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Selected Case studies

McCann Manchester

McCann Manchester is one of the most successful global advertising agencies. A dramatic increase in digital competitor agencies prompted them to seek to differentiate themselves. To stand out from the crowd, improve understanding across the organisation and improve professional development and employee retention, McCann needed to embark on a world-class professional development programme.

We helped McCann to develop a unit in Strategic Planning for Digital Marketing Communications and followed this with an accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. Students benefit from up-to-date professional development in-house and rigorous academic study with the Business School. This level of study distinguishes McCann’s employees from others in a saturated graduate workforce whilst instilling a level of understanding about the total operation of the firm.

"Over the years the Business School at Manchester Metropolitan University has provided us with a steady stream of high quality graduates. We worked closely with the Business School to obtain external accreditation for an internal training course that allows employees to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. This process gave the Business School a good understanding of McCann Manchester and the opportunities we can offer to their students, and has proved to be mutually beneficial."

Tracey Harman

Talent & Development Manager

McCann Manchester

Enterprise Rent A Car

A group of final year Business students were engaged by Enterprise Rent A Car to review, research and develop Enterprise’s Post Graduate Placement and Recruitment Service.

‘The business consultancy team from Manchester Metropolitan University Business School were fantastic and came up with some great new ideas for consideration’

Abul Shama

Recruitment Supervisor

Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Using a variety of research methods including questionnaires, focus groups and competitive comparisons, the group were able to identify business opportunities which Enterprise were missing and, were able to make a number of suggestions which would put Enterprise ahead of the competition.


Niel Barbour – UK Operations Director for Sodexo Healthcare

Sodexo is one of the world's largest facilities management companies, with a presence in many sectors including education, local government, security and healthcare.

The company is keen to expand its operations into new areas of work as its portfolio of clients continues to grow and as fresh opportunities arise.

According to the UK Operations Director for Sodexo Healthcare, Niel Barbour, the business became aware of the benefits of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership when they began to examine the social care market.

"Our starting point was a desire to invest in the social care market and the best way of determining what part of the market was to commission some research on this sector. For the study to be worthwhile, we needed to find someone with the skill to be able to collect and translate this information into practical recommendations to take the business forward. We looked at the various options available and it was then we discovered the KTP and what it could offer us.

"Once we had agreed with MMU what we were looking for, we started the process of finding the right person. All the people we interviewed were high quality candidates with first or 2:1 degrees and I know it's as important to the university as it is to us to make sure the best people are selected. What you get through the process is an enquiring and hungry mind – and we found this in Amit.

"As a business we are keen to get something out of the relationships we build. We want Amit to get his Masters and to become a more rounded individual with some 'real' work experience, but equally we want something which will benefit Sodexo. In effect it's an investment for both parties. Our aim was to identify a new area of work that we could explore more deeply and then apply this intelligence to the social care sector to grow our business and add some real value to this market.

"The benefit of the partnership with MMU has shown itself through the work Amit has done for us with plenty of advice and support from Dr David Atkinson. Involvement in the KTP has given us access to the university and for the business to have the resources of MMU at hand has been a great benefit to have.

"As the KTP has progressed we've realised that our initial position has needed to alter. Our original brief has changed as information has been collated and changes in the market have occurred throughout the year. I think this has provided an additional challenge for Amit as he has had two different masters to please -Sodexo and the university – but he has managed to satisfy both parties.

"We have gathered far more intelligence as a result of the KTP than we would otherwise have been able to. The partnership was a practical option for us and we are pleased with the intelligence it has delivered. The KTP is very much a venture in which you learn as you go along. You have to get involved to learn from things and we've learned a lot from our involvement."

Amit Maniar – Strategic Marketing Specialist, Sodexo Healthcare

After gaining a First Class honours degree in Marketing Management at MMU – which included a year's placement working at Volkswagen's Head Office – Amit Maniar's first full-time position was in on-line advertising.

However, when the opportunity was offered to work as part of a KTP with Sodexo in Manchester, Amit had no regrets in leaving as he saw the partnership as a chance to enhance his future career prospects – and study for a Masters at the same time.

"In comparison to my past work experience, my work for Sodexo has been different to anything I have ever done before. My role has largely involved working on my own initiative and this takes a totally different approach to working as part of a team. I didn't follow anyone in this position and so there was no yardstick to measure myself against.

"Initially, Sodexo arranged for me to spend my first month visiting different parts of the company to familiarise myself with the business and the company culture. Working within healthcare, there's a lot more to consider in comparison with my previous job in advertising – for example getting out of the office and dealing with people face-to-face. Also working around the sensitivities of the NHS with its rules and regulations is a lot more challenging.

"What's really good about the partnership is the way it gets you involved in a clear plan of work from the start. The work I'm involved in is far beyond what I would expect to be doing – or expected to do – in a more conventional position. In my time at Sodexo I've presented to the managing director on a couple of occasions and have a monthly meeting with him. I don't expect I would have had this opportunity as a 'traditional' employee.

"I expected to be in at the deep end from the beginning and so I haven't been surprised with the demands of the KTP. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and to be trusted with a whole project. By the end of my 12 months at Sodexo, I will have a series of recommendations for the company relating to the social care sector with a set of clear foundations and strategic information to back them up.

"The experience of work coupled with the study towards the Masters over the 12 months is priceless and can only help my future career."


Sodexo has an unrivalled reputation for building lasting partnerships with clients through open, transparent relationships based on trust and exceptional performance. In the UK and Ireland, our 35,000 people are striving to improve the quality of daily life at more than 2,300 client locations across all market sectors.


TESCO employee Anastasia Howard today became the 100th student to graduate from a unique degree which is tailor-made to suit the needs of retailers.

Anastasia, 21, began working for the supermarket while studying for A-levels and decided to go on to work-based learning through a Retail Foundation Degree with Manchester Metropolitan University's Commercial Academy.

The Retail Foundation Degree was first developed in partnership with Tesco with the aim of meeting work-force development needs and creating a flexible higher education, university-awarded qualification for the retail industry which would also offer retail employees enhanced career progression.

Anastasia, recently promoted to the position of PA to the Tesco Extra Format Managing Director said, “When I finished my A Levels I wanted to develop, but I wasn't sure that university was for me. When my personnel manager mentioned this degree to me, I thought it was a great opportunity to get the best of both worlds”.

“I knew I wanted to study, but I wanted to work as well, as I think work experience is really important and the things I have learned while studying for this degree have helped me to progress my career and get to where I am today.”

Modules from the foundation degree can be used on a stand alone basis to help staff at supervisory/junior management levels with specific aspects of their job role or collectively to build into a nationally recognised qualification.

The degree is now offered, through the Business School's Commercial Academy to a wide range of retail clients including Tesco, Booths, Halfords, the Southern Coop, George and The Post Office.

Stephen Bainbridge, Director of the Commercial Academy said: “The fact that we are celebrating the 100th graduate from the course and currently have a further 100 learners on the course drawn from 6 major retail organisations demonstrates the demand for and success of quality work-based learning leading to Higher Education qualifications for retail employees”.


Tesco was founded in 1919 by Jack Cohen from a market stall in London's East End. Over the years Tesco's business has grown and now operate in 14 countries around the world, employ over 500,000 people and serve tens of millions of customers every week.

Focus Software Systems

Tim Hayes
KTP Associate
Focus Software Systems

Tim Hayes is working as Marketing Manager at Focus Software Systems as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Before taking up the post he studied Marketing Management at MMU to undergraduate level and is now combining his full-time work with research for his MSc degree.

Tim has been involved with the company for more than a year.

"My first six months – the 'short' KTP – was spent researching the market for a new product and the second period – on the 'long' partnership – has been devoted to its further development.

In my mind the big advantage of the KTP is in the way the project is structured right from the start. You know exactly what is expected of you and so do the partners. There's a very clear path ahead of you and as a result everyone knows where they are and how to measure your success along the way.

"You are in at the deep end from the beginning but I think it's important to be out of your comfort zone as much as possible if you are going to learn and improve. I'm now at a stage where I'm not daunted by being given a project to work on. Focus Software Systems is a small company and as a result I've been fully involved from day one. There's no place to hide in a small business.

I've created the marketing which has opened many doors for the business and many more people within the industry now know about us and what we can do for them. Hopefully this work will ultimately lead to an increase in sales.I'm satisfied that I have developed the marketing capability and so to see this transfer to sales and revenue would give me a great deal of satisfaction at having done a job well.

The KTP has been a great experience for me and a very positive way to combine a very interesting full time paid job with my Masters studies. To be able to put what I have learned into practice so early on in my career is something I never expected to be able to do so soon after graduating."

Paul Coxson
Chief Executive
Focus Software Systems Ltd

Focus Software Systems Ltd based in Old Trafford, Manchester, produces a 'trace product' which enables debt collection agencies to find people.

The software the company produces is highly specialised and its unique features – plus the service the company provides – has created strong customer loyalty. The company are proud to say they have retained all of their customers since the business was created more than 20 years ago.

The problem the business faced was in generating new business for such a niche product and so when MMU approached the company about the Knowledge Transfer Partnership it was seen by the Chief Executive, Paul Coxson, as an opportunity to fill a gap in their business skills.

"We felt we had an excellent product which would benefit from additional marketing skills. As a company this was not our area of expertise and so the chance to employ a quality marketing graduate with the support of the university was an excellent opportunity.

The scheme has provided us with what we were looking for – with the advantage of the support of MMU – at a price we could afford. We were able to minimise the risk of appointing someone at considerable cost who may not have been right for us.

We were very fortunate to find Tim Hayes, our 'KTP Associate', who just gets on with the job and completes tasks with such enthusiasm. We've learned a heck of a lot about marketing as a result. Improvements to the whole way we look – print materials,logo and website – and the numbers of people we now reach. Without Tim and MMU's input we would have made hundreds of wasted phone calls and little else. From the point of view of getting our product to market he's been brilliant.

In terms of success in sales we've struggled a bit but this is down to the economic climate and things beyond our immediate control. We believe we are building up a strong pipeline of business which – once this blockage is removed – we will be in a good position to take advantage of.

People are now coming to us to find out more about what we do and I think this is largely to do with Tim's involvement through the KTP. We have now built up a presence in the industry where people recognise us as a player – where they had never heard of us before. The focus of the involvement has been on investing in the future and its right for the business to do this to ensure our survival.

We knew our product was good but we didn't know how to tell people about it. The partnership has enabled us to get the message right. There are two versions of the KTP – short and long. The 'short' version was all about intelligence gathering and then the 'long' concentrated on where we had to take our product and identified areas where we needed to further develop our software to meet these needs.

In terms of value for the future I think our involvement in the KTP has made the business more dynamic. You have to put the effort in to reap the benefits but we found the right person and the relationship with MMU has been extremely rewarding."