Forgive me if I use the word 'College' numerous times in this month's message - like many here I feel the need to say it as much as possible until July 31st, when I shall (with equal fervour) start referring to the 'Business School' instead.
Long-time recipients of these newsletters will have noted that they often feature the River Thames. The river is something we take as an integral part of experiencing Henley, though it’s clear that it has been flowing past this site for a lot longer than the 60 years of the existence of the College. The Thames gives a sense both of constant flow and unchanging continuity, which are great business metaphors not lost on those working or studying in the College (a place one recently retired member of staff described, affectionately, as the “Home for the Bewildered").
Here we are almost on the eve of the move from Management College to Business School. If this month's newsletter had a soundtrack to match the mood at Henley in July, it would probably consist of two competing medleys of hits. Out of one speaker on your PC, Lap-top or earphones would come the type of song that makes one reminisce; "Those Were The Days", “Don’t Dream It’s Over” or perhaps “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. Out of the other speaker would come uplifting tunes that look ahead, such as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, “Come Together” and, most emphatically, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”.
It is quite often asked what we are losing and what are we gaining. On one level, I suppose you could say that we’re losing our independence, some rather idiosyncratic but effective ways of delivering our programmes, and being synonymous with just one particular (high-end) segment of the management education market. And I suppose, were you to continue, you might equally say that we are gaining critical mass and long-term viability, some economies of scale in vital support functions, plus a market reach that should enable us to invest in all aspects of the Henley MBA. By the way, some of these gains will be quick wins, such as much-needed up-dates to some of the facilities (new toilets!), the introduction of free Wi-Fi at Greenlands, and access to you all to the extensive library and e-learning resources at Reading. Others will take more time to emerge and will require both institutions to learn the language of the other before seeing the synergy that will be the litmus test of the merger.
So there will no doubt be a few contemplative faces, a lot of sharing of stories and no doubt even a tear or two on July 31st. Whether we take this new opportunity to place the Henley name among the world's great Business Schools depends on more than one factor but the continued support and involvement of you, our programme members, is certainly one of them. Over the coming months, I will endeavour to keep you all up to date with the key changes, as well as sharing some of the ups and downs that will no doubt also be part of the journey. For now, though, here are July's stories, starting with some post-merger changes:
Henley Business School launches August 1st
Many parts of the College will become part of the School of Management, Henley Business School, from August. Henley Business School will officially exist on two campuses, of which Greenlands will be one. For any of you who attend workshops in the UK, nothing will change in terms of where you come and where you find administrators and tutors. The PowerGen library will continue, and you will also be able to use the University of Reading Library. Expanded e-library facilities will also come on stream for you in due course. Our website will change, but I'm told that it will be very obvious on the new site where you need to sign in for access to your e-Learning area. If in doubt, feel free to bookmark the screen you arrive at now after you have entered your user name and password.
Email addresses of staff and faculty will also be changing. However, the existing College ones will still work for some time to come, and will be redirected to us all. Replies to you, however, will come from our new email addresses. Most of us working on the Henley MBA will have new email formats. Recent briefings by various colleagues at Reading have shown us that there is a huge amount of well-organised information about how the University operates on their main web site, and I understand that we will also be contacting you all with a number of other important "things to know". Do please remember that all your existing contacts, administrators, tutors and so on remain in place, so we will continue to support you as now. In August’s e-newsletter, I will also be giving you all an up-date on ‘who is who’ in the new Business School.
We broke through the 3,000 member barrier in the Henley group on LinkedIn earlier this month. I understand that the Henley group is now included in a searchable Group Directory. If you are requesting access to this group and your email address was not already preloaded, then it will be reviewed as ‘pending’. It’s sometimes hard to judge this if you haven’t filled in the education section…
One of our programme members, Rohan Badenhorst, is looking to conduct experimental field research (intervention group vs. a control group) for his dissertation around themes involving business social collaborative and (social) networking tools. This can be based around new or existing projects and themes or factors he is interested in exploring include:
Project Management Governance
ICT skills base (People dimension)
Communication styles & techniques
Educational & training philosophy and practices already imbedded in the organisation
Changed or changing People Management practices
Ideally Rohan is looking to conduct this research in a project management based organisation; however, there might be added value in more ‘operationally’ focused organizations exploring factors that will assist in successful projects / programmes implementation. Rohan is willing to discuss methodologies and timeframes with organizations keen to engage in field research studies fitting the above brief outline description. Rohan is a qualified Managing Successful Programmes (TM) practitioner and brings this skill set and discipline to the research organisation's table.
If you have, or are searching for, a suitable topic for someone else as their capstone MBA project, please let me know and I’ll happily advertise it here.
Home Straight Community News
Richard and Mike report that progression out of the Home Straight Community (i.e. people handing in their delayed Dissertations) has been very good, which is a great endorsement of their dedication and attention to detail, as well as the pulling power of being part of a group of other sufferers in the same boat. The community last month welcomed those members of intake HB29 who had reached the Dissertation due date with no end in sight. We will be organizing the next Community event here at Henley probably at the end of October, so keep an eye out for that.
Also of relevance to those of you at elective stage of the MBA is the news that we are planning to run an International Business Environment elective study trip to a European destination some time in March 2009. This is a 50 hour elective, with some group assessed work, which provides an excellent opportunity to view strategic business issues in a new location. Complete details will be posted on the electives portal online in the coming month or so.
2008 Annual Survey
Watch out for a separate email coming to you from me in the next few days. This will be an invitation to participate in the 2008 Annual Survey of Programme Members. Last year, just over 200 of you took the time out to complete this online, so thank you. If you haven’t done this before, it might be an interesting way of adding your input, sharing your concerns or piling on your praise!
I am asked to remind you all that you need to keep your contact addresses up-to-date on the Henley system. Over the years of study, it is not uncommon to be moving home or job more than once, and if the address we have to send you important documentation or materials is no longer valid, it puts you in jeopardy of failing to be informed. You can up-date your personal contacts, including preferred email, by logging in to your e:Assignments portal.
It’s possible that a few of you now at the end of your MBA studies may have come across a strategy professor named Terry Garrison, who retired from the Henley faculty in 2007, though he remained actively involved with Henley in a number of ways. Sadly Terry died suddenly in June. Terry was one of the ‘old school’ Henley faculty, with feet in both camps of academia and business. A great teller of anecdotes (some of which were quite amazingly blue), urbane and always ready to spend time in explanation in the class or as a supervisor, he will really be missed.
That’s it. Le HMC est mort. Vive le HBS!!
Director of Studies, DL MBA