The Post-Referendum World: The View From Maastricht, Boston, and Suffolk (Part 3/3)

On Wednesday 6 July, Suffolk Business School and University Campus Suffolk welcomed our partners from Europe and the USA to our Ipswich Campus. Dr Stuart Dixon, Academic Coordinator Global MBA Programs at the Maastricht School of Management, and Mike Barretti, International Marketing at Suffolk University, Boston US, joined our very own Dr Tom Vine, Course Leader EMBA and MBA, to deliver an Executive MBA Mini-Masterclass on:  The Post-Referendum World: The View From Boston, Maastricht and Suffolk.

2016-07-06 15.38.16
From left to right: Mike Barretti (Boston), Dr Stuart Dixon (Maastricht), Dr Tom Vine (Suffolk) and Stuart Bannerman (Director of International, UCS).

In this, the third in a three part blog series, Dr Tom Vine discusses the reaction of ‘Brexit’ in Suffolk and UCS:

Offering a view of Suffolk on the EU Referendum is tricky. There is a lot of conjecture in understanding the results. Having worked in psephology (the study of elections and electoral behaviour), I know that people rarely vote in accordance with linear logic. There is a perceived disconnect in voting trends – areas of the UK that recieve a high level of EU funding mostly voted ‘Leave.’

Just four days after the EU Referendum, Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, died. This best selling book explored changed and the ramifications of change, and argued that change itself was not the problem – it was the rate of change that caused issues for the general population. In politics, change can happen at a rapid pace, and many voters in the EU referendum may have been looking for some continuity. The electoral process is a way for the population to slow things down.

The Referendum also highlighted the notion of identity, and it was explored a great deal in the media. When it was formed, and throughout its history, the EU has been reluctant to engineer a sense of collective identity because it felt such a thing would be inauthentic. People find it easier to form identities on a more local level – in particular on the basis of ‘what you are not.’ For the UK, people can say they are ‘not French’ or ‘not Portuguese.’ There is, however, no corresponding ‘other’ for the EU, and therefore it is difficult to tap into a shared belonging for it.

In terms of Suffolk, I think it is safe to say that staff and students of UCS are left with a feeling of deflation. UK Higher Education institutions have, on average, around 20% non-British EU staff and students, and the ambiguity of what will happen now is a real challenge for our community. International collaborations, research projects, and funding applications are already feeling the effects of Brexit. Within our own team here at UCS, members of the academic staff have had research projects pulled because of their involvement – the UK is too high risk to collaborate with. There is definitely a sense of needing to weather this storm over a considerable amount of time.


For more information on the Suffolk Business School MBA and Maastricht-Suffolk Executive MBA, email us at

The Executive MBA is a new programme for the University of Suffolk in partnership with the Maastricht School of Management (MSM). This is a part-time flexible, modular course designed for professionals with 8 weeks of teaching across two years shared between Maastricht and Suffolk with an option for one placement in Boston (US). At the end of 24 months graduates receive their EMBA from the prestigious Maastricht School of Management.

The next EMBA Mini Masterclass will be discussing Leadership in an Uncertain World and will be held on 1 August 2016 6pm to 7:30pm at the Waterfront Building Boardroom, University of Suffolk. All are welcome, and to register interest please do not hesitate to email Laura Messer: or call on 01473 338616.


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