Commercial Mini MBA


Event summary

If you need to develop commercial acumen and skills in your work as a professional or manager in the public sector, then the new CIPFA Commercial Mini MBA is designed for you.

Locations vary for this course in Warrington. Please see below for the locations of each session.


30 May 2018 09:00
07 Nov 2018 17:00


The Base, Warrington
Dallam Lane
[See map]

Standard price

£1,900.00 excl VAT

*the event has started.

About this event

Many public sector professionals now work or are likely to be working in a more commercial environment. Sometimes you will be in a 'hybrid' organisation such as a trust, arm's-length company or joint venture. Even if you work inside a public sector body you may be working in a much more commercial culture. The common thread is the need for a commercial approach to planning, designing and delivering services while retaining your public sector ethos.


The focus of the new CIPFA Commercial Mini MBA is you and your fellow participants using your knowledge, skills and contacts developed during the course to build work-related plans with specific actions.

Course outline

The new CIPFA Commercial Mini MBA consists of one two-day introductory sessions and three one-day topic specific sessions spread over about four months. Additionally there are two half-day facilitated 'Action Research sessions' which represents six days in total. 

The workshops will use a mix of practical exercises based on scenarios and case studies to which you can apply your own experiences helped by experienced facilitators with commercial experience who will cover the core commercial topics.

For the Action Research sessions the group will be split into two which will mean that facilitators can work with you in a more informal way compared to the main workshops. The Action Research sessions will be scheduled early on and at the end of the whole programme. The first Action Research session will focus on planning your contribution to your organisation’s commercial approach and the second Action Research session will focus on the model of the new commercial organisation and the actions necessary to bring it about.

The business case for attending

You will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to think commercially so you can plan and act more flexibly and specifically:

  • identify and exploit more commercial opportunities faster
  • change your own and your colleagues’ attitudes toward opportunities and risk and become more 'risk savvy'
  • know what is possible, legally, financially, politically and from a managerial standpoint.

For you personally, it is a chance to develop or consolidate a critically important and scarce skill-set for the public sector. For your organisation, their investment will be repaid as you use what you gain on the programme to improve your organisation’s commercial strategies and operations.

The new CIPFA Commercial Mini MBA should be especially attractive to you if you can attend as a group with your leadership and management team, or if you are planning to operate or actually operating more commercially so that your team can jointly work on their plans and actions.

Course details

Workshop one, two days, 30 & 31 May 2018: Strategies for commercialism

The Base, Warrington WA2 7NG
  • The competitive landscape and the analysis and planning needed including business and commercial strategy, organisational development, IT, legal and governance issues.
  • Governance and structures – what are the various types of corporate structures that are politically and legally possible, roles of directors and board members and how to establish them.
  • Business, commercial, risk and asset strategies – what the strategic options are and how to identify ones that are useful and communicate them to the right people.
  • Analysing the current organisation and its cultural preparedness for a commercial approach, developing a change management strategy.

Action research session one, half-day

The first Action Research session will focus on planning for a commercial approach.

The remaining workshops will take place at the Quattro, Warrington WA1 1NJ

Workshop two, one day, 11 July 2018: Finance for commercialism  

  • The basics of commercial finance and how it helps decision makers and managers.
  • Jargon-busting cash flow, profit, cost behaviour, competitive pricing and value.
  • Business case preparation, due diligence guide, legal powers, state aid, taxation managing for cash, profit and investment.
  • Constraints on freedom of action in public sector organisations.

Workshop three, one day,  6 September 2018: Marketing a commercial service 

  • Focus on the customer and the 'value proposition' – balancing what they want and what you can deliver commercially.
  • Service innovation, identifying new products and services.
  • Creating and nurturing enduring relationships with stakeholders, effective communications, contracting and negotiating.

Workshop four, one day, 7 November 2018: Operationalising a commercial approach  

  • Overview of possible commercial approaches to serving the market and the implications for the organisation’s strategic aims, its customers and staff.
  • Process management essentials, service improvement and optimisation, focusing on the right things and monitoring the right indicators.
  • Project management essentials.

Action research session two, half-day

The second Action Research session will focus on implementation of a commercial approach.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding this course please contact us on E: or T: 020 7543 5600.


  • Commercialisation
  • / Leadership
  • / Transformation

Speaker - Brendan McCarron: Academy Facilitator and CIPFA Senior Associate

Brendan McCaron

Brendan is CIPFA’s Senior Leadership and Development Consultant, tasked with designing and delivering a number of major CIPFA programmes. He leads CIPFA’s Leadership Academy for Serving and Aspiring CFOs in the UK and for the Government of Canada. He is also heavily involved in CIPFA’s finance business partnering work and in change management assignments in the UK and in Europe. E:, T: 0207 543 5603.

Speaker - Paul Gillion

Paul Gillion

Paul Gillion has been training finance to delegates of all levels from both the private and the public sector for the last 20 years. With over a decade of global experience as both an external auditor and a financial controller he brings his subject to life with an engaging and practical approach.

Paul qualified as a chartered accountant, working as an external auditor in England and France on audits of some of Europe’s largest companies. He then moved to work as a financial controller with a FTSE 100 company before becoming a training consultant in 1997.

Speaker - Adrian Priddle

Adrian Priddle

Adrian helps his clients grow their people in the fields of business development and leadership. His passion is for the power of networking and relationships in driving business and people forward, to achieve this Adrian delivers classroom based learning, group and one to one coaching and has published a book of his networking tips ‘Now Network’.

Adrian has worked with FTSE 100 organisations, top-20 professional service firms, top-30 law firms and financial service providers. He also has experience in the manufacturing and leisure sectors and with regulatory bodies.

He gained a fantastic grounding in business, people management and relationship development through his prior career as a senior audit manager with Deloitte. Adrian spent 12 years auditing football clubs, high street retail clients and manufacturers, these ranged from listed organisations through to owner managed businesses.