Saturday, November 01, 2008

October newsletter

Dear all,

Rituals can play an important role in the creation of a sense of belonging. Twice yearly the graduation at Henley is such an event; a regular and reassuring milestone in the life of the school. As with all rituals, it engenders a sense of tradition and can create a feeling of stability and connection. There is also the risk that a ritual can become formulaic and formalised, hiding rather than revealing, so it’s always a fine balance. I probably wasn’t alone in feeling that this month’s afternoon graduation ceremony at Greenlands, despite the evident mix of nerves, pleasure and meaning for the individuals graduating, was in danger of becoming rather mechanical. Then the Dean announced the presentation of a posthumous award of the MBA to a distance learning candidate who died tragically just after dissertation submission. His MBA was collected on the stage by his young son, who can only have been about 9 or 10 years old. It was a task no-one would have wished on him, and he performed with quiet assurance and strong dignity - a dignity which did not diminish after he had sat down and, after a moment, the tears came.

I don’t think anyone attending was untouched, and probably in as many different ways as there graduands, guests, staff and faculty. For me, the feeling was one of a sudden shift in focus from the very immediate to extend out to a web of meanings outside the marquee.

Home Straight Community Up-date

There was another Home Straight meeting at Greenlands a day after the graduation ceremony. Roughly 35 people were in attendance and Richard and Mike ran excellent sessions identifying and focusing on some key elements of getting the Dissertation started, keeping it going or polishing it off. One of the previous day’s graduands, Neil Faulkes, gave a short presentation of his journey and Dissertation database tutor Ken Bull was also on hand to advise and guide people to some of the online resources, including the online bibliographic databases and the Dissertation Builder.

The Community continues to see successes in helping members to submit within registration and now the idea is being exported to other modes of MBA study.

Dissertation Clinic

The next Dissertation Clinic at Henley is due to be held on December 2nd at Greenlands. If you’d like to attend, please contact Sue Thomas on as soon as possible.

Research Corner x 2

Claudia Luca, from HB28, writes: “Ever wondered how your distance learning compares to full-time campus study? This dissertation seeks to validate the idea that distance learning students are more likely to gain the knowledge and skills that will benefit their future careers compared with students who choose a full-time campus experience. The online survey below will take just 60 seconds of your time and as a special incentive you can enter a free prize draw and could win £100 of high-street vouchers sponsored by my employer Resource Development International. Please click the link below to begin your survey: [link removed for blog entry] Thank you for your participation and good luck with the prize draw!"

Anthony Singer, from HB30, sent me this: “I’m hoping to have the research squared-away in November and any extra responses from my MBA colleagues would be much appreciated. My dissertation is looking at how managers rate public relations as an organizational function and the consequences of a PR department’s reputation on its ability to do its job. So I’m looking for managers across all disciplines and industries (who are not communications specialists) who wouldn’t mind sparing 12-15 minutes to take a survey of their views of public relations.

It can be found at [link removed for blog entry]. A copy of the results will go to participants on request.”

If you are in need of respondents for your survey, or on the hunt for a dissertation topic, let me know.

Course Reps Meeting

Thanks to those who attended on the 24th October. Aside from dealing with the usual agenda items, we were given a presentation about the new branding and image Henley Business School has adopted, and everyone was able to meet Professor John Hendry, Deputy Dean and Head of the School of Management. We also looked at the initial data from the 2008 Annual Survey. The scores will soon be posted on HenleyConnect in the programme support or programme information area. The next reps meeting will be in May 2009. Reading is very keen on promoting student involvement.

Wi-Fi at Greenlands

The Wi-Fi is now up and running with hot-spots in many public areas. We will be issuing logins and passwords over time, and these will allow you access whilst on-site and also wherever you come across the Eduroam-web Wi-Fi network (used on many campuses). If you are coming to Henley before you have received your login, you can request a temporary guest login from the reception. This will remain active while you are on-site.

This Wi-Fi login will also act as your access data for the University of Reading library. Liz Osman, of the Greenlands library writes, “For MBAs, borrowing rights will be granted at the same time as electronic rights. You will not have any borrowing rights etc at Reading Library until they have received their Reading username and password, after they have been added to Reading’s databases. This is the key to unlocking all the services. Alumni do not have rights at the University of Reading Library aside from reference access. Anyone can access the University of Reading Library for reference purposes, regardless of whether they have been issued their username and password.”

Henley on LinkedIn

There are now over 3,400 members of this group. LinkedIn have been adding some features to enhance the group area, including the ability to link to news stories which might be of interest to others and discussion threads. There’s a good one running now asking whether Henley was the right choice (like there’s any doubt?).
If you’re on LinkedIn, you can apply to join the group, but please remember to have your profile up-to-date and accurate about Henley first.

IBE Elective, Budapest March 2009

One for the diaries of anyone beyond either their ISP or IMP on the MBA is this week-ling elective on International Business Environment, which will run next March in Hungary. Full details and sign up are available in the electives area on HenleyConnect.

Calendar of events

Linda Thorne informs me that the following event is coming up and is open to you:

Accenture - David Mann, Managing Director of Management Consulting for the UK & Ireland
Henley Business School, Greenlands
Tuesday 11 November 2008Registration from 6.00pm, Presentation 6.30pmFree to Students & Alumni (£10-00 for Guests)

David Mann, Managing Director of Management Consulting for the UK & Ireland – David is responsible for Accenture’s management consulting practice of 1500 professionals. He is a strategy practitioner with a focus on corporate strategy specifically as regards to M&A, finance and operating model design and implementation. In addition to his client work with leading multi nationals, David is a frequent speaker on thought leadership within the firm. David was one of the 3 authors for the original Accenture High Performing Business paper which was recently named by the Harvard Business Review as one of the ten most notable initiatives in the field during the past quarter century. David is a graduate of the University of Technology, Sydney, NSW and has a Masters of Finance and Accounting from the same institution and has an MBA from INSEAD. To reserve a place please email Linda Thorne.

You can also find out other event details at

Next month I’ll be giving you one of my occasional run-downs of numbers of assignments being presented to the Programme Examiners Meeting (which used to be called the Board of Examiners), as well as info on the average grades being achieved.


Oeuf said...


Re the Graduation in October, agree the posthumous award was very moving. But then, the whole day was; for me, it was the culmination of five and a half years of intense distance learning and the opening up of a big new world, peopled with like-minded peers and exciting opportunities.

It had long been an ambition of mine to achieve a degree (I have no first degree) and to have my mother and father attend the ceremony, so at the end of my close association with Greenlands, I had my ending as much as I had a beginning. As usual, the sun came out to bless the proceedings and I don't think I've ever felt as proud.

So, whilst I understand your initial feelings of familiarity with the process, never forget how new and incredibly wonderful it is for us graduands. I'm a Henley graduate now and I walk taller just thinking about it. My wish now is to retain an association with the college (sorry, business school!) through the Alumni. I'll continue to read your blog too; keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

I also graduated some time ago and follow the blog. One great thing is that it's clear even when read on a BlackBerry.