my studies and career. I’m proud to have been part of the first group of people to attend.

Kishan Patel

The reason I attended the Business Boot Camp was to get an idea of what this university is like, what it offers in terms of academic and job prospects further down the line and to generally get a feel for the university life on campus. I got a great deal out of this experience including a lot of interesting information on the specific business courses available and what excellent opportunities I would encounter, as well as the skills I could learn from attending this university. With all expenses paid, this is truly an experience that will put you ahead of peers come September (fresher’s week!). Two sessions that are etched in my memory is the session with Saira Khan, who highlighted the importance of making the most out of your opportunities and standing out from the crowd. The second session which I found extremely useful was the Markstrat Business game we took part in, which actually helps us in our course when we start. This enabled me to make Brunel a firm choice because I realised that the course here offered practical as well as theoretical learning experience. Overall I would strongly suggest to any potential applicant to make the most of this opportunity as you will develop your networking skills and get an insider’s experience as to how great Brunel really is!

Omer Duman

I was at a point with Business Studies where I was gradually beginning to lose passion with the subject and had serious thoughts about not progressing onto university. I can now honestly say that the Boot Camp changed my opinion in that short space of time! I attended the course as it appeared to me to be a challenge. It was a chance to compete against Brunel’s best applicants and I wanted to experience the so called ‘Uni experience’. The challenge was a great learning curve and a general life experience as I came in with a view of stereotyping everyone, but was pleasantly surprised by other applicant’s achievements and how other applicant’s aspirations actually inspired me. As boring as it may sound, the talks were the highlight for me as I felt great respect for most of the guest speakers because they were talking through experience: they simply proved anything is possible in the world of business. You do not get college teachers who have worked their way up to be millionaires, do you? With this event Brunel are not trying to sell the Uni to you, but give you a life experience.

Edward Ledwith

My decision to attend the Brunel Boot Camp was based on a combination of my interest in studying business operations and the University life as a whole. Using specialist marketing strategy games during the Boot Camp really brought the theory of marketing to life, not just taking into consideration the obvious factors such as advertising but the market direction itself. In addition to the marketing skills learnt, we attended talks on specific aspects, such as voice coaching and how to effectively present to an audience: creating the overall business package you would expect any successful business person to master.
Business is an easy thing to teach in theory; however hearing it from people who have put that theory into practice and had a great success, such as Saira Khan, really becomes a motivational force. In addition to the academic benefits the camp offered, the friendships I made with people on the camp have continued and many of them are now reading the same course at University. I felt that having a crash course in success, which the camp turned out to be, really ignited a flame inside me.

For more information about Brunel Business Boot Camp please visit: or contact Sharon Coote on

Who inspires our academics?

Professor Ruth Simpson, Director of Research and Deputy Head of School in Brunel Business School, talks of her role model – Betty Friedan:

For me one person stands out who was inspirational and that was Betty Friedan who published a feminist book: The Feminine Mystique in 1963 – and which I didn’t actually read until much later when I was a mother with young children. The book spoke to me about my experiences up til that time – at university especially where I encountered a level of sexism that had not been present at my (all girls’) school and which I had found shocking and difficult to manage. The book looked at the ‘mystique’ of femininity, contrasting this with the reality of many women’s lives (she interviewed housewives – a largely invisible group). Many women (including myself) felt that as a result of the book they had a language on which to hang their discontent and their experiences of sexism. She is credited with helping to ‘kick-start’ the feminist movement at the time. As some of you may know, I have been a feminist ever since.


Prof Ruth Simpson is Professor of Management at Brunel Business School. She has a background in Economics and Organization Studies and for several years specialised in teaching economics to MBA students. She has taught Economics and Social Science at the Open University and has external examining experience in Human Resource Management. She is currently teaching Management and Gender and Organization. She has published widely in her research area of Management Education and Gender and Organizations, including the Academy of Management (Learning and Education) Journal, Human Relations and Work Employment and Society. She is a member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies (CREWES) and is co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Work Organization and Emotion.

Prof Simpson is a member of the Work and Organisation Research Centre. Members of WORC undertake applied research into all aspects of performance in the workplace, individual well-being and performance, and Human Resources Management in its broadest sense. Using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, our work investigates current and pressing issues in performance at three levels of analysis – the individual, the workteam, and the wider organisation. We publish in top-tier outlets internationally, advise organisations in partnership, and seek to generate innovative scientific understanding and professional practice in a diverse set of areas of work performance.

WORC has four main areas of research:

  • HRM
  • Performance at Work
  • Social Identity
  • Organisational Processes


Who inspires our academics?

Dr Grahame Fallon, Course Leader MSc Management, Brunel Business School writes of his role model- Mikhail Gorbachev: 

Mihail Gorbachev became leader of the former Soviet Union in 1985. This country suffered from an outdated and inefficient economy, no free speech and the widespread repression of dissidents. He attempted far-reaching political and economic reforms through glasnost and perestroika. These programmes failed, but Gobachev’s actions led to the break up of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the spread of capitalism and democracy throughout Eastern Europe. These events inspired my enduring teaching and research interests in Russia, Eastern Europe and the postcommunist world.

 Dr Grahame Fallon has recently been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in International Business in Brunel Business School. His duties will include that of being MSc in Management Course Director.  He has been working in an academic capacity in higher education since 1984, having held lecturing posts in international business and related subjects at Glamorgan, UWIC and Northampton universities, as well as a range of external examiner roles .  Dr Fallon’s most recent post before joining Brunel was that of Principal Lecturer in International Business at the University of Northampton, where he carried out an extensive range of managerial (as well as teaching and research) duties, including the management of taught postgraduate programmes across the School and the coordination of work-related, extra-curricular activities for postgraduate students.

Dr Fallon is involved in academic research in the international business field, where his main focus is on the causes and economic effects of inward and outward foreign direct investment in the EU, Eastern Europe, Russia and China. He is also actively involved in research into the links between business activity and peace building in Europe and East Asia. He has submitted and had accepted a range of academic papers to international scholarly journals including Regional Studies and the European Business Review. He is also active in a range of academic networks, including the UK and Irish Academy of International Business and the Managing Economic Transition network (based at University College London). He has carried out research work with colleagues at a university in Moscow with whom he has published joint papers focusing on economic transition and inward investment in Russia.

Prof Ruth Simpson publishes a book on Emotions in Transmigration

We are pleased to report that Prof Ruth Simpson from Brunel Business School published another book this year called Emotions in Transmigration. It is co-authored with Prof Ann Brooks from University of California, Berkeley.

This book explores the intersection of emotions and migration in a number of case studies from across the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia, including the transmigration of female domestic workers, female workers in the service industries, transmigrant marriages, transmigrant workers in the entertainment industry and asylum seekers and refugees who have experienced violence. Migration is an intensely emotive event in people’s everyday lives, yet the study of migration has, to date, overlooked this aspect – this book fills that gap. It brings the study of emotions together with the study of migration for the first time. The interrelationship of geographical and emotional spaces of nation, identity and emotions are examined as they intersect in a complex framing of a raft of emotions characterized by trauma, grief, guilt, love, violence and rage. Emotions in Transmigration provides theoretical analysis and empirical examples of the intersection of emotions and transmigration in relation to movement, transformation and identity in the context of the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Prof Simpson is a Professor of Management and Deputy Head of School (Deputy Head, Research) for Brunel Business School. She has a background in Economics and Organization Studies and for several years specialised in teaching economics to MBA students. She has taught Economics and Social Science at the Open University and has external examining experience in Human Resource Management. She is currently teaching Management and Gender and Organization. She has published widely in her research area of Management Education and Gender and Organizations, including the Academy of Management (Learning and Education) Journal, Human Relations and Work Employment and Society. She is a member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies (CREWES) and is co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Work Organization and Emotion.