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A business case for sponsorship on

The Open Universitys part-time MBA

Presented by Nick Weston, Project Manager to

Paul Samson, Logistics Director, Kingston Pharmaceuticals

15 August 2013

As part of my career development at Kingston, I would like you to consider providing financial
support for me to study a part-time, flexible MBA with The Open University (OU).

Im applying for sponsorship because Im committed to building a career within the business
and feel my future contribution would benefit greatly from developing transferable skills and
enhanced decision making capabilities through an MBA.

This proposal is designed to help you make an informed decision about sponsoring my
studies, giving you an overview of the course itself, the commitment it requires and the cost.

It covers the following areas:

Why Ive chosen the OU MBA

How the programme is structured

How I intend to fit study around my working commitments

Which skills and capabilities the MBA will help me develop to benefit the organisation

The level of financial contribution I need and the terms of the sponsorship.

1a. Why The Open University MBA?

Having researched MBA providers I've decided that the OU Business School offers the best
programme for my needs. Amongst all part-time MBAs it is the best placed to fit around my
day to day working commitments.
The strengths of the OU programme are:

Flexibility - The programme is designed for busy professionals and allows study to
be easily integrated into working life. The MBA can be done over a period of up to 7
years and there is the flexibility to stop and start if work commitments become a
priority. It is accessible from anywhere in the world through the OU's virtual learning

Quality - the OU MBA has triple accreditation from the world's leading MBA bodies
AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB, placing it in the top 1% of global business schools.
They're also the only non-campus MBA in this elite group. Many of the tutors are
practicing business experts and the Business School has an International Advisory
Board comprised of senior figures from public and private enterprises worldwide who
contribute to the design and delivery of the programme

Value for money - the course fees are by far the lowest amongst all the triple
accredited MBAs and payment can be made in installments over the duration of the
programme. Later in my proposal I explain the costs in greater detail, and propose the
level of sponsorship I need to complete the course.

Approach - I've been impressed by the OU's practical and applied style of learning
and how they promote 'critical engagement', encouraging students to question
management theories and their application. Project work can be based on real life
challenges within our business and I believe this will allow me to apply my learning in
a very hands on way.
How is the programme structured?

The OU MBA is designed to take three years to study (although it can be completed in up to
seven years if necessary). I intend to complete the qualification in three and a half years
studying part-time.

The programme is divided into two stages. Stage 1 comprises of a compulsory module which
develops core skills in areas such as managing people, marketing, project management,
finance, operations and supply chain management. Stage 2 makes up to two thirds of the
MBA and includes both compulsory modules such as corporate finance and strategy, and
electives which will enable me to focus on developing areas of expertise needed by our
organisation. See the following section for details of the skills and capabilities I intend to

How will my MBA benefit the organisation?

I have no doubt that an MBA will enable me to make a greater contribution operationally and
strategically. Below I've listed the specific business needs my MBA will cover followed by an
overview of each module.

2a. How will my MBA benefit my organisation?

I have no doubt that an MBA will enable me to make a greater contribution operationally and
strategically. Below I've listed the specific business needs my MBA will cover followed by an
overview of each module.

Managing Financial Resources and Performance

Project Management

Understanding Corporate Governance and Stakeholders

Leadership and Management Development

Strategy Development and Implementation

Marketing Strategy Development

Human Resource Management

Developing Operational Efficiencies

Sustainable and Responsible Management

Financial Strategic Development.

Youll be able to see how these needs are explored in the modules below:

B716 Management: perspectives and practice (Compulsory module)

Covers the following organisational needs:

Leadership and management development, Managing financial resources and performance,

Strategy development and implementation, Marketing strategy development, Project
management, Human resource management, Developing operational efficiencies

This compulsory Stage 1 module will help me elevate my understanding of many important
areas of management practice including strategy, accounting, marketing, operations, project
and change management.
The core skills it will help me develop are:

Greater understanding of management frameworks, theories and tools and my ability

to engage critically with them in the context of our own management and working
Enhanced awareness of the wider context in which our business and management
takes place, increasing my ability to work confidently across sectors and national

The interpersonal and conceptual skills that will help me plan and implement these
ideas and frameworks successfully within our organisation.

BB835 The dynamics of strategy (Compulsory module)

Covers the following organisational needs:

Strategy development and implementation, Sustainable and responsible management

This compulsory module will enhance my appreciation of strategy and its implementation
within our organisation, and specifically help me to understand:

The strategy process in context of our current management practice and the different
levels at which strategies are made and implemented

The best use of our resources and capabilities, and the impacts of different strategic
options on our stakeholders, culture, structure and systems

How we can improve our decision making processes, considering risks and ethical
considerations, and overcoming barriers to implementation

How we can respond to the impact of changes in our macro environment.

BB831 Corporate finance (Compulsory module)

Covers the following organisational needs:

Leadership and management development, Understanding corporate governance and

stakeholders, Financial strategic development

This is a wide-ranging compulsory module that will boost my understanding of the financial
strategy issues that affect organisations. It will enable me to develop specialist skills in:

Investment decision-making, both for projects and for companies

The preparation of capital investment proposals

Company valuation
Corporate finance techniques to support business decisions

The fundamentals of financial analysis and corporate finance theory including

corporate governance; investment risk and capital structure management; and project
appraisal and company valuation methods.

B839 MBA project: making a difference (Compulsory module)

This project is an integral part of the MBA and an ideal opportunity to link theory and practice.

It will enable me to apply core aspects of my learning to our organisation and effectively play
the role of a consultant addressing a specific business issue or challenge

The module had three phases which will ensure the project is developed and delivered with

Scouting - I will work with colleagues to explore a range of potential projects in our
organisation or others, and prepare three proposals which I will discuss with my tutor
and select the best.

Scoping - this phase will enable me to clearly define the scope and objectives of the

Implementing - this involves the process of implementing the ideas and realising the
aims of the project.

At each stage I will benefit from individualised coaching by my tutor and throughout the
module will be able to attend two day schools, a residential school and benefit from online
tutorial sessions.

The module develops key senior management skill and encourages considered decision
making. It will give me a flexible framework for solving complex problems and enable me to
develop transferable skills that I can apply to other areas of my job.
BB841 Managing financial risk

Covers the following organisational needs:

Leadership and management development, Understanding corporate governance and

stakeholders, Financial strategic development

As part of my development I would like a better understanding of the various financial risks
that affect organisations credit risk, liquidity and refinancing risk, interest-rate risk, foreign
exchange risk and operational risk.

This module will give me a greater understanding of the following areas:

How companies, public sector and not-for-profit' organisations can raise finance

The different features of financing instruments

How to undertake a risk-mapping' of a company or organisation

Measuring financial risks

How and why financial risks may be managed (including how derivatives and other
financial instruments may be employed in such risk management)

The implications of IFRS for financial risk management.

BB845 Strategic human resource

A module dedicated to organisational needs around human resource management.

I'm interested in improving my understanding of human resource management at a strategic

level and this module will cover many different aspects of this subject. It will give me the
opportunity to work collaboratively on strategic human resource management (SHRM) issues
and find, review and evaluate information relevant to key aspects in the context of our

Some of the areas covered by the module are:

The differences between strategic human resource management and more

operationally-focused personnel management

How to influence decisions regarding the management of human resources within

Theories, models and case studies and how to critically appraise examples and
solutions' for the management of people

Creative approaches to the different dimensions of SHRM and how they impact upon
each other and upon the business

The internal and external factors which can affect people management strategies

The changes in work and organisations that will impact upon the HRM function into
the future.

T883 Business operations: delivering value

A specialist module covering organisational needs around operational efficiencies.

I am keen to develop my knowledge of business operations on a strategic level and learn how
human and technical factors impact on the effectiveness of operations within our organisation.
This module will enable me to master relevant analytical techniques and learn through case
studies from all sectors of the economy.

By completing the module I will be able to:

Explain a wide range of concepts, models, tools and techniques that can be used for
the analysis of operations processes and systems and discuss the various ways in
which deployment of technology can be of critical importance to operations processes
and systems.

Demonstrate an understanding of the multidimensional nature of the operations

management role using a transformation process model of operations that takes
account of the many functional interfaces internal and external to the organisation.

Discuss the factors influencing the design of effective operations processes and the
implementation of improvement programmes.

Discuss the role of performance measurement in the effective design and

management of operations processes.

Discuss the factors influencing the effective implementation of new technology in

operations processes.

2b. How I intend to fit study around my working commitments

The OU MBA is very flexible and predominantly based on learning from home, although there
may be some locally based tutor groups. The majority of this will be completed in evenings
and weekends. There is also the option of a small number of residential schools over three to
five days at key points in the course.
In line with the company's policy on study leave, ideally I would like to take 5 days time off
each calendar year.

Work-based projects

Although the course is a very demanding, I will make sure that it does not compromise my
responsibilities at work. Quite the opposite, I fully expect to be able to apply the skills I learn in
work-based scenarios from a very early point in my MBA.
3a. What is the cost and how much sponsorship will I need?

The OU MBA represents excellent value for money

One of the attractions of the OU MBA is the value for money it offers. As you can see from the
chart below, the fees are substantially less than those of other triple accredited UK business.

Unlike many business schools the OU fee includes the cost of books and study materials,
accommodation and food at residential schools and tutorials, access to a bespoke e-learning
environment and project supervision, as well as examination fees.

The cost of my MBA

I plan to complete my MBA over 3.5 years, graduating in 2017.

As the fees are reviewed annually I can only give an indication of the total cost at this stage,
which is 14,250 - 16,400

The initial cost of Stage 1 of my studies would be 4,145

If you are able to sponsor me, I will be able to provide the actual cost of each year's study at
the beginning of each academic year.

The contribution I need from the business:

In deciding my proposed contribution from the business, I would like you to consider the
following supporting information:

Copies of my performance reviews from my personnel file

My references from my current line manager Asif Khan, Northeast Regional Director
of Logistics
I'm confident that this proposal demonstrates that benefits the MBA would bring to our
organisation and also reflects the commitment I have to making a real difference at a senior

With all these considerations in mind, I request that you support me by contributing 50% of my
MBA fees. The Open University has a straightforward process for employer sponsorship and
payment can be given at the start of each module. An invoice is raised directly to the sponsor
organisation requiring minimum administration. I would take care of the remainder of the

The payment for Stage 1 of the programme is needed by 18 October 2013 at the latest,
although it would be beneficial to pay well in advance of this.

I appreciate that you may wish to agree some terms in relation to issues such as:

My continued tenure at Kingston once the course is completed, and the repayment of
any contribution should I leave within an agreed timeframe.

If we can reach an agreement, the fees can be paid flexibly:

Unlike many traditional MBA programmes, The Open University MBA does not require a
single upfront payment. Individual modules can be paid before study begins. This spreads the
cost over the duration of study.

Alternatively, there is a monthly installment option, which allows payment to be made for each
module over a period of one year at a low rate of interest.

To summarise...

I've given the MBA a great deal of thought and know that it will require commitment and self-
discipline. However I am confident it will enhance how I approach my work and help me take
my contribution to Kingston to a new level.

It's an exciting prospect and I would be very grateful for your support with this opportunity.

Thank you.

Nick Weston
Supporting information

I have enclosed the following documents, which provide a more in-depth guide to the OU

MBA Student prospectus

5 minute MBA Guide.

You can learn more about the Open University Business School and their MBA programme
online at