Q&A with Polina Baranova - Expertise - University of Derby

Tutor Q&A: Polina Baranova, Programme Leader for the MBA Global

How are you involved in the MBA programme?

I am Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Programme Leader for the MBA Global.

I lead two modules on the MBA Global: Critical Perspectives in Strategic Management and Leadership, and Independent Study/Corporate Placement Project.

What is your professional background and experience?

Having worked in consultancy and logistics before my academic career, I emphasise strong links between academic research/teaching and business practices.

While working as a consultant for a high profile international consultancy company, I participated and led a number of national and multinational projects concerned with the development of management information systems and business ventures for coal mines.

I’m particularly interested in projects that link academia with organisational practices, and those that address complex business and societal issues, for instance in the area of sustainability and circular economy.

I was a lead academic consultant for a project about applying service design methodology to improve university enrolment processes, and for another that developed student engagement analytics.

I am currently working on a European Regional Development Fund project about developing the low carbon capabilities of the regional SMEs.

In your opinion, what are the key benefits of Derby's MBA Global programme?

First, the programme is designed to develop management and leadership competencies to succeed in global markets. We believe that managing and leading global organisations requires a unique set of capabilities, including:

  • ‘cultural fluency’
  • a global mindset
  • the ability to perform in often fast-changing and unpredictable environments, amongst many others.

Our programme provides an environment where these competences are harnessed and energised.

Second, we focus on transforming the personal skills and developing the coaching and mentoring skills of our students. These form a vital part of the global skillset when working with diverse, often virtual teams in multiple locations around the world.

Third, research is one of the key strategic priories for us. We have a stand-alone Business Research Methods and Data Analysis module, so students can develop research skills and techniques as well as broader analytical apparatus to design and execute research projects. It is linked to either the Dissertation or Corporate Placement Project, so students can either pursue academic or applied research.

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for global businesses today?

Over the next few years, the biggest opportunities for global businesses will come from addressing the sustainability challenge and responding to the rising demand for ‘green’ products and services.

This trend presents an opportunity to develop innovative solutions and technologies, which would satisfy the global appetite for sustainability.

This could result in the development of the new business models that promote environmentally-friendly working practices and interfaces with a broad range of stakeholders and the society at large.

MBA Programme Leader, Polina Baranova “While working as a consultant for a high profile international consultancy company, I participated and led a number of national and multinational projects concerned with the development of management information systems and business ventures for coal mines.”