One of the key aspects of the MBA that has been drummed into my class over the last 2 weeks is the need for both autonomy and teamwork, for solo effort and also for collaboration. We will be locked into our screens to write our dissertations for weeks, completing a 15,000 word original assignment, but before that we will have months of workshops, lectures and collaborative assignments.
The first 2 weeks of the Nottingham Business School MBA course has been about learning about ourselves and our group, how we interact with each other and how we can work together effectively. Building the team that will be our student support system over the coming months.
We have had introductions in Strategy, Critical Thinking, and Business Ethics, all of which have been baby-steps for us to get back into the academic mind-set. With some members of the course having been out of education for over 30 years it’s a sensible step, and one which sees us slipping into good learning habits.
Interestingly on the very first day we met last years class and got to spend an hour with them, listening as they imparted their collective wisdom after their experiences – to some degree it was good to get an idea about what lies in store for us,
but honestly it feels like reading a map and knowing that we have an enormous hill in our way and over is the only route for us! It’s going to be tough challenging in a good way!
Already the days are 9am to 5pm, with appropriate breaks of course, so we are getting used to the long periods of concentration – however it must, I think, be stressed that it’s really no longer than an average working day, so whilst mentally taxing at times it is a similar environment to what many of us will have been used to.
Of the 2 week introduction, 1 week has been set aside for Personal and Professional Development (PPD) a recurring theme and one in which the Business School is investing significant time and resources into, the ultimate aim being not just producing academically sound MBA graduates, but effective leaders of business – this was a key factor for me choosing this particular school and course.
We have spent 3 days on site here at the City Campus with a business coach/facilitator/practitioner (call her what you will) who has been going through various leadership models and helping us to work and communicate together (not as simple as it may sound when you remember we come from 3 continents and 6 countries!).
It’s been a really enjoyable process, part of which was new to me, whilst at other times we have simply gone over details I knew already from previous work. In every instance though I have been able to take positive lessons from it, and this has all gone to develop stronger bonds between class members.
The last 3 days of the course were spent at the Brathay Trust on the shores of Lake Windermere ( a FABULOUS facility) – but I will be writing about that in the next couple of days.
It’s Monday the 7th of October now, the course has started properly now, so it’s off to the library I go to read about Porter’s ‘Generic Strategies’ from today’s marketing class!