With diverse workforces, management consultant companies need to tailor training schemes to suit individual clients. European HR Frontiers talks to Oz Hussein from MDA Training about its range of specialised simulations.

Please could you describe the history of MDA Training?

Oz Hussein: MDA Training was set up in 1988 by Professor Walter Reid, a former professor at London Business School. He identified an opportunity in the marketplace for tailored financial and commercial leadership training, with an emphasis on practical application.

MDA Training quickly grew, securing contracts with major companies and financial institutions across the world. The company now has seven offices worldwide and portfolio of learning products that are genuinely unique to the marketplace. They range from graduate and leadership development to commercial skills development.

What kind of experiential training techniques do you offer?

MDA firmly believes that people learn more from active engagement than passive listening. That’s why its in-class and online business simulations encourage customers to learn by doing. There are no preset outcomes with the simulations, or computers to beat. Instead, the simulations are focused on people and business challenges, just like in the real world.

Every simulation is unique to MDA’s clients. They enable participants to directly experience how to go about their business, immersing them in their organisation’s behaviours, values and principles.

How does this approach help MDA to engage people across different sectors?

The business simulations are so effective because they engage people intellectually and emotionally, while skilled trainers and facilitators enrich the experience further. MDA doesn’t offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Instead, it has a range of simulations all carefully designed to reflect specific sectors and industry dynamics, creating powerful learning experiences that are relevant, focused and insightful. It also tailors simulations to closely reflect clients’ specific learning needs. This is achieved by working closely with them.

MDA’s diverse list of world-class clients is testament to its ability to develop close working relationships and consistently deliver the learning outcomes sought by its customers. To give you an idea of the firm’s breadth of experience, it has a portfolio of more than 20 simulations for financial services and seven for professional services.

These include ‘Driving commercial success’ and ‘A day in the life of a partner’. At the same time, MDA offers a number of services for the corporate sector more broadly. For example, one simulation focuses on managing risk, while another highlights the importance of project management in successful businesses.

What sets MDA apart from its competitors?

The company has robust experience helping its clients improve their financial and operating performance through learner-centred training programmes. This ensures that experiential learning events create real value for participants and generate a substantial return on investment for clients. MDA also understands that sometimes tailoring its existing simulations is not enough. That’s why some clients choose us to develop experiential activities from scratch, based on their specific products and services. While MDA is famous for creating unique learning and development products, its clients increasingly ask for a more bespoke service, especially given that many offices have recent graduates and baby boomers working together. The experiential simulations have proved very effective at engaging employees of all ages.

What plans do you have for the future?

MDA constantly evolves its business simulations to reflect the needs of its clients and the commercial issues they face. Its continued success is based on constantly innovating and redesigning what it does. This helps the company meet the changing demands of the various sectors it works with. MDA’s dedicated digital learning team is constantly suggesting new technology to enhance the company’s experiential learning portfolio.


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