Yesterday evening several of us went to central London for the MBA fair organised by AMBA. If you have ever been along to a fair, you will know they are somewhat bizarre (or perhaps just bazaar), a hotel ballroom with jumble-sale tables and the crazy presupposition that a manager will compare, select and even decide on which MBA to take on the basis of short 'visits' to the various schools in the room.
Whilst it is certainly true that Henley benefits primarily on word-of-mouth as its best form of recruitment (and with that in mind, I should plug the forthcoming June intake here!!) I find that MBA Fairs are good for two things:
1. they are an excellent tool for thinking about and then learning how to express succinctly what makes Henley distinctive. This is an often asked question. Frankly, it is best to have a Programme Member to hand to answer that from a learner's perspective (as we did yesterday - thank you Andrew Nagberi). My own answer revolves around four things - an Intake full of depth of experience and width of background, a practical, integrated curriculum that develops the ability to see and think strategically, an environment conducive to and focused only on management education, and an attention to your personal development that assumes you already hold the key to your own success. If I'm way off the mark, please let me know!
2. they are even better as places to listen to people like you, and actually that is why I enjoy them. Asking questions of the people who come up to the Henley stand is a great way to communicate to them that Henley expects people to take charge of their own learning. Or perhaps I'm just naturally curious.
Anyway, I would encourage you to think about coming along to an event some time. If nothing else, it will make you think about why you are on the MBA.
MBA Home Straight Community
As you may recall, in last month's newsletter I told you about a plan to launch a group within the DL MBA aimed at all those at Part Three who were behind schedule on completing their dissertation. We decided to call this the "Home Straight Community" and two experienced tutors, Richard Lacey and Mike Green, were appointed to co-ordinate.
The first community event took place at the College on April 21st and was very well attended. Richard and Mike spent some time focusing on many of the most common aspects of the process that people find difficult and also on where the best resources are, in particular the Dissertation area on the eLearning site, run by Ken Bull.
We also tried to allow space for those present (some 35 of you) to get into groups to share next steps. Interestingly, people naturally gravitated to groups that corresponded to four key phases along the dissertation route - a] not yet started, b] pre-proposal, c] post proposal, doing literature review, research methodology, and d] post lit review, doing or done the fieldwork.
A special blog has been set up at http://henleyhomestraight.blogspot.com/. It's private, so you won't see it unless you have been invited to register. All those attending have already been invited, and if you are in Intake 26 or lower and would like to follow and contribute, drop me an email.
Another opportunity to get involved with some research
You may recall in previous newsletters call from Mike Griffiths, an alumnus of the College for assistance with some really interesting research projects, several of which were useful for people in the dissertation phase of their MBA. Mike writes again:
"we are a small consulting firm called PDN based in the UK and US (since we last spoke we acquired another firm and our previous firm CSI has been rolled into this larger firm PDN) and have been invited to share our collective experience to an audience of 300 HR Directors on May 8-9th on the most pressing culture issues today and how you can maximize Human Resources' impact across the company.
I would be very grateful if you might put me in touch with current MBA students with strong investigative skills and an affinity for this subject who could work with me to collate the existing research available. There are four specific areas we have been asked to comment on:
1. Creating a cost cutting culture that doesn't kill morale
2. When leaders need to change culture. What is the leader's role in changing culture. How much does their personality and leadership style affect cultural change?
3. Creating cultures for growth - what are the cultures that are most predictive of growth?
4. Cultural issues in mergers and acquisitions Is there research that demonstrates that culture affects performance? Where are the most compelling examples of culture helping produce high performance?
The general theme is “What are the typical approaches to and models of culture diagnosis and change and how can they practically be applied by leaders, HR Dirs and their teams? And throughout all of these subjects we need to examine where HR has played an important part and what is HR's potential role in creating and changing culture in the future? It's very important for this audience that we not only provide practical tools and ideas but we have cases where things have worked and failed.
"If this is close to anyone's heart and they have time, I will happily pass on your details to Mike. I think there would be some excellent networking and mentoring opportunities in return.
The BBC's What Not To Wear
I know you are generally a dapper lot, but here's a chance to boost visibility your start-up business and learn a few sartorial tips:"The BBC's What Not to Wear is back for a new series and are currently looking for entrepreneurs who feel their appearance is holding their business back. Image is key when running a successful business, especially if you are the face of the company, get this wrong and it could have drastic affects on your turnover. We want to find 60 people who fall into this category and within those 60 two will go forward for a life changing makeover. We are aiming to find all 60 by the end of April - can you help?"Anyone interested in this can either let me know, or contact Janet Till at Henley
Personnel changes at the College
From time to time it is useful to let you know of some of the changes in key positions here at Henley. Our Dean, Jean-Noel Ezingeard, will be leaving in July and he will be replaced by Abby Ghobadian.
Several other faculty members to go include Trevor Long, Vic Dulewicz and Chris Head. We're all sad to see them leave, but I'm glad to say that many will return as Visiting Fellows. I'm also glad to say that the team administering your programme (Susan, Natalie and Charlotte) remains firmly in place!
Other changes include the departure of Phil O'Neil as Director of Operations. He is replaced by Nigel Francis.
We're looking forward now to May, which will include a fairly gregarious Intake 29 Part Three start and - of course - the Graduation ceremony on the 26th. It's also the month one begins to see more activity on the river in front of Greenlands, and you know that summer has arrived.