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Launching the first art school MBA

This week, Birkbeck and Central Saint Martins celebrated an innovative new collaboration with the launch of their joint MBA programme.

The 18-month part-time programme will challenge some of the orthodoxies of the traditional business school approaches, in order to create a new kind of business graduate: one who wants to break the mould, to be creatively disruptive and contribute with new ideas that are converted to actionable contributions – one who is concerned with people, and planet as well as profit.

Birkbeck and Central Saint Martins have combined their complementary strengths to create this ambitious new programme for those people who are looking for a different type of degree that is both individual and practical.

Cecilia Weckstrom, Global Head of Environmental Responsibility Engagement at the LEGO Group, addressed the launch, saying: “It is possible for business to spring from a creative idea, in fact all creative ideas have the capacity to become a business. However, the connection between creativity and innovation is often the stumbling block for those who cannot marry them together. They consider the two areas as silos, distinct and different from one another.

The Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA programme represents an exclusive marrying of these two areas and I will watch with excitement for the rewards these students will reap from the wonderfully unique approach taken by these institutions.”

Pamela Yeow, Director of the Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA, said:“The MBA course has a radical approach embedded in its philosophy. The course leaders will be encouraging research, not just in the academic sense, but in terms of talking to clients and participants; and they will be encouraging prototyping new ideas and the application of new ideas almost immediately. This is very much part of the design thinking approach we’re taking with this MBA.

Both Birkbeck and Central Saint Martins individually offer an outstanding array of speakers, lecturers, academics, practitioners and companies. Through the collaboration of both institutions, we are confident that we can find even more exciting, more innovative, and more creative solutions to the needs of businesses in the UK and internationally.

The opportunities are infinite in terms of the support, the networks and the projects that will emerge from this collaboration.”

Professor Philip Powell, Executive Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, said: “The needs of societies globally are for people who can think creatively and strategically and who can deliver innovation.  There is a requirement for management qualifications that develops these skillsets. We are delighted to offer the first UK MBA of this kind in partnership with Central Saint Martins, and we look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students this Autumn.”

Catherine Griffiths, one of the initiators of this collaboration, said: “Conventional thinking and approaches lead to more of the same, but what this programme has found is most people want to change the world, to make a difference, to solve big problems such as sustainability, homelessness, poverty and community breakdown. Our approach will trigger reactions and new thinking that are innovative and potentially world altering.  We are seeking to achieve this, by developing an upside down model of doing, in order to fail, and then learning by experience. Through this, students will be able to convert their own innovative and creative ideas into beneficial changes for our society.”

The first intake of students on this course will begin their studies in September 2017.

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