This month's newsletter is being delivered a little earlier than usual (and in time for Christmas). I have learnt that you really have to be careful how you say what you say in emails because a version of last month's e-newsletter was bounced back undelivered, unread and unloved from several corporate inboxes for containing objectionable content. The offensive word was one for obvious reasons I now cannot repeat because the same thing will happen again, but trust me it was part of an, innocent, legitimate and well-intentioned idiomatic phrase. Perhaps this is just a by-product of the information age, with its insatiable need to be connected rubbing up against the equally insatiable modern demand not to say anything that could be construed the wrong way.
December is an interesting month in a Business School. On the one hand, it's when managers are fully engaged with their world of work or study and are conscious of needing to complete the year, finish up, polish off or set in motion things ready for the year to come (as we are doing now in our campaign to recruit for the February DL MBA intake). Alongside this sense of urgency - and in fact also part of it - there is also a focus on the personal, on celebration, tradition and on winding down. Many of you will never have been busier, never have been moving and thinking as fast as you are now - and all at a time when you also need to keep an eye on all the other halves of your lives, the one in which you and those around you are growing up.
I don't think these demands are mutually exclusive, but they are very hard to balance if you haven't answered the fundamental question of what it is that you really want in life. Taking on a venture such as the Henley MBA is a great chance really to ask yourself that question. And celebrating Christmas (or any other end of year festivity) while taking on the Henley MBA might feel like hell - particularly if you have deadlines looming. However, if you take the view that these varied and apparently contrary demands are all part of the same thing, then you can't really make progress in one without the other.
So don't feel guilty about stopping to enjoy yourselves in the next couple of weeks, because at the same time you will be making sense of your development by getting perspective on why you are doing this MBA.
News from Henley around the world
Part of the charm of Henley when you visit is that quintessential Englishness of the house, grounds and surrounding countryside, but we shouldn't forget that the College reaches out to many other parts of the world, and there have been a few developments recently which it might please you to know about.
The first of these involves the re-organisation of Henley in Sweden with IHM and rebranding of the new operation, managed from Denmark, as Henley Nordic. Nordic now covers Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Greenland (yes, we have MBAs there, too!!) and the Faroe Islands. We were also very pleased to announce arrangements to launch MBA intakes in Hong Kong and Malta later in 2008. Actually, re-launch might be more accurate, since Henley has a long history in both places. I hope that there will be other exciting news to give you in 2008 about the MBA in other locations.
Possible Dissertation topic
Dr Susan Rose writes: "I have recently been contacted by a someone who works with the Scottish Enterprise Board. He is working with a company developing a new software that enables online recommendations for products (such as those you get with Amazon, only better). He is looking for some work to be done and it could be something for a Dissertation. If you have any students who are in search of a dissertation topic and interesting in one in the marketing area it may be a useful contact."
Home Straight Community news
Nothing concentrates the mind quite like an immoveable deadline, and for some of you December 31st may be looming like a huge registration ice-berg about to hit the MBA Titanic. As was my own case in the wilderness years of Part Three on the Henley MBA, the time when I was most adrift was the time I really should have been reaching out to Henley and managing my time. It will be no different for you if you have fallen behind or are otherwise struggling to get to the end of the MBA.
The good news is that help is out there. The Home Straight Community is one port of call, and so is the life-raft of re-registration time. The College will write to you when you approach the end of your normal registration period, but it really is up to you to respond. If you need help, guidance, assistance or just information about when your registration is due to end, please get in touch with a Home Straight Tutor or your course administrator where you are studying.
Similarly, if we don't have your current address and contact details, we won't be able to find you, so please make sure you let us know if it changes. Tracing undeliverable emails when sending this newsletter is one way of keeping the database up-to-date, but don't allow something as important your MBA to slip just because you move.
Don't Miss the Bus...
Whilst I'm on that subject, this is a quick reminder to any of you who are working at Part Two of the MBA that as we move across to the delivery of the new curriculum, you will need to make sure that you complete your Part Two assignments within registration and, vitally, that you book to sit the Part Two exam no later than September or December 2008. The December Part Two exam will be the last.
The last piece of news is about me. I'm pleased to tell you that I have received a promotion from Programme Leader to Director of Studies for the Distance Learning MBA, taking over from Professor Jane McKenzie.
So with best wishes from all the staff and faculty at Henley, we look forward to seeing you in 2008.