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UK creatives launch Executive MBA

January 28, 2016

By Colin Mann

Ashridge Executive Education, supported by industry skills body Creative Skillset and Lord Puttnam’s education company, Atticus Education, have launched a new Executive MBA for the Creative Industries.

The programme is scheduled to start in October 2016 and has been developed with the strong creative input of Oscar-winning British film producer and educator, David Puttnam, and his organisation, Atticus Education, with advice from senior industry leaders including the Creative Skillset Board Member and Chief Executive of Channel 4, David Abraham.

The Executive MBA will be delivered online over two years with three weeks of residential face-to-face tuition taking place at Ashridge, based just north of London and an additional international business week overseas. It has been created specifically for those already working in a creative business or those looking to make a transition into the sector.

As part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment to increasing diversity and social mobility within the creative industries, it will fund six bursaries for the EMBA – two per year across three two-year programmes. The bursaries will enable those who otherwise would not be able to fund their own placement to participate in the Creative Industries Executive MBA.

Puttnam said it was “essential” that the creative industries are led by people who can skilfully and knowledgeably navigate companies through the challenges of the digital era.

“As the figures released by Government this week show, the Creative Industries are a hugely important and growing part of the UK’s economy – and so it’s vital that we are investing in a future generation of industry leaders with the launch of the Executive MBA,” stated Abraham. “I’m particularly pleased that by establishing six bursaries, Channel 4 is able to further support social mobility within the media and creative sector.”

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said the creative industries were one of the UK’s greatest success stories. “Growing at almost twice the rate of the wider economy, they now contribute £84 billion a year to the UK. Our nation has an incredibly strong track record for producing creative talent, but we need to make sure that the industry is nurturing future leaders with a strong and strategic business acumen as well. This new MBA is aimed at doing exactly that, and its launch is fantastic news for our creative industries.”

Maintaining creativity while excelling at management are at the core of this important new Executive MBA. It helps realise a key objective of the Employer Ownership Pilot, which is to deliver an integrated management, leadership and business skills plan to help the growth and productivity of the creative industries.

This Executive MBA has been designed by world-ranked, triple accredited Ashridge Executive Education with the expertise and contributions of an Advisory Board of senior level professionals from the creative industries, and two experienced industry partners: Atticus Education and Creative Skillset. It is for those looking to gain the strategic skills and vision required to respond to global and digital markets. Students will learn how to balance the demands of creating a culture of creative excellence alongside the demands of a commercial enterprise.

Research from Creative Skillset concluded that many senior professionals lack the management and strategic skills needed to shape and lead businesses in the creative industries; many are driven by short-term goals which hamper long-term strategic planning and business growth. If the UK is to maintain its position as a world leader in the Creative Industries, the learning and development of managers and leaders needs to be drastically improved.

Students will learn a range of skills through 12 subjects including innovation, operations management, creating strategic value, developing sustainable business practice, leadership, finance and managing globally. The Executive MBA will also address the ‘Five tensions of creative leadership’ – commercial constraints v creative freedom, fear of failure v appetite for risk, competition v collaboration, automation v craft skills and long term v short term.

The course features a series of talks by leading creative industry managers, practitioners and commentators to provide students with further insight into leading in the creative sector. Students will benefit from working with and networking amongst their own peers, allowing them to gain transferable skills across the whole sector.

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