Technical / MBA programme to have first intake in new year

06 December 2021 Steve Brown

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Emily Osgood pSince 2019, the HFMA has offered access to an MBA through a programme developed by BPP University. However, from next year, successful students will be able to join an executive MBA top-up programme at the University of Northampton, leading to an internationally recognised degree.

An MBA degree equates to 180 educational CATS points. Completion of the HFMA advanced higher diploma would provide a student with 120 points and the opportunity to take part in the executive MBA top-up programme (worth the further 60 points).

The Northampton executive MBA top-up has elements designed specifically for HFMA entrants, with a 10-credit module exploring critical issues in healthcare finance.

‘This will involve them researching one aspect of NHS finance that is affecting them and they research it in an academic way,’ explained Ewan Tracey, a senior lecturer in accounting and finance at the university.

However, for the second module, worth 50 credits and the bulk of the programme, HFMA diploma graduates will join a wider cohort of MBA students to undertake individual business research projects. ‘This will include people from across the world and different industries,’ added Mr Tracey.

Each student will tackle a project of their own choice – normally drawing on a live issue from their own organisation. But they will learn the frameworks for those projects together.

Mr Tracey said the executive MBA – which is based on distance learning to suit busy professionals – has been successful over a number of years. It attracts about 100 students each year, alongside 500 on the university’s wider MBA programme.

While the programme is run by the university’s business and law faculty, there are also connections with Northampton’s health and social care faculty.

To date, 18 graduates from the HFMA’s diploma programme have advanced to the MBA programme run by BPP. However, there is a lot of interest among current students about moving up to the MBA programme. ‘We had 30 interested candidates attending a webinar about the new Northampton programme recently,’ said Emily Osgood (pictured), head of education and professional development at the HFMA. ‘And with more people graduating the diploma programmes, we are anticipating increasing numbers moving on to the MBA.’

MBA students will continue to be supported by the HFMA’s Policy and Research Committee, which will discuss research proposals with students and assign a non-academic sponsor to each student – an approach that was introduced in 2019 and has proved successful.

Earlier this year, the HFMA published a summary of a recent research project from a recent MBA graduate. The project was undertaken by Edward Gold, head of costing and income at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and explored how patient-level costing could be used as a tool to add technical value within healthcare systems.

Some 650 people have so far embarked on either a module or diploma as part of the HFMA healthcare business and finance qualifications or its Diploma in advanced primary care management. Nearly 300 have completed diplomas across the two programmes, with another 160 currently enrolled.

A further 55 will graduate the diploma programmes in December, with many of them receiving their certificates at a presentation during the HFMA annual conference.