Many years ago I used to enjoy listening to the live football commentary on the radio on Saturday afternoons. I can recall that at a certain point during the early part of the second half the commentator would always say "welcome to listeners on the World Service". This didn't really mean anything to me until I myself went left the UK to work abroad in 1987. Behind the Iron Curtain, with no access to the Internet (of course) and speaking none of the language of my new country, I used to rely on the BBC World Service to connect with home; music from John Peel plus the Saturday sports commentary. Thus I became one of those listeners welcomed from outside for the last part of the game. This helped me realise the importance of reaching out, and being reached out to, in order to belong. Getting the same message as everyone else kept me in touch in many different ways, and helped me through the transition from blinkered Brit to wide-eyed European (or so I like to think).
So, it is at this point that I'd now like to welcome to this newsletter for the first time College members from the Henley worldwide Associate Network who have started their MBA this year, including locations where the Henley Distance Learning MBA is offered around Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and New Zealand.
Each month in these emails, my aim is partly to look back to try and inform everyone of some of the things that have been going on at the College, and partly look forward to what is coming up. In so doing, I also reflect on where we are and who we are. As such, it tends to be a little personal and informal, so bear with me...
As always, this newsletter will be re-posted to my Blog. I'm still looking to link this blog to anyone else's, so if you are keeping one, please let me know.
This month has been as hectic as any other. We welcomed our latest Henley-based intake, HB35, for their first workshop and hosted Intake 28 for their final one, covering the Dissertation. The Henley MBA is changing, but what remains the same is the fact that it is in almost all cases a giant self-development step, and viewing two intakes at opposite ends of the schedule just reinforced that.
Home Straight Community up-date
Richard Lacey and Mike Green report more success stories in the Home Straight, with several of you now at dissertation submission or beyond, and many others feeling more energised and better informed about how to tackle the final stages of the MBA when the schedule seems to have left you in the lurch.
The private community blog now has 43 contributors, and if you are in Intake 26 or below and looking for support or solace, please contact me for an invitation to the Blog, or either Richard Lacey or Mike Green for further info.
In last month's e-newsletter I asked for volunteers to assist with a conjoint analysis research project. Thanks to those of you that did. Early results from Henley enrolled participants show that a] accreditation, b] active career and personal development, and c] a blend of workshop, teamwork and online are what you look for in your MBA. The next step will be to widen the research to include people like you who have not yet started their MBA, or are studying somewhere else.
There was a second survey on your view of the Henley Reputation, which is also still ongoing. If you'd like to participate, the link to click is (only via email).
Next month I will be announcing the launch of the Henley DL MBA Annual Survey, my annual feedback fest on all aspects of your programme.
'Lies, damned lies and Statistics' is a quote ascribed to Benjamin Disraeli and often used to express frustration at the way numbers are used, abused and misused to make a point. Within Distance Learning, some other schools are somewhat 'economical with the truth' about their progression and completion statistics (sometimes quite understandably, I suspect).
My view is that our job is to present a realistic picture. This is, after all, the most demanding way to get a most demanding degree at the most demanding time of your lives, so our job is first to acknowledge this and second put in place as many mechanisms to help you keep on track as possible. That's why, for instance, you go through this MBA as part of a Learning Team in an Intake, and why you have a Personal Tutor.
I thought I'd share with you some completion data for some of the older Henley-based MBA Intakes. Bear in mind that it can (in practice as well as theory) take up to six years to graduate, so these will be figures for intakes that may have started studying in the late 1990s...
[Data restricted, as this is a public blog].
The positive message here is that the improvement in progression and completion we wanted to see with the advent and intervention of the Personal Tutors is beginning to show itself. We hope that the dedicated forum created with the Henley Home Straight will prevent more people from 'falling off the edge' at the end of the MBA. Add to this the excellent facilities available in the Henley dissertation database and e-Library, and there is no reason why you should not have the support you need up to proposal submission.
Phil Vokins' charity everything-athon
Since it was also mentioned last month, a quick up-date on Phil's exploits to raise 4,000 GBP the Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign. Phil is already over half way to his target after only one event. Well done to him and hopefully an inspiration to others in the Henley community?
To find out more, and to donate, visit his web page at www.justgiving.com/phils2007events. If you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in Gift Aid can be added to your donation with tax relief at no cost to you.
Many of you will already be aware, to varying degrees, of this networking site. Several people have been asking whether Henley would consider setting up an MBA group on Linkedin and I can confirm that we are looking into doing this. I hope to have more information by next month's newsletter.
Henley Members' Day - July 7th
For those you who will be in the UK and who would prefer to avoid sitting in front of the TV or completing an assignment, another quick reminder of Henley Members Day, where you and your family may enjoy the grounds, bring a picnic, eat strawberries and cream and take in the Regatta Week atmosphere. Full details can be found on the Henley web site at http://www.henleymc.ac.uk/henleymc03.nsf/pages/alumni_events
Let's hope that the recent rainy weather stays away that day.
The MBA in 6 words
I received a number of replies to this request. Here are the best:
"A strong sense of personal triumph"
"What will I do with this?"
DL MBA Programme Leader