Chief executives speaking at free business school events

31 May 2012 By Northern Lights

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Where should businesses focus their efforts to be competitive and grow in the current tough economy?  How do you maximise the assets in your business and what skills do your management team need?

Keith Williams, chief executive of British Airways and Neil Gaydon former chief executive of Pace are giving their views at a series of free evening events in Leeds, Manchester, Bradford, Newcastle and Sheffield from 12 – 29 June.  The Leeds event is 4 – 6pm; others are 7 – 9pm.

Bradford University School of Management, ranked the North’s top business school by the Financial Times, is hosting the events to launch its new Executive MBA, which they have re-engineered to meet the changing needs of business.

Neil Gaydon, who grew Pace from $250m to $2.3bn over six years, says:  “Managers and executive teams have to be more creative than ever. Anyone who thinks they can rely on what they’ve always done before is leading their business into failure.”

He believes it is critical for businesses to link their strategy, business structure and culture:  “The clever and tough part is joining these three, which takes real effort and commitment.

“Too often businesses rely solely on strategy as the most important element – and the strategies are fragmented.  As an example, one part of the business has focused on growth in China, another on driving new technologies.  The strategy must work as a cohesive whole, across the entire organisation.”

He says that businesses need progressive thinking and new management skills:  “It is just not enough to be, say, a fantastic operational director or sales director.  Every senior manager needs to be completely aware of the strategy, financially astute, a team player and sharper and more flexible than they have ever been.

“Business schools have to change as well.  I’ve been impressed at how Bradford University School of Management has gone back to the drawing board on its Executive MBA to refocus its programme.   We all have to change our thinking, sharpen our skills and exploit new markets – you can still be successful in tough economies.”

Dr Sarah Dixon, Dean of Bradford University School of Management, said:  “Our MBA is now based around long weekend blocks every six weeks.  Working with business leaders, we have refocused the content for today’s challenging markets – including an international study trip.  Students will cover big picture thinking, leadership, innovation and creativity to using financial information to map strategy and measure success.”

To book a free place at the events go to

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Written by Northern Lights