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Alliance MBS eNewsletter - December 2016

Welcome to the last issue of the newsletter for 2016. If you're anything like me, you'll be wondering how 2016 managed to pass by quite so quickly. We have plenty to show for it - here is just a little reminder: 

Work continues on our fabulous building redevelopment and I would encourage you to make a visit to Manchester soon, to see how the £70 million redevelopment of Alliance MBS is starting to take shape. Lord Alliance's £15m donation has enabled us to invest in 12 innovative projects addressing global challenges faced by businesses, public organisations and policy-makers. This year, we partnered with Renmin University of China and Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana to launch joint-MBAs and we have strengthened our DBA with Shanghai Jiao-Tong.

We would like to thank all our volunteers who have taken the time to help us in the last 12 months. Whether it be by providing internship opportunities, projects for MBAs, sharing expertise and knowledge with students or attending guest speaker or networking events - thank you.

Looking ahead we continue to build on the renowned Vital Topics lecture series and hope to welcome many of you to campus over the coming months. Highlights will include Smart Cities: Solutions for tomorrow’s world on Thursday 23 February and Cyber Security – Five dominating trends on Thursday 9 March. Book your place here or visit

Last but not least, we hope 2017 brings you all good health, happiness and prosperity and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible to the School or our International Centres over the next 12 months. 

Best wishes from me and all of the team.

Lisa Samberg

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - The biased eco-system and how to navigate it

Alumnus Paresh Mistry caused a 'virtual' stir with his recent post on LinkedIn about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and the biased eco-system that exists in the decision process. 

Paresh, also a chartered accountant completed his MBA in 2012 and has worked in the finance and IT industries during his career. In case you missed the controversy, we have republished the article here.

We are bombarded with information about RPA but, what does all this actually mean for your business and how do you get an independent perspective to separate fact from fiction? Here is a summary of a recent client journey:

After a board meeting the CEO was excited to quickly understand the impact and benefits of RPA after hearing about its business transformation capabilities at a conference. The Group CIO (IT) and Group CFO (finance/business) were tasked with evaluating RPA.
  • CIO asks his business process outsourcing (BPO) provider to investigate as they have an innovation clause as part of the contract; he also asks his own team to look at analyst findings and conduct vendor technical appraisals.
  • CFO asks an adviser from a large consulting business and asks his own team to research analyst findings and investigate vendor case studies based on this.
CIO view: RPA is fiction - it may deliver c.10-20% savings at most, ROI is limited and by utilising existing IT resource/BPO solution the savings can be achieved organically.

CFO view: RPA is fact - it is a game changer, removing up to 100% of people from processes, increasing compliance and a must for all organisations wanting to survive the economic head winds.

This demonstrates the client "dilemma" when trying to separate the fact from fiction on RPA:
1.    Vendors - are inherently biased toward their own point of view and respective solution. Vendors pay advisers/consultants/analysts to position them accordingly.
2.    Advisers/ consultants - will position the vendor which either offers them (a) the largest software resale commission or (b) the most days on client site implementing.
3.    Analyst - will be influenced by how much financial gain they can make from a vendor or BPO provider and typically appraise them after agreeing commercial terms.
4.    BPO provider - if incumbent, they are unlikely to provide the most effective solution as it will directly impact the revenue with the client.
You can see that all parties are commercially reliant upon one another and therefore form a biased eco-system for the majority of clients who are appraising RPA.

Back to our client journey, the CIO and CFO present their findings to the board and have a rather challenging conversation on their respective evaluation of RPA and where ownership lies. The CIO says,"this is an IT project,  it's software and we own it" CFO responds,"no, this is about giving back power to the business to improve processes and reduce cost". The debate rages on.

After posting the article Paresh received a great response around the thought-provoking and open nature of the post. He also received queries from a software vendor and management consultant. Information in the public domain has been used to substantiate the scenarios depicted in this article. A penalty was imposed on a consultant for their lack of 'independence'.

What are your thoughts on this eco-system? How could this affect your role? Share your views with alumni on LinkedIn.
General News
Professor Colin Bailey with His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan

Celebrating 10 years of University's Middle East Centre

Nearly 90 Alliance MBS students received their Global MBA degrees last week at Alliance MBS Middle East Centre graduation ceremony.

The 2016 ceremony coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Alliance MBS Middle East Centre in Dubai - the largest and fastest growing of the University's five international centres.

Building on the success of the Centre and its strong reputation for delivering pioneering distance and blended-learning education, the Centre will become The University of Manchester's Middle East Centre, from January 2017 in line with the University's international strategy.

Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Bailey, was the Presiding Officer at the graduation ceremony, which was also attended by Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Alliance MBS Head of School, Professor Fiona Devine.

Professor Colin Bailey said: "I was delighted to preside over this year's graduation ceremony and celebrations, marking ten years of delivering business education and building strong links with the Dubai government and corporates across the region. It is an exciting time for the University and Alliance MBS as we work together to realise our international growth strategy. Thank you to Centre Director Randa Bessiso and her team for their ongoing commitment and for delivering an excellent week of events."

Randa Bessiso, founding director of The Middle East Centre, said: “Our graduation ceremony is the highlight of the year for everyone connected with AMBS and The University. In our 10th anniversary year, we are proud to support a large group of working professionals and contributing to business education in the region."

In addition to the MBA graduation ceremony, the AMBS international awards for Best Individual Student, Best Individual Project and Best Group Project were presented to graduates from the Middle East. The photo shows Professor Colin Bailey presenting a limited edition Graphene sample to His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development.
MBS in the News
  • Professor Cary Cooper recently appeared in The Guardian discussing how the demanding work patters of freelancers has led to a trend in development of mental health disorders
  • Christmas adverts, bigger than Jesus? Alex Gunz, Marketing lecturer joins the conversation on this years offering of Christmas adverts in The Retail Gazette
  • Five reasons why the UK can afford a higher national living wage - Professor Cary Cooper wrote for HuffPost Politics
  • Professor Karel Williams calls for 'policy reset' in Greater Manchester where "economic performance failed to match growth since 80s"
The MBA Consultancy journey

Practical projects are central to the Manchester MBA. Everything learnt on the programme is applied in the real world from day one, giving excellent opportunities to work with real clients on genuine business issues. Students form contacts with the commercial environment while boosting their CV.

Phil Galvin, Associate Director: MBA Consultancy at Alliance Manchester Business School has been asked to share his reflections on the journey of the current students. "Facebook reminds us each year of what happened at each anniversary and I am reflecting on what a tremendous experience the International Business Consultancy is.

I know that the learning and development which happens in the white heat of client interactions and the reflective periods during the consultancy and indeed many years later makes our MBAs what they are.
The International Business Project bidding process used to take around 10 days. This year, we took over an entire floor at the Hilton Deansgate hotel and the majority of the “deals” took place that day. It was a very intense experience for all. Each of the 19 groups of students now have clients.

The 2019 Class are in the throes of the Not for profit consultancy project. The MBA cycle continues, to the benefit of all". Find out more about how your business can benefit from access to students.
Benefits & Services
Andy Stewart
Career insights from alumni

What do entrepreneur Bhav Singh, HSBC's Head of Global Change Delivery of Retail Banking, Andy Stewart and Chief People Officer at Tesco Plc, Alison Horner all have in common?

They have all graduated from Alliance MBS and taken the time to share some of their career insights with you. Watch the interviews on the YouTube Alliance Manchester Business School playlist.​

Andy Stewart
Free AMBA Membership for MBA Alumni

As a graduate of an AMBA-accredited course, you are eligible for free AMBA Membership. This provides access to the exclusive online community of international MBA students and graduates from over 230 AMBA-accredited business schools world-wide, enabling you to network globally with fellow MBAs.

What else does AMBA membership provide?
  • Chance to promote yourself and your achievements through the AMBA network
  • Network of employers dedicated to MBA recruitment
  • Global MBA-level jobs database
  • Exclusive Career Development Centre
  • Face-to-face and online events and webinars
  • Latest industry news and thought leadership articles
  • Access to exclusive benefits with prestigious partners, such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car®, IHG Hotels, Regus and Priority Pass
It takes less than a minute to register:
• Visit
• Complete your personal details
• Select ‘Graduate’ from the ‘I am a’ drop down
• Select your Alliance Manchester Business School and enter access key: G25912

If you have any problems registering, please contact
Alumni and students at a recent event in Hong Kong
Upcoming global business events

Click here​ to discover more about our upcoming global events in Manchester and London.
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