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Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School

Client influencing skills & attitudes for Full time MBA students

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The organisation

Warwick Business School is an established global superstar in the business education market. In the 2019 Financial Times Ranking, it is currently ranked No.1 globally for its distance learning MBA, no.4 in the UK for Full time programme and 36th globally. The school has gone from strength to strength and attracts a global cohort, with the 2018 full time intake having 30+ countries represented.

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The challenge

With academic content and research of the highest quality, MBA students leave the school with thorough knowledge of best practice in running and starting up organisations. Being able to take this knowledge and influence their organisations to adopt the ideas and changes represents a key challenge. Without the ability to be ‘changemakers,’ (one of the core values of Warwick Business School) students risk not capturing the full return on their investment.

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The solution

Recognising this, Warwick Business School set up Careers Plus to support the full growth of MBA students by building their interpersonal and influence skills.
Because of our experience in client influence and behaviour change, Selling Interactions were invited to deliver programmes in two main areas, client influence and managing change.

Client influence
In the 2nd term of their year long programme, the Full time MBA students do a full day practical session on client influence skills. Whilst underpinned by business research, the skill session is fully hands-on with multiple selling role plays. The focus is on actual behaviour (know-how) as opposed to theory (know-what). Students are positively confronted with the high standards we must set ourselves for client meetings and given feedback to help them be effective in managing such meetings.

Influencing for change
The Executive MBA programme format means that students are in full time jobs while they study. This means they have multiple opportunities to influence change ‘on the job’. Selling Interactions provide a highly practical evening session for these cohorts. This involves a simple case where students practice announcing change, managing the reaction of employees to change and adapting their communication styles to different stakeholders. The emphasis again is on doing not knowing. The programme is enhanced by having a section on ‘influencing internationally.’

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Next Steps

The fields of social psychology, influence and sales are evolving rapidly, and because of our “research led sales excellence” approach, we want to make sure that all programmes are underpinned by the latest evidence-based material. The programmes are challenged each year to ensure that we support Warwick Business School’s core value of excellence. A focus over the last few years has been to ‘internationalise’ the programme to ensure we provide relevance for influence in all cultures and working environments.

Quotes – participants

“Very valuable insights into the finer details of persuasion, making impressions that last and finally sealing a deal”

“Fantastic activity! Anderson was funny, involving and very clear in his points! Thank you!”

“Anderson did an excellent job of teaching us soft skills that proved useful and I look forward to using them every day”

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