Networking is an art. For all the disruptions in business today, making and utilizing contacts remains a core part of business practice. The reason is simple: having a pool of contacts and information at your fingertips is how you win jobs, improve products or services and increase customer retention.
The tricky thing, however, is that it really isn’t easy. We can’t all be a suave schmoozer or social butterfly, one who can walk into a room and approach all the people who can help them accomplish all the great things they’re aspiring towards. You need more than just great social skills, also needing a suite of critical thinking skills if you’re going to be good at this.
Bedfordshire Business School has a strategy for producing fearless business graduates who can do this and more, offering an academic background that holds a strong focus on critical thinking and state-of-the-art facilities to foster international connections.
A business education that puts critical thinking first
The county of Bedfordshire may be steeped in history, but this business school’s education philosophy is anything but antiquated. Its emphasis on critical thinking – a core skill as we head into the Fourth Industrial Revolution – is evident in the school’s mission, which is “To develop creative mindsets that practise intelligently and lead imaginative futures for our campuses, communities and cities.”
Its achievements prove the success of this mission; nearly two-thirds of its research in business and management is ‘recognised internationally’ in the 2008 Research Assessment. The University of Bedfordshire has also earned a place in the Times Higher Education (THE) annual World University rankings for the second consecutive year, ranked at 67 out of 130 universities in the UK.*
Alum Karina Kanayeva (MSc Marketing and Business Management, 2009) is now Head of the Claims Handling Unit at the Eurasian Bank JSC in her home country Kazakhstan. She credits her Bedfordshire education for giving her the ability to solve problems, communicate effectively and cross-cultural barriers.
“At the University I became an active team player and developed my communication skills through many presentations that helped me build confidence. In addition to that, I’ve become more creative, learned to work under pressure and manage my time effectively,” she explains.
High-concept facilities = High student satisfaction rates
If a forward-looking education philosophy is at the heart Bedfordshire Business, then its state-of-the-art facilities is the body that makes it all possible.
This is where big ideas find a nurturing home. Where students not only learn but engage. Where more than 5,000 students on campus can form valuable connections with more than one hundred professors, scholars, practitioners and fellows.
The decision to invest heavily in facilities that can positively shape a physical and intellectual learning environment comes easy to Bedfordshire Business.
Today, its campus hosts Business Pods, where first-years can work in groups on a series of real business problems in specially created teaching spaces designed like modern office spaces. This means students get brainstorming and boardroom areas as well as an IT suite that brings the school’s active curriculum to life.
One student said: “It is a great experience working in the pods, learning and using skills that we need in real-life situations, gaining confidence in doing presentations, and learning how to make teams work. It has changed my way of thinking.”
Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters facility is where postgraduate students studying accounting and finance-related units, can get trading information for all listed companies around the world.
With essential news, data, analytics, commentary and insights in one place, students have a one-stop centre to use in their case studies on companies and for building students’ portfolio of investment.
Nearby at Luton and towering five-storey high is the university’s purpose-built postgraduate and continuing professional development (CPD) centre.
It’s an exciting new construction with 64 percent of space entirely dedicated to teaching – including two Harvard-style lecture theatres – and the rest to social and support areas.
Over 120 computers are available for postgraduate student use, including iMacs, on all communal areas on each floor. There’s also a fully-equipped games room, complete with pool table, foosball table, a tennis table and even an Xbox.
Richard O’Halloran, Manager of the Postgraduate and CPD Centre, says: “Our aim here is to be a one-stop shop for a postgraduate student.”
The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) released July this year demonstrate that these facilities really work. More than four out of five of final year students are satisfied with this university, placing it firmly in the top half of higher education providers when rated by student satisfaction.
The results place the university in the top 25 for most improved in overall satisfaction over a three and five-year period – ranked 22nd and 21st respectively (2018 compared to 2015 and 2013).
Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell says: “We are delighted to have received this good news today. It comes at a time when more and more students are asking questions about value for money and where tuition fees go.”
“Our results show that we are bucking the trend in the sector with overall student satisfaction falling by one percent while we have climbed. Our students are able to see the investment we are making in our facilities, in our library resources, in our IT facilities and in the support we provide to our students.”