A group of 11 senior managers from the Channel Islands have spent a week in Maastricht as part of their master in business degree.

The nine from Guernsey and two from Jersey are a year through their two year, part-time course which is run by the GTA University Centre in association with the University of Southampton. They joined a team of international students from China, America, Turkey, Argentina, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea for the week-long visit which aims to provide an international context to the skills and knowledge gained during the first part of the course.

‘Business today is truly global. The speed and reach of modern communications means that any business can work with customers and suppliers outside of the islands and many are already doing this,’ said Chris Edwards from the GTA University Centre.

‘It is essential for the Channel Islands that we have a workforce that understands how to benefit from global markets. An MBA is acknowledged as one of the most effective ways of training the next generation of senior managers and is often referred to as an internationally recognised passport to a successful career in business management. All of the students have spoken highly of the experience and said they benefited enormously from having the opportunity to spend a week learning more about successful companies and solving business problems with a truly international group of students.’

The group attended a series of morning lectures in the Dutch city followed by visits to companies where they were exposed to real live issues and tasked to find solutions as part of a mixed international team. The group also visited the European Commission in Brussels to gain a policy perspective on issues surrounding global and European business.

‘We covered so many different topics, capturing every angle of business but because of the theories and modules we had already covered in the first year, we understood it far more,’ said Paul Cosgrove, chief operating officer at TMF Group in Jersey who said a visit to a niche wine producer was one of the highlights.

‘That was a living example of everything we had learnt. Hearing about, and seeing the individual experiences of the companies we visited meant that we explored different routes that we wouldn’t have done by staying in a classroom. It’s one of the modules which has been the most beneficial.’

Rudi Le Roux, chief operating officer at Investec Bank (Channel Islands) Limited, said the trip made him think more about the Channel Islands.

‘I have realised how international Guernsey and Jersey are. Most of the organisations we are working for are global and we are just one small part – this trip has made me more aware of how important culture is when dealing with colleagues and clients,’ he said.

The students now need to complete an individual assignment and a group assignment following their trip. They will complete their lectures in June and then have six months to complete their dissertation.

Mr Le Roux said anyone considering starting the next MBA in September would not regret it.

‘Just do it. It’s highly unlikely that it won’t fundamentally change your outlook. It gives you the skills and the ability to tackle anything.’

Mr Cosgrove added that even the most successful business people would gain from completing an MBA.

‘Throughout the whole course, we are asked to challenge everything, to find the evidence and then question it. It changes your thinking and gives you a different perspective and will make every one of us better employees, more effective managers and more considered colleagues.’

The GTA University Centre will shortly be launching this year’s MBA and more information can be found at www.gta.gg