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One of the core classes on the programme: Marketing Management, finished on Friday 8th. As part of our on-going engagement with industry, two senior marketers made presentations to the group on their experiences in their respective industries.

The Global Director for Branding with Edrington (the drinks company), Asanka De Silva, outlined the approach used by his company to manage the brand portfolio. This generated some useful discussion and debate.

Stephen Speirs: Senior Manager, Product Management, with Cisco, discussed the rationale behind Cisto’s strategy with respect to product development and management in a business-to-business environment.

In common with the other core classes on our MBA, we finished with a Friday Forum. This involves a senior industrialist spending a day with the class. The class works in groups on a specific problem or issue that is facing the industrialist. This allows the groups to engage in a realistic way with a live business / marketing issue.

This year, we were delighted to welcome Iain MacRitchie to Strathclyde Business School. Iain is a serial entrepreneur and specialises in turning around companies that require rapid change, growth or development. He was recently recognised with the award of the UK’s Turnaround Professional of the Year award and Private Company Turnaround of the year. He is Chairman of the Institute for Turnaround, has sat as a member of the 3i plc’s Chairman’s Board and advises a number of other PE houses, Banks and Hedge Funds. Leisure time is taken up by a passion for sport and his Charitable Foundation established with a perpetual 10% of profits. The Foundation is focused on providing advice, support and capital for education and welfare initiatives in deprived inner city areas. Glasgow is currently a major focus with multiple education projects helping to realise the full potential of children under social work supervision.

Iain presented a case to the class which revolved around the challenges that he faced in turning around a brand that he acquired a couple of years previously called Maximuscle. He led a buy-out of this brand, revamped it and subsequently sold it for £162 million in 2011.

The groups worked on the case during the morning and made short presentations to Iain in the afternoon. This generated some very interesting discussion and Iain spent over forty minutes giving feedback and advice to the groups.

By common consent, the MBA class expressed the view that this provided them with an insightful and stimulating learning experience. This type of activity in my view is what a good MBA is all about. Students address the theories and concept in class, but more importantly they are exposed to key challenges facing senior decision-makers in industry and gain valuable insights into how successful entrepreneurs like Iain operate.

Iain MacRitchie