What I Love About Alliance Manchester's 'Inclusive Environment' | TopMBA.com

What I Love About Alliance Manchester's 'Inclusive Environment'

By Niamh O

Updated March 5, 2021 Updated March 5, 2021

Are business schools and MBA programs doing enough to offer inclusive environments for LGBT+ students? We spoke with one student from the LGBT+ community to find out.

Manchester is one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan and welcoming cities in the UK and an ideal place to study an MBA. Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) has a number of benefits to offer prospective students, from its diverse community to its inclusive events and progressive attitudes.

TopMBA caught up with AMBS MBA student Ignacio Munoz Villaseca to talk about his experiences as an LGBTQ+ business school student.

Why AMBS?

Originally from Chile, Ignacio has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Chile.

After graduating, Ignacio worked in digital projects development in telecommunications and finance industry. He said: “For the last five years I have been working in a payments company in Chile developing new digital products and specializing in digital payments.

“Meanwhile, I obtained a master’s degree in business engineering with IT from the University of Chile, which helped to develop my role at the time.

“Last year I decided to fulfil my dream of studying an MBA program abroad to gain international experience and to be able to take on new challenges.”

When deciding on the right MBA program for him, Ignacio said he had three considerations: program quality, experiential learning and internship possibilities.

He said: “I was looking for a program longer than 12 months with good reputation in the market in terms of salary increase, placement and quality.

“It had to be as much practical as it was theoretical and AMBS offers a very unique program that allows you to learn by doing. There are three consulting projects you have to do while studying, which let you apply what you are learning in real cases immediately.

“I also wanted the chance to do an internship and to study abroad if possible, and AMBS offers many options.”

But most importantly, Ignacio looked for an MBA program in a country that offers a post-graduation visa, because he wanted to gain international experience before going back to Chile – as the UK announced this option a few years ago, this sealed the deal for Ignacio.

He says the MBA so far has been a great experience so far, and although there’s been a lot of uncertainty because of COVID-19, the outcomes have still been positive.

AMBS has been quite flexible regarding lockdown according to Ignacio. And although he’s excited to get back to in-person classes, he feels that online learning has maintained quality standards while including class interaction and participation during sessions.

He said: “Of course, it has been new and challenging to work in groups or having internship interviews purely online, but it is part of today’s scenario and flexibility has become a key aspect.”

A liberal city

Manchester is known as a liberal city with a large LGBTQ+ community – and so is Ignacio glad he chose Manchester for his studies? He says absolutely.

Ignacio said: “After choosing AMBS, I researched the city, and I was impressed with all the things that were going on in terms of the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to see much because of lockdown, but as soon as things start to go back to normal, I am sure I will be amazed.”

He says he’s felt comfortable at AMBS from the beginning and appreciates how open university staff are to discuss any and all topics – as well as the welcoming environment offered at the business school. He said: “After researching what the university does for the community, I had no doubt that it was going to be an inclusive environment.”

There are a number of LGBTQ+ clubs at AMBS according to Ignacio, most of which are organized by the students and are fully supported by the university. He said: “AMBS offered to discuss any ideas we had. Also, the University of Manchester has the LGBTQ Society which is transversal to the university, and they offer support, volunteer activities and social events.”

Although Ignacio has only been in the UK for a few months, Ignacio gets the sense that Manchester is a very open city – with the people of Manchester being very open and inclusive, and that the LGBTQ+ community has earned its place in the city; to which he notes that companies’ have addressed LGBTQ+ inclusion very well.

He said: “Chile has evolved a lot in recent years and people are starting to be more aware and respect the LGBTQ+ community. Still, there are challenges in terms of inclusion and equality, there are organized groups working for the community and many people are responding positively.”

What does the future hold?

Through the MBA at AMBS, Ignacio hopes to gain global exposure. He said: “My goal is to gain international experience and learn from different cultures and face global challenges.

“I see myself traveling, interacting with people from many places, facing new roles and getting into the dynamics of globalized business.

“After the program, I hope to have the confidence and the right tools to face new positions. The university has provided multiple networking instances and the classes have been very up-to-date and practical.”

This article was originally published in February 2021 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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