A weekend with Kevin Roberts: The Lancaster MBA

During our MBA we have had several great experiences, of those the salient one was the intensive two-day leadership programme with Kevin Roberts the founder of Redrose Consulting and the former Chairman & Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. We had the chance during the year to compete for a place on this unique event and eventually eight students from five different nationalities were selected to participate in this executive education masterclass. The event was held in a fantastic and welcoming environment at Kevin’s home in the Lake District, where we were accompanied by our MBA Director, Dr Peter Lenney and Professor Dr Martin Brigham (IMPM).

The leadership masterclass revolved around top qualities that a leader should possess in order to excel in the crazy VUCA world that we live in today, a world that Kevin describes as Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Accelerating. The qualities that we focused on during the two days were: mental toughness, active listening, and inspirational leadership. On the other hand, creativity was the common theme that ran throughout all our activities, as Kevin emphasises on it being the top quality that leaders need: “Creativity is a belief, everyone is born creative” were Kevin’s words.

Day 1 started with a series of role-plays and activities that included storytelling and appearing on a ‘local TV morning show’ where we shared our experiences, learnings and future plans as Lancaster MBA students. As the day moved on, the group enthusiasm and competitiveness levels were rising with all sorts of unexpected and challenging activities. “Winning is not everything but wanting to win is” another one of classic Kevin’s one-liners resonated well with us. The day concluded at K & T’s Lancastrian Pub – Kevin’s very own in-house bar, where he generously treated us to some exclusive drinks as we had a freewheeling conversation around politics, sports, Kevin’s stint in the hospitality sector and so on.

Day 2 started with the same rigour, passion, and pace as the tasks became more challenging. From creating a marketing strategy for the brand USA, applying for the job of the world leader to making a pitch to succeed as real estate agents for getting Kevin the best deal for this stunning mansion. All of this with twists and turns we would be exposed to in a VUCA setup. The challenge before us was to Think Correctly Under Pressure (T-CUP) and get the best out of us to “adapt, improvise and overcome” the situations that leaders face.

The masterclass ended by Kevin awarding his bestselling book ‘Lovemarks’ to the best performing teams. We also had the chance to sign our names in the house honorary guest book as did the world top senior managers & directors that attended this executive program, he conducted for them.

It was an opportunity of a lifetime we were lucky to get in a weekend and it would not have been possible without the support of the entire MBA Office team.



Categories: MBA