Meet the Academic: Dr Michael Flanagan, Global Online MSc Finance and Strategy

Picture of Dr Michael Flanagan, Programme Leader for MSc Finance and Strategy

Dr Michael Flanagan, Senior Lecturer and Fellow of the Foundation of Management, is the programme leader for our Global Online MSc Finance and Strategy programme. Here, he tells us more about his academic background, what the Global Online programme means to him and what students can expect from the course.

Please could you introduce yourself?

I became an academic about 10 years ago, after spending around 30 years in industry, working at director level in large multinational organisations, such as Shell and Philips. I studied for my MBA at Manchester Business School and enjoyed it so much that I decided to take a PhD, which I completed in 2013. Although my background is in engineering and product development, my PhD was in Finance and Derivatives; I liked the mathematical rigour of that topic. I particularly enjoy teaching postgraduate students finance, advanced performance management and research methods because I can draw on my recent academic training and my considerable industrial experience of directing significant operations. In my current role as Programme Lead for Global Online MSc Finance and Strategy, it is my responsibility to coordinate the development and delivery of learning materials for the course.

I aim to ensure that the learning experience the programme offers, and the results it achieves, meet our students’ and the University’s expectations. I enjoy the variety of my role; I get to work closely with a number of different people and functions – from web developers, marketing and sales colleagues to tutors, course administrators and, finally, the independent external examiners who audit the quality of the programme.

What is your particular area of academic expertise, and why are you passionate about it?

My particular area of expertise is Real Options – a methodology closely related to derivatives and hedging and values the option value inherent in investment options. The approach is used quite widely in the high-tech and commodities industries, for example in oil and mining, where volatility is high and being able to make quick decisions has real value. In my PhD dissertation, I applied this approach to mortgage renegotiations, specifically in the US market.

Why should people choose this Global Online programme? 

The programme is aimed at various groups of people, who all value the flexibility and convenience of being able to study and earn a qualification from a renowned UK university, in their own homes, at a convenient time. Although it is not easy and still requires work and effort, students can balance learning with family, work and personal objectives.

For students who already have a professional accounting qualification, the programme can be completed quicker; you will get exemptions from certain units and can concentrate on the research elements. For those without such a qualification, successful completion of the programme will grant you access to a higher level of the CIMA qualification, which will save you a lot of time and money. This degree and its online delivery has something for everyone.

What can students expect to come away with after completing the course? 

After speaking to graduates from other online programmes I coordinate, I can confidently say that successfully completing a programme like this will boost your confidence and self-esteem. As well as this, many finance companies now expect their employees to have a postgraduate education before they are considered for more senior roles. Students who have achieved the qualification online invariably go on to apply for higher paying and more challenging positions in their companies, often shortly after graduation.

We will help you challenge yourself and achieve results that you might not deem possible now.

What are you looking for in a Global Online student? 

In some ways we are looking to replicate a successful and aspiring management team. We want our students to work hard and to contribute to the discussion, not just be a passenger. It is not enough to get a qualification. What’s more important is how you get that qualification. You, me and the rest of the programme team must work together to ensure the learning experience and outcomes you achieve on the Global Online programme can be replicated in your organisation and benefit your career going forward.

What excites you most about teaching on the Global Online programme?

It’s just that… Through their participation in and contribution to a challenging, online learning environment, I’ve seen that students do learn, prepare and condition themselves to succeed and prosper, both at work and socially, wherever they are in the world.

To find out more about the programme, visit our Online MSc Finance and Strategy course.