Case study

MBA student — Keiran Hinchcliffe

Local government manager, Keiran, has returned to Edge Hill University to undertake a part-time MBA. He talks about how the degree is impacting on his work life

Why did you choose this Masters degree and university?

I wanted to complete a Level 7 qualification for my own personal growth and continuing professional development. I’d previously studied for a Certificate of Higher Education at Edge Hill University and enjoyed my time, so naturally looked there for MBA options. The course was described to me as being for people who were aspiring to become managers and that matched where I was in my career at the time.

I also needed to be able to study part time to balance around my work and family life. I had looked at distance learning options, however, I thought that actively learning and attending lectures and seminars at Edge Hill would be more enjoyable. Also, the campus is absolutely stunning, it is impressive and really inspires you by enhancing the study environment.

Tell us a little about your job…

I am the senior licensing officer at Trafford Council in Manchester. I'm responsible for the supervision of staff and the day-to-day running of the licensing office. We authorise premises, vehicles and people, so that might be licenses for alcohol, late night refreshment, gambling and taxis. I also coordinate enforcement, supervising the investigation of complaints and reporting and giving evidence at committees, public hearings and court proceedings. Our main priority is the safety of the people of Trafford.

How are your studies helping your work life?

Some of the modules really reflect and impact on how I'm working. For example, I'm currently reading a module on human resources which looks at how different strategies are used to progress an organisation. At work I've recently been tasked with addressing a backlog in taxi driver licence applications. There are political reasons in the macroenvironment which have contributed to that backlog but there are also improvements that can be made in the microenvironment.

I've focused on the strategic human resources aspect by hiring new officers and have set about creating 'loyal soldiers', encouraging staff in their own personal development and fostering a commitment to progressing the service. I've modelled an intrapreneurial change-up strategy to encourage improvements in the service and have accessed resources at a corporate level to address the backlog, all of which is having the desired result.

It is not just that one module that has had a positive impact at Trafford Council. We're also doing work on innovation, strategic decision making and business strategies which have real significance for how licencing is being run here; reducing administration, increasing efficiency, introducing technological innovation and improving processes. My work in licensing is not about making a profit, it's about providing a service, and that is being directly backed up by this MBA with such a strong focus on business strategy. 

Who is this course for?

Nearly all the modules have a strategy element, so even if you aren't in a strategic role at the moment it gives you the knowledge you need for future high-level decision making. The course is also quite broad and provides a real breadth of business knowledge so would benefit people who are looking to be business change analysts or move into middle management, whether in the private or public sector. 

Which other career paths would benefit from this MBA?

In my cohort there were a lot of recent graduates who had just completed their business degrees as well as mature students who had real-life experience. Some, like me, were given places based on their experiential learning, so don't be put off applying for this course if you are a mature student. It is hard work at this level, but the long-term gains make it worth the effort - after all, if it does not challenge you, then it will not change you.

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