Thursday, November 23, 2006

November e-Newsletter

Hello all,

The other morning I hit a deer while driving through the countryside to work. It really mucked up my day. According to Defra, there may are between 25 and 50,000 road traffic accidents involving deer each year in the UK. There are a lot of cars on the roads but since there are also apparently more deer roaming wild now than there were in medieval times, it is not at all surprising to find that accidents happen. Not surprising when they do, but still quite shocking.

If you will permit me to mangle an analogy, the distance learning MBA is bit like a long drive. You can plan your route, fuel your car, drive carefully and considerately, shout at the kids in the back, take rest breaks, but you also never know when something is going to step out in front of you and do some damage. Dealing, or not dealing, with the unexpected on the MBA is a major challenge and reinforces many of benefits of developing a strong support network within your intake. Keeping in touch with other Programme Members is probably the most effective way of maintaining motivation. Your Personal Tutor (your roadside assistance?) is another, and as reported in the last summer's annual questionnaire nearly 70% of you have used your personal tutor during your studies. In many cases, you may also be able to work with the College administration when things get tough. The worst thing to do, and the thing that feeds non-completion statistics, is to stay silent.

Here endeth the first lesson. This month's newsletter will have more news on assignment grades, an up-date on how the Optional Skills Workshop went, an appeal for more MBA interest in a project via Mike Griffith and news of a chance to join the Modular and Evening MBA students on the International Management Week study trips.

Henley-Based DL Assessment Statistics

Earlier in the year I shared with you the annual averages on grades for assignments and exams. Since figures are released at each of the quarterly Board of Examiners meetings, I thought I'd pass on the latest. It should make you feel better about your own progress by placing it in context.

In the third quarter of 2006, there were 163 Foundations of Management assignments marked. The mean grade was B-, and there were no fails. For Managing Information, there were 154 marked, mean mark was B and no fails. Managing People, 197 marked, B- and two fails. In the Part One exam, 167 people sat, the average mark was C and there were 6 fails. In the same period, 7 people resat this exam, and all of them passed, though the average was D+.

At Part Two, 142 Managing Marketing assignments were marked, with an average grade of B-, with one fail. 126 Managing Performance assignments produced an average mark of B, with again one fail. Managing Financial Resources had 141 assignments, average mark B and one fail. At the exam, the average from 130 people was C and four people failed. One person resat their Part Two exam, and passed. For the Project Management MBA, 13 sat the exam, two failed and the average grade was C. One Project Manager resat, and passed, their Part Two exam.

In Part Three, 138 ISPs were marked, average grade was B and none were failed. In the exam, 158 members sat, average grade was C+ and two failed. As for Dissertation, 138 were graded, average mark was B and four failed. The most popular elective in this period was Leadership, and of the 47 people who submitted the assignment, none failed. The average grade was B.

Optional Skills Workshop Weekend

We were able to run seven of the planned eight half-day sessions. I will be very interested to get the feedback from those who were there on both how effective individual sessions were, and also on the overall structure of using a weekend chunk in this way. Often the benefits of such events are not felt until some time later; things brought to light in a workshop suddenly begin to resonate in other areas of work or career, so I will be asking for thoughts in the New Year. One thing to know is whether this should be every six or every twelve months. A side benefit for many of those who were there was the chance to meet programme members from other Intakes, so I am keen to encourage this as well.

Appeal for help

Another opportunity has come up, via Mike Griffith, this time at short notice on behalf of a Senior Director in Cisco (Cisco is the global leader in internet network infrastructure and services) responsible for their Strategic Consulting Emerging Markets division. She needs someone to help research the critical success factors around transforming emerging countries in particular how telecommunications are enabling their unprecedented growth for one of the largest telecommunications conferences of the year ITU 3G World Congress and Mobility Marketplace Dec 4-7th in Hong KongShe has asked for help from an MBA student to help synthesise the key insights from research. She would then be very happy to work directly with them in helping preparing key messages in her speech at this conference. Assuming the work was of a high quality she would be very happy to provide a testimonial. Ideally she is looking for someone who has understands the issues and opportunities around the growth of emerging economies and has some experience in growing those markets through telecommunications. This is a great opportunity to effectively consult to a Senior Director at Cisco. If you are interested, please contact Mike

International Management Week

Places are available for DL and students on the Modular and Evening MBA international management visits in March 2007 to Budapest, Cape Town, Hong Kong and St Petersburg. These will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis (currently with fewest places available for Hong Kong).

Participation and assignment submission (with the exception of Project Management MBA) counts as an elective (International Business Environment), so is a great way of gaining experience and progression.

The aim of the study visit is to maximise the learning about:· The international business environment in general and secondly and more importantly,· The interface between the organisations visited and the national business environment they work inThe one week visit forms the foundation for this elective. While you are away you will participate in a variety of company visits and lectures by local faculty and managers. The companies to be visited have been chosen to provide a strategic window through which these two facets of the operating environment can be explored. The relevant environmental features that are being addressed include politics and economics; social, technological, legal, environmental and cultural factors and industry competition issues.

Detailed timetables for each destination will be available much nearer the time of departure, but if you would like to know more, please contact Marcia Doughty directly. Please note the charges are as follows: Budapest - £1600, St Petersburg - £1700, Cape Town & Hong Kong - £1900 and students also have to arrange their own flights and visas (if necessary).

I know from past experience of hosting the Budapest trips that they are intensive and very rewarding. I hope to be accompanying the group to Budapest and it would be great to have involvement from DL MBAs.

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