The Building Societies Association and the School of Business and Economics launch first-ever Masters for customer-owned financial firms

The Building Societies Association (BSA) and the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University have launched the first UK Masters programme geared specifically for those who work in a customer-owned/mutual financial services firm. 

The three-year MSc in Leadership and Management includes topics, such as:

  • Leading & Managing People
  • Corporate Governance
  • Modules on Financial, Operations and Marketing Management, Strategy and Planning

Whereas conventional business school Masters focus almost exclusively on operating in a PLC/shareholder-owned business structure, this new Masters programme focuses on the practical, cultural and ethical approach required to lead a modern mutual.

A total of 26 staff drawn from 17 building societies of all sizes have signed up to the three year part-time programme with the support of their societies. Students will spend between 12 and 14 days a year across four modules at the School of Business and Economics, as well as undertaking significant personal study. They will be supported both by the Loughborough tutors and a mentor within their own society.

BSA Chief Executive, Robin Fieth, said: “The rigour with which a building society has to be led and managed is no different to that of a PLC. But customer-owned businesses take a different approach to how they operate and make decisions.

“Their focus is not on maximising shareholder value, but on delivering real and sustainable value to current and future generations of members. Profit is important for growth, strength and stability, but it's about making enough rather than going for the maximum. This programme provides the rigour and focus to develop the mutual leaders of tomorrow.”

Speaking at the programme Induction, Alison Robb, Group Director, People, Customer, Communication and Commercial at Nationwide, said: “Nationwide is a people business which thrives on staff talent. This means we are serious about continually investing in the growth of the individual talent we already have in our business, as well as bringing in new skills and perspectives from outside.

I'm excited about this programme as for the first time we have a Masters purpose-built for modern financial mutuals, building societies and others.”

Martin Reason, CEO of the Melton Building Society, said: “For a smaller society like the Melton, this ground-breaking programme allows us to broaden our talent management capability and supports the identification of future leaders in the building society sector.”

Professor Stewart Robinson, Acting Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University, said: “This is a unique and exciting joint initiative. It is designed to equip participants with the skills needed to meet the strategic and management challenges they face in an environment where competition and regulation are constantly increasing.

“The School has considerable expertise in delivering professional development programmes and a well-established reputation in the analysis and support of the mutual sector. We look forward to delivering this Masters programme in conjunction with the BSA and welcoming our new students onto campus for their induction programme.”

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