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Mastering Internet Retailing? First MSc Graduates and September intake

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Three years ago we opened applications for the UK’s first masters-level qualification in Internet Retailing, a commercially-focused qualification that’s academically assessed and recognised globally. We are now previewing our first MSc Graduate and opening applications for the fourth intake this September.

The first ‘Masters of Internet Retailing’ will be on the cover of our July print magazine, but here’s a quick preview of their comments, and information about joining the programme.

The course is designed to support ambitious, capable future leaders make a career ‘leap’ while also increasing their contribution to their business. The MSc is not a theoretical or detached programme: everything is ruthlessly focused upon workplace and commercial difference, and the thinking and approaches are assessed at Masters Level.

The course is therefore ideal for ambitious leaders and future leaders who wish to make a career jump, with sustainable skills, or for companies investing in their talent, the ‘fly-highers’, giving them support, skills, exposure outside of their current role.

Information on the MSc and how to apply can be found here:

Econsultancy are the delivery partners and Manchester Metropolitan University are the academic partner and accrediting body.

I asked some of the about-to-be-Masters delegates for their views, particularly on the benefits, demands and experience of the course, from their vantage-point of completion.

Alastair Holmes, Head of eSales Capability & Experience at Vodafone UK, notes that “I entered into [the MSc] pretty blind, eager to learn a lot more about online retailing. I never expected to learn so much about so many broad areas of retailing, strategy, logistics and operations management… It really opened my eyes to the depth of multi-channel retailing”.

Dan Mahoney, Head of Operations for Zulily UK reflects that “It has been the first ever cohort, so the course has needed to adapt and grow with us. It has flown by, but there have been intense periods when delivering assignments. From a personal perspective, I have developed into a different Retailer during this period, absolutely for the better. I’ve also met some really interesting and fun people that I will stay connected with, not to mention a few great field days!”

Becky Olie, Head of Online Selling at House of Fraser, reflected on her motivation for embarking on the programme: “When you said that the course was being designed to create the CEOs of tomorrow, with input from a high calibre leadership panel…and that it wouldn’t be ‘too’ much work – how could I say no!” And the reality following that promise? “An amazing and very worthwhile experience that if i had my time again, i would still do it without hesitation – despite the workload it required”. Becky further notes that “The MSc has supported my career massively. Whilst studying, i felt that my thinking, progression and development was on fast-forward compared to what i could have achieved if i had just ‘lived’ a career in Internet Retailing. I have always been a bit of an all-rounder but the MSc has also provided a complete and sound knowledge base of all eCommerce disciplines and the behaviours needed by a senior leader/manager”.

Career development is also a benefit that Alastair noted: “[the MSc] has made a massive difference, I was promoted part way through the MSc so clearly had an impact with that. It has also given a far greater spectrum of knowledge which has helped me understand broader business challenges. I also now have far greater appreciation for retailing outside mobile phones, which is great to apply to what I do at Vodafone and for my future”. Dan Mahoney also reflects positively on the career benefit: “The breadth of the course learning and understanding how opportunities might be more suited to my long term career objectives, has accelerated job moves and moved me forward. Most importantly, the course has totally changed the way I think and approach trading. I would be confident to say I am considerably more efficient, strategic and focused as a result of the course”.

The employers have also benefitted too. Dan notes “Each module requires completing an assignment – all of which can be focused on an organisation you are working within, consulting for or simply admire. Throughout the course I have kept a close focus on ensuring that the submissions can be used within my respective business and ensuring to share the end results”. It’s not theoretical though and Dan notes that – when trying to push business opportunity “there is a balance between the academic submission and what your MD might want to read”. Making the suggestions into effective solutions is part of the ‘Masters level’ art!

Becky too noted the business benefit: “the assignments I completed gave further insight and direction to what i was already working on at House of Fraser as well as new tools to help me do my day job more effectively. Plus, the step-change in my overall outlook of an eCommerce business ensured i was able to develop, progress and maximise the opportunities i have had within the growing, fast paced environment of House of Fraser’.

In the coming weeks we’ll be profiling the initial cohort, and will also hear from Rob Jones, Head of eCommerce at Astley Clarke, Mark Selwyn and Kieran Petvin, European E-Business Marketing Manager at TRW. Not to mention (again) the July cover…

If you’ve any questions on the Masters – whether to drive your own career or to support the best within your business – please contact Ian Jindal ( or Viv Underwood ( or Justin Weddle (

Applications close in early July for the September 2012 intake, so contact us soon if you wish to learn more or enrol.

The last comment goes to Alastair: “I thought it would make me a better online sales manager, its actually made me a better strategist, operations manager, logistics manager and multi-channel retailer”.



MSc information page:


Manchester Metropolitan





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