Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have formed a unique global partnership to give CIMA students the opportunity to gain an honours degree. CIMA, the world’s largest and leading professional body of management accountants dating from 1919, currently has some 183,000 members and students in 168 countries.
MMU is launching the honours degree - a BA with honours in Sustainable Performance Management - in June 2011. A Masters degree programme – an MSc in Strategic Business Management - is scheduled to follow in September 2011.
In order to be easily accessible to CIMA’s global network of members and students, both degrees are to be delivered entirely online – with the help of CLS.
Paul Summers, Senior Lecturer in Accounting & Finance at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS), estimates that some 300 to 400 students a year will join the BA degree programme.
In August 2010, CIMA approached MMUBS to see if it would provide an undergraduate degree for management accountancy students. Establishing such a degree would mean that, in addition to receiving a qualification from the professional institute, CIMA students could also achieve an academic qualification – which might well stand them in good stead in terms of employability.
“Our response was to allow CIMA students who’ve completed the managerial aspect of their studies to do an additional two units of learning - covering sustainability and ethics – which are delivered online,” explained Summers. “Awareness of sustainability and ethical issues are becoming increasingly important for professionals including management accountants.”
CIMA students who have achieved the Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting are eligible to undertake the one year (BA) programme, while the MSc Strategic Business Management is open to CIMA members who have completed the full CIMA professional qualification.
The Sustainable Performance Management degree programme requires eligible CIMA students to study two units: Accounting and Management Control Systems, and Ethics and Sustainability Accounting. The programme has been specifically designed to give students commercial insight and its focus is on equipping students with the knowledge and skills to become successful responsible finance and business professionals.
Each of the e-learning units comprises some 20 sessions – which equates roughly to 20 weeks per unit. Thus, following the BA degree course is likely to add a year to the student’s study time.
Having agreed with CIMA to offer the degree programme, Summers and his team realised that it is vital to ensure that the resulting e-learning content is professionally ‘polished’ and presented – given that it is being offered to a worldwide audience of professionals. Moreover, it needs to be professionally administered – with students allowed access to the e-learning materials, monitored in their usage and so on.
So, Summers contacted Core Learning Services (CLS)’s Paul Higgins. Summers explained: “This was the first global partnership we’d undertaken with CIMA and we wanted to ensure we got it right first time – and produced something which served the students’ purpose.
“We’ve found everyone at CLS to be extremely able, professional and personable,” he added. “We’ve developed a highly positive relationship with them over the past months.”
Having briefed CLS at the end of November, the e-learning units – which are accessed online, from the CLS server - were ready for use by the summer of 2011.
Students are assessed on their responses to a case study based report, together with a presentation they make to their tutors.
However, there are formative assessments – in the form of short, multi-choice and other, more discursive questions – which are included in the e-learning content. Students are asked to complete these and also take part in the discussion forum which is part of the web portal provided by CLS.
This discussion forum examines ethical issues and seeks to get the students to develop critical questioning techniques in discussion with their peers – who, of course, are drawn from all over the world.
“This will help to deepen their understanding of these ethical issues and improve their professional reasoning skills,” said Summers.
“The BA (Hons) Sustainable Performance Management and MSc Strategic Business Management allow accounting and business professionals to formally display their expertise academically and professionally - and reinforces MMUBS’s reputation as the choice of world class professionals,” he said.
About Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is part of the largest higher education campus in the UK and one of the most extensive education centres in Europe.
MMU was established as a polytechnic in 1970 and became a university in 1992. It developed initially as a centre of technology, art and design from Manchester Mechanics’ Institution (1824) and Manchester School of Design (1838). The painter LS Lowry attended the art school in the years after the First World War. Later, schools of commerce (founded 1889), education (1878) and domestic science (1880) were added, along with colleges at Didsbury, Crewe, Alsager and the former domestic and trades college (1911), latterly Hollings College.
Currently, MMU is the third most popular university in terms of applications in the UK.
About Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS) has been supporting industry and commerce in the city since 1889. Today's Business School offers undergraduate, postgraduate and higher research degrees in all major sub-disciplines of business and management. Notable growth areas include entrepreneurship and innovation, human resource management, marketing and public relations, as well as accounting and finance. With some 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 postgraduate students (including 60 research students and 420 professional accounting students), MMUBS is one of the largest business schools in the UK.
About Core Learning Services (CLS)
Core Learning Services (corelearningservices.net) provides consultancy services, working with partners to deliver customised learning management systems reflecting clients' needs, pre-populated with market leading on-demand e-learning content libraries and CLS's unit stock model. This is complemented by CLS's in-house course design services based in the UK.
CLS's successful partnerships include Sector Skills Councils - National Skills Academies, leading Government training organisations, UK publishers, to partnerships in the Education sector including Manchester Metropolitan University and many more...
Paul Higgins, Core Learning Services, + 44 (0)7533 732784; phiggins[.]corelearningservices.net.