London Connection Q&A: Global MBA Programme Director, Ioannis Kokkoris

Professor Ioannis Kokkoris talks to Peter Quinn about sharing expertise, creating networks and leading a new MBA with worldwide reach
Professor Ioannis Kokkoris
"We're teaching students best practices worldwide": Professor Ioannis Kokkoris
One of the benefits of having a global student cohort is that you get to engage with experiences and issues from totally different regions of the world

Professor Ioannis Kokkoris holds a Chair in Law and Economics at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London (pictured below left). He is also Co-Director of the Institute for Global Law, Economics and Finance.

His main research interests are in the area of law and economics, comparative competition law/economics and policy focusing on EU, China and ASEAN, as well as intellectual property, and financial regulation.

Professor Kokkoris has led and worked on funded projects by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, the European Commission, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international institutions.

He talks to London Connection about the new Global MBA programme which launches in 2017.

Queen Mary University of LondonWhat are the advantages of an MBA in today’s job market?
Today, the business world is changing rapidly and there are more and more new challenges. We need to have executives who are able to adapt to these challenges and to address them, in order to ensure their company and their activities remain profitable. An MBA provides the necessary toolkit. 

What are the specific advantages of a flexible online MBA?
A flexible online MBA gives students the opportunity to adapt the study experience to their daily life, both their family and professional life. They can set their own pace, they can set their priorities as circumstances change, and they have the flexibility to achieve their goals.

What difference does it make to have London as the academic centre of the programme?
London is one of the great capital cities, so having London as the centre gives students the opportunity to familiarise themselves with experts from different backgrounds, and also meeting students online from around the world as well.

"You get to create a network that you can call on when you need to in your professional life."

How can participants on different sides of the world learn from each other?
It's essential to have different expertise and experience shared on this programme. One of the benefits of having a global student cohort is that you get to engage with experiences and issues from totally different regions of the world, and you get to create a network that you can call on when you need to in your professional life - to get advice and support.

What motivates you to lead a new MBA programme with worldwide reach?
It's a challenge to create a programme that I can be very proud of and that I can see will be of great benefit to the students who take it. I consider myself lucky to be part of this development. Personally, I hope to gain the feeling of developing a successful programme and the benefit of engaging with students and learning from them through their own experiences.

The programme is led by a team of internationally acclaimed faculty. Could you perhaps mention one or two names?
We have, for example, Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal who has worked as an expert for the United Nations in Geneva. He has also worked for the World Bank. We also have Professor George Kapetanios who is a consultant to the Bank of England, and a consultant to other central banks and governments. We have Professor Martha-Marie Kleinhans who has held senior leadership positions in Malaysia and other countries in South East Asia. These are just three of the many academics with different expertise and experience that contribute to the programme.

The programme deals with real-life scenarios and decisions. As the Convenor of the Law Specialism, what are some of the real-world examples that students will study?
Yes, for example, part of what we'll be doing in the Law Specialism is the scenario of international companies who are working in international debt markets – we'll be discussing the legal challenges these companies face and how they address them. We'll also compare that with the challenges that companies from different regions of the world face, where our students will have experience and expertise. 

So do this mean that the course content can, to some extent, be tailored to be country- or region-specific?
Yes. What we are teaching is not a particular legal system. We are giving students the skills they need to apply their own national or regional legislation to the issues and problems they're facing. We're teaching them best practices worldwide, and then, using their own legislative or regulatory framework, they can apply the toolkit to solve the issue they're facing.

"We want to create an experience of a simulated, professional environment where difficult decisions will need to be made." 

The flagship component of the Global MBA is the strategic project. Could you tell us a little bit about this?
This is one of the USPs. We want to create an experience of a simulated, professional environment where difficult decisions will need to be made. And the idea is that students will work in groups and assume different roles within the group – a Director, for example – and they will be faced with issues that they have to resolve. And they will be able to observe the outcomes of their decisions, whether they led to a solution and avoided a particular problem, or whether they failed. The idea is to make them ready to do this in a real scenario.

Will the Finance Specialism cover issues such as the economic consequences of Brexit?
That will be covered in some of the tutorials. We're aiming to cover topical issues, so in the Finance Specialism the tutorials of some of the models of international financial markets, we envisage this touching on the impact of Brexit and other topical issues. Brexit will also be discussed by myself and other Specialist Convenors in the tutorials we do in social media. 

As an expert on economics, what is your own view regarding the economic consequences of Brexit?
Brexit has the risk of creating a significant negative impact in the world economy. In combination with the slowing down of China's demand for imports, we could end up with a totally inefficient scenario whereby the financial markets will go through multiple small shocks at each point whenever there's a significant announcement either in relation to Brexit or to China slowing down, which will make markets unstable. That will affect currencies, it will affect asset markets, it will affect the housing market – so it could have a significant impact. I'm not seeing many positive outcomes for the UK coming from Brexit, in the short term.

The partnerships with CIMA and CMI and the ability for students to gain access to their online resources and networking opportunities look attractive in terms of career progression.
Yes. They both have an extensive network of professionals and activities. It will give our students the opportunity to see what it's like to be a Chartered Manager, for example, or a Chartered Accountant. They will get the feeling of belonging in a professional network, which they need as MBA students.