Suffolk Young Enterprise finals

By David Collins, Suffolk Business School

In my last blog which was, I acknowledge, quite some time ago I was looking forward to a family break. I have now returned – however reluctantly – from my trip to France. Indeed since this welcome break I have been to France, Belgium, Holland and North Norfolk!

I had intended to prepare a blog posting last week but a very crowded diary prevented this. Last Thursday, you see, I acted as the Chair of a University validation panel and in the evening I was privileged to attend the Suffolk Young Enterprise Awards, which was hosted by the University of Suffolk.

This event is the culmination of a process which sees groups of students prepare business plans designed to bring a product to the marketplace. At last week’s event the students reported on what they had done and on what they had learned and, perhaps most importantly, what they had earned through this process since this is no abstract exercise. In this regard it is perhaps worth conceding that I bought two ‘spinners’ for my kids from the team representing East Bergholt.

Aside from indulging myself in a bit of retail therapy I also took the opportunity to remind the students of the benefits of a degree education that will make them ‘career –ready’. In addition I took a moment to remind their teachers of the need to ensure their own continuing development. Teachers you see need to be ‘ahead of the game’ because they must prepare their students for a market that is always six years away! Given the complexities associated with leading a school I was pleased to be able to inform the teachers (and parents) who were present that we offer a range of postgraduate, MBA and MSc, programmes that have been designed to prepare participants for future senior management and executive positions.

The highlight of the evening was of course the prize-giving. I was invited to award a number of prizes on behalf of the judging committee and was pleased to accept. If I’m I really don’t enjoy having my photograph taken and would normally look for some way to wriggle out of this obligation. But I was pleased to set aside my normal reticence on this occasion for I was genuinely impressed by what the students had achieved. Indeed I found myself humbled by the quality of the presentations that they delivered last Thursday evening. In fact I am pretty well convinced that I could not do at 20 what the students last week had achieved in their middle teens!

Given these performance I do hope that I was successful in my attempts to persuade the students and their parents that they should continue their studies at the University of Suffolk.


Suffolk Business Festival 2016 Kicks Off!

Staff and students from the Suffolk Business School at the University of Suffolk will be celebrating diversity in business at this year’s Suffolk Business Festival to be held from the 24th to the 28th October. During the week, 15 activities will encourage participants to rethink gender issues, celebrate the contribution of Suffolk’s BME businesses and embrace the potential of enterprise as a force for good and a welcome is extended to all those wanting to participate in these events. A‘mystery tour’ completes the week, where students will  travel across the County to visit local businesses and meet the people that run them.


James Hollings, now in his second year studying BA (Hons) Business Management says “Last year’s Business Festival was a great way to hear more from local businesses – it’s a great innovation and really adds value to my course.” Dr Will Thomas, Deputy Head of the Suffolk Business School adds “We believe that management education cannot happen without partnership and cooperation between the University and Business. The Festival is a wonderful way to celebrate this work and to bring students, staff and the business community together to discuss topics of mutual interest.”

The University will be hosting Suffolk’s first Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Business Awards, providing the County with a chance to recognise and celebrate the contribution and successes of businesses owned and operated by those from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Another highlight of the week is the Gender Re-agenda lunch, ‘#GROW’, co-hosted with the Institute of Directors, which aims to revisit the issue of gender in the workplace focussing on developing talent and supporting business growth.

Laura Locke, Senior Lecturer in the Suffolk Business School, has organised the GROW event: “It’s important that the University plays its part in proposing solutions and supporting change in the workplace. Gender balance has been identified as supporting success in every organisation so we hope that this event will help to shape a new agenda for discussion and action.”

Businesses and members of the public are welcome at events throughout the week, all of which are free-of-charge. For more information and to book  please visit

The Post-Referendum World: The View From Maastricht, Boston, and Suffolk (Part 1/3)

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.

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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 first in a three part blog series, Dr Stuart Dixon explains the reaction of ‘Brexit’ from point of view of Maastricht and the Netherlands:

On the days running up to the Referendum, and every day since, it has been on the news, with predictions and consequences. The people of the Netherlands are both concerned and very interested, with many asking ‘how has this happened?’

One of the major questions has been why a referendum was called on such a complex issue – voting to leave the EU should not be such a black and white decision, and calling a Referendum does not allow you to negotiate. In business, if you are looking to make a deal, you do not go for all or nothing. There is a period of consultation, of give and take.

In the Netherlands, there is a general sense of shock that just 2% of the population have forced a decision for everyone. There is an assumption for such big issues that there should be a two-thirds majority vote before it goes to the House.

The Netherlands is a trading nation, with a large percentage of its GDP tied up in imports and exports, and the Referendum has raised concerns as the UK is a big trading partner. The Dutch, British, and Scandinavians work together a lot, especially within politics. The Dutch, however, are a small entity within the EU, and have not led many conversations, instead supporting the UK. So what happens next for us? How do we start political discussions, and who will we now ally with?

The ‘Brexit’ could be a positive force for the Netherlands – business is conducted in English, and we could be a viable alternative for foreign investment. We have good infrastructure and communication links.

But overall, there is a general feeling of instability in Europe as a whole. More than anything, ‘Brexit’ has demonstrated the difficulties and complexities involved in allowing something as important as the ‘in/out’ debate for the EU go to a Referendum – it’s very dangerous. For now, we need to work towards economic and political stability, not just for the Netherlands of the UK, but for the whole of Europe.

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.