DIGITAL learning will only enhance the student experience - that’s the view of Dr Joanna Pritchard, the new Director of Digital Learning for the Distance Learning MBA at the University of Bradford.
She should know because for 18 years she worked for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Coca Cola, The Home Depot, American Family Insurance and the Holiday Inn. She said: “Digital learning can enrich an experience. There is so much opportunity right now to include things like online business simulations, introduce guest speakers from anywhere in the world and to build networks the like of which you won’t find anywhere else.”
Raised in Hawkshaw, just outside Bury, Joanna studied sciences at school and even completed a PhD in biochemistry before migrating into IT consultancy. In 2000, she moved to Atlanta in the US with husband David, with whom she has two children. There she worked with a string of major corporations, diversifying into marketing and innovation.
She moved back to the UK in 2018, taking up teaching positions at the Universities of South Wales and Leeds, before accepting her new role at the University of Bradford’s School of Management.
“MBA students are a unique breed. They want to understand the academic side of things but also the language of business. An MBA is about being able to understand the different functions of a business, from finance to marketing. Having that strategic overview gives you credibility in terms of being able to communicate with all departments.
“So-called soft skills are also important, such as learning how to build a network, how to write a cohesive resume that will resonate with employers, being confident in presenting to senior executives. I’m particularly interested in helping women and minority groups get a foot in the door.”
Part of the course will involve engaging collaborative tasks, some of which will be competitive, giving students a chance to implement skills they have learned.
Joanna added: "MBAs are critical right now. We’re at a time when many people are reflecting on their careers and some will need to reskill. MBAs are perfect for that, because they enable you to differentiate yourself in the marketplace while building your global network.
"Bradford has long been an expert in distance learning delivery so we know what we're doing. I’m passionate about teaching MBA students as I remember what it did for my career, and I’m looking forward to sharing my real world experiences.”