Retail pioneers graduate from unique course


Thirteen Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) managers have graduated from the ground-breaking Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Multi-Unit Leadership & Strategy, developed in partnership with Birmingham City Business School. The Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership at the Business School specialises in raising the ‘local leadership’ capabilities of middle managers in multiple retail environments.

The students, who started the courses throughout 2009 and June 2010, graduated from Birmingham City University on 13 February 2012. Of these, 14 retail business manager candidates have progressed to start a Masters degree in Multi Site Leadership & Strategy with three also having achieved internal promotion to retail director level.

The courses - unique in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries - were designed after a team from Birmingham City Business School shadowed M&B retail business managers and met with senior M&B management to identify areas that would support the development of these important positions. The courses aim to build upon the existing knowledge whilst providing additional skills to make their retail businesses a greater success - aiding performance, retention and promotion.

Each individual graduating has completed two years of learning, with 13 days classroom based. The course covers four modules, each taking three days to complete and culminating with a 5,000 word study, with topics including brand-cycle analysis, segment economics and service leadership, amongst others.

Liz Phillips, Director of HR & Organisational Development at Mitchells & Butlers, commented: “Mitchells & Butlers was the first pub company in the UK to identify the need for this type of qualification for its retail business managers and retail managers. At that time multi-unit leadership was not well understood, but just two years on we have seen the course come to fruition and it is now an established learning pathway within the organisation.

“The course also acts as a retention device for us – a portable qualification, making the trade more professional. All of our retail managers have seen a positive influence on overall business performance as a result of the increased confidence retail business managers have gained from the programme.

“Ultimately and most importantly, it is helping Mitchells & Butlers to run better restaurants and pubs for the benefit of our guests.”

Chris Edger, Professor of Multi-Unit Leadership at Birmingham City University, added: “We are delighted with the performance-enhancing results of our Postgraduate Multi-Unit Leadership programmes for ‘local leaders’ with Mitchells & Butlers, which are mirrored across our other major hospitality, leisure and retail clients at the Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership.”

If you would like to find out more about the Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership, please email or visit the website:

Photo: Chris Edger, Professor of Multi-Unit Leadership at Birmingham City University, alongside an M&B pioneering graduate.

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