Lord Browne backs Aston's masters programme for professional engineers

Aston engineers are leading the way in biofuel technologies and associated business development
Aston engineers are leading the way in biofuel technologies and associated business development

11 October 2011

Lord Browne of Madingley, the former President of the Royal Academy for Engineering, has long had a passion to ensure that engineers are able to develop as leaders of businesses – driving and creating change from the company boardroom. 

He believes that it is engineers who have the ability, and the opportunity, to contribute significantly in solving the challenges facing the world.

Lord Browne stated in a lecture at the Royal Academy in July this year, that ‘leadership requires three core skills: the ability to define a vision that fits your context, the ability to align diverse parties to work towards that vision, and an ability to execute that vision efficiently. Engineers are equipped with these skills better than any other profession.’ He went on to say ‘They are not just technicians and experts – they are diplomats and negotiators.’ ‘They grasp how to manage risks and control costs.’

Aston University – inspired by the vision of Lord Browne – has therefore developed a high level masters programme for professional engineers, which aims to equip them for the rigours of the boardroom.  Called the Masters in Leadership for Engineering (MiLE), it aims to do for engineering what the MBA has done for business.  Created and directed by Professor Alison Hodge MBE CEng CPhys of the University’s renowned School of Engineering & Applied Science, MiLE will bridge the gap between the technical and business worlds.

Professor Hodge explains, ‘Engineers are responsible for generating wealth for business and benefit for society, because engineers tackle and overcome major challenges such as diminishing water and energy resources.

However, engineers often feel that they are ill-equipped to run companies – leaving that to the finance and other specialists. The MiLE programme offers engineering managers the skills to become influential and respected leaders, with the personal and technical expertise to address global business challenges’.
Professor Alison Hodge, programme developer of the Masters in Leadership for Engineering, talks about what makes the programme unique, and who the course is aimed at.
The MiLE programme is flexible and includes just two residential weeks each year.  It encompasses themes such as sustainability, system complexity, team leadership, sales and marketing, and finance, and will be taught by experts from both Aston University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science and Aston Business School.

Professor Robert Berry, Executive Dean at Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, says ‘Senior Engineers need to speak the same language as their business colleagues.  It is no longer sufficient for them only to be technically skilled.  We believe there are great advantages in having more engineers at the top of business but recognise that, in recent years, many have not had the necessary leadership skills.  In Birmingham, the heritage of engineers who founded great companies such as James Watt and Matthew Boulton is still very much around us, so it is appropriate that Aston University, in the heart of Birmingham, is leading this renaissance of engineering leadership.’

Lord Browne concludes, ‘This programme at Aston University is much needed’.  He said at the Royal Academy, ‘I chose a career in engineering because I wanted to make my mark in the real world.  The MiLE programme aims to help others develop their aspirations and interests and, in so doing, to become respected leaders, helping engineering and hence society, and our economy’.

Visit the MiLE course page for further information or alternatively contact Carol Winder, Partnerships Team Leader on Tel: +44 (0)121 204 3555 or c.winder@aston.ac.uk


Notes to Editors

The Masters in Leadership for Engineering (MiLE) is a new high level masters programme which integrates the thinking between the business and technical worlds. It is a programme aimed at experienced mid level to senior managers with several years professional experience. The programme aims to meet the needs for individuals seeking to develop their skills through a higher level qualification and build both engineering and business interests.

Duration of programme; Normally three years part-time.

Work-based distance learning with two separate weeks on campus each year.

Modules are tailored towards individual interests with themes including;

  • Engineering leadership and strategy

  • Global business markets

  • Supply chains and partnerships

  • Sustainable engineering

  • Finance and law

  • Operational effectiveness