Alliance Manchester Business School - AMBS
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The coloured fins of Alliance Manchester Business School

Alliance MBS

Alliance Manchester Business School

Leaders at the wheel

AMBS and Audi received international recognition for an Executive Education programme.

The Audi LEAD Programme, which has seen Audi UK partner with Alliance MBS to design and deliver an innovative leadership excellence and development course, has won one of the most coveted categories at this year’s EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards.

The awards recognise outstanding and impactful learning and development partnerships.

With annual sales in excess of 100,000 vehicles and a market share of 6.9%, Audi UK is one of the leading premium car brands in the UK. However maintaining this market position presents an ongoing challenge.

In common with other automotive providers, the company operates in an increasingly complex and volatile market, characterised by increasing competition from non-traditional new entrants, shifts in political and consumer attitudes towards climate change and the environment, increased urbanisation, rapid digital disruption, and changing customer buying behaviour.

Audi recognised that these dynamics provided both a threat and opportunity in maintaining the relevance and sustainable profitability of the brand and Audi Centre network in the future. As such, to maintain its market position against this backdrop of change, it saw the need to develop the leadership capabilities of its frontline leaders, specifically its dealership Heads of Business and Aspiring Leaders, and invited a number of leading European business schools to put forward proposals for an innovative ‘Leadership Excellence and Development’ programme.

Best in class

Alliance MBS and Audi went on to develop a highly customised and blended learning programme, incorporating some of the latest thinking in leadership development and management science. Delivered between October 2018 and June 2020, the programme was structured around three residential workshops and incorporated a range of practical web and work based applied learning methodologies.

The programme involved more than 100 leaders in total from across the Audi UK dealer network, and aimed to equip these managers with ‘best in class’ leadership capabilities while improving the capability of the business to adapt to change and supporting the long-term sustainable growth of the dealership network.

Audi operates in an increasingly complex and volatile market, characterised by increasing competition from new entrants.

Positive impact

Qualitative and quantitative indicators revealed that the programme delivered a positive impact on individual leadership capability, and produced tangible business impact and improvement. This business impact included direct sales revenue gains of over £2m in the first year from applied business projects that were designed and implemented on the programme.

It performed in line with or above standard industry quality benchmarks, was extremely well received by delegates and exceeded the expectations of both partner institutions. In line with the programme objectives, indicators suggest that the programme had a significant impact on individual delegate leadership capability (demonstrated by improvements in leadership competency and effectiveness), on organisational leadership processes and practice (demonstrated by improved cross functional working), and on the broader Audi Centre level business change and business improvement objectives.

Working relationship

Karen Boulton, Network People Business Partner at Audi UK, said: "The success of this development programme has been built on the foundations of a fantastic working relationship with Alliance MBS, which not only understood our brand strategy and values, but the importance of developing our leaders in our retail network. It’s wonderful to see how our people have grown since taking part in the programme and the value they are delivering to their businesses and our brand."

Dr Lee Douglas, Client Director at Alliance MBS and Audi LEAD Operations Programme Director, added: "At Alliance MBS we pride ourselves on designing development programmes that deliver real business benefit, as well as positive individual outcomes. The programme has proved to be genuinely impactful at both the individual, group and business level, representing a best practice benchmark in leadership development in the automotive industry and beyond.

"It's fantastic to receive independent recognition from such an esteemed organisation as the EFMD. We have developed and delivered this programme in a true partnership which represents best practice in corporate education globally, and is something we are collectively extremely proud of."

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