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Business theory and The Wire: Management at Durham University

Dr Graham Dietz, Programme Director of Management at Durham University Business School, tells us more about the course, including his favourite modules, the roles his graduates have gone on to, and how TV show The Wire helps him teach theory in a

Graham Dietz, course director of the Master's in Management at Durham University Business School

Dr Graham Dietz, Programme Director at Durham University Business School, speaks to us about his favourite courses to teach. Find out about the wonderful ritual he asks of his graduating students, how highly the Financial Times ranks the course, and the role which The Wire's Stringer Bell plays in some classes.


Q: What one aspect of the course do you personally look forward to each year, and why?

A: The Masters in Management programmes at Durham University Business School are my favourite to teach, bar none. The students we attract from around the world are already very clever, but they are also resourceful and proactive and curious in their learning, and ambitious in their career plans. They are a pleasure to work with.

I teach the core first Term module, Organisational Behaviour, which is the study of how people think and act at work (leadership, trust, teamwork, motivation). It’s a big class – all the students on all the MiM programmes, in one room – but when they are all working on a case, or discussing with the people around them a debate point I’ve raised, or applying ‘OB’ theory to a DVD clip of a scene from The Wire (pictured below), the energy levels in the room are a sight to behold.

My other favourite moment comes after the programme has ended, when – as I have requested – our graduating students send me an email on their first day of work, with their employer’s logo and their job title in the signature.


Q: Tell us a bit about the faculty or staff in the department, and where they come from.

A: We have an impressive international group of teaching faculty who are acknowledged research experts in their field. They come from the UK, the United States, China, Germany, Greece, and Hungary. We have specialist expertise across all the disciplines, but especially in operations management, leadership, HRM, entrepreneurship, strategy, corporate finance and corporate governance.

The Wire, featuring Stringer Bell, is a key contemporary text for certain business theories

Q: What are the benefits of studying this course at this particular university?

A: Durham is an ‘Ivy League’ school in the UK, the 3rd oldest university in England. Its motto is: ‘Shaped by the past, creating the future’. The School’s line is straight to the point: ‘Better business thinking’.

We want our students to understand the total system of organisations and markets, as well as their specialism within that – for Finance students to understand the people and ethical implications of their decisions; for HRM students to put the commercial case for investment in staff training; for Entrepreneurship students to know how to market their ideas in other countries. Armed with that deeper knowledge, they can produce better analyses of business challenges, and generate better solutions for long-term success.

Our MiM is ranked 9th in the UK by the Financial Times. We have a reputation for stretching our students intellectually and personally, and Durham is a beautiful, compact, safe and stimulating place to study. Many of our students tell us that their year in Durham taking our MiM has been the best of their lives.


Q: Why is it an exciting time for prospective students to move into your field?

A: Our programmes are extremely popular; we get 10 applications for every place available, so the standard of fellow students is very high. We find that they stretch each other to produce great work just as much as the professors do.

Durham is continuing to innovate through its Masters in Management. We are expanding the range of programmes students can take, including new programmes in 2014 on Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Logistics and – in a unique joint venture with the University’s renowned Philosophy department – Business Ethics. These are designed to create smaller student communities of interest within our overall programme.

Our International Study Tour to Geneva has been converted into an elective, so you can get course credit for attending, as well as visit leading multi-nationals (such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, the World Trade Organization) to network for future careers.


Q: Can you give a few examples of the roles and positions which graduates have gone onto?

A: Durham students are sought after and targeted by the leading consultancy firms, such as Accenture, Ernst & Young and KPMG. We also have students working for leading banks (including Credit Suisse, Santander, ABN Amro, and the Bank of China), as well as General Electric, LG and China Daily. But several of our students are taking an idea they developed on the course, and setting up their own. We have a Dragon’s Den-style competition on the programme that can help launch their business. 


Find out more about the MSc Management course, as well as about Durham University and the other courses they offer.

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About Author

Graham Dietz, course director of the Master's in Management at Durham University Business School

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.

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