Programme Director positions at Henley are always for a fixed duration. If they weren’t, either you or the Director would end up going nuts. So the lead, and final, story in this newsletter is the information that I step down as MBA Programme Director, effective from the beginning of July. I remain at Henley in a new position and my successor is already in situ. More about both a little later in the newsletter, which will therefore be the last from me.
And this being so, I thought it worth reflecting a little on the past five years. I got to know Henley in about 1994, first as a sub-contractor working with faculty and staff on MBA study visits to eastern Europe, then as an MBA distance learner, then alumnus and eventually (in my own ‘Victor Kiam’ moment) Henley faculty member and Director of Studies. The other day I was trying to recall what criteria I had used to select Henley for my degree. I was based away from the UK and a flexibility to study somewhat (but not entirely) at my own pace while still at work was attractive, and certainly I liked the practical idea of applying everything immediately at work. In addition, there was Henley’s good reputation and pedigree, and the fact that the degree awarded was the same regardless of mode of study, which made me feel my investment would be in a known brand. I thought that the general focus of the Henley MBA on strategy sounded more ‘grown-up’ than the functional silos offered by most rival offerings – which indeed turned out to be the case. Ranking didn’t play a part – I was already working in a Business School and knew that rankings promote business magazines, and what most people need to is find a programme, not a chart position, that suits them.
I suspect many of the above will find resonance with you, and the fact they are all still current and valid is very reassuring. Curiously, given the immense effort that went into my study, after graduation I found that not a lot of the detail of MBA content had stuck. True, before finishing the MBA I found myself completely immersed in each new module, layers of my working world in revealed in a new tint, but although it may often be true in life that the “devil is in the detail”, when it comes to the MBA, it does not. What emerged (and endured) in my case were changes in attitude and outlook; above all, Henley was a boost to confidence.
Back in those days, however, ‘distance’ at Henley often meant ‘alone’ and one of the two things I am most fervent about is the importance placed on learning from fellow members of your intake. The other is Personal Development, which may prove fortunate given my next role.
I’m pleased to introduce Mike Keighley, who takes over as Programme Director of the Henley MBA by Flexible learning. Mike has actually been working at Henley for a year in an operational role, and he and Kathy Jarvis form the UK management team for the next academic year. Mike has experience in banking and served for some years as an officer in the military.
Another new programme director is Keith Heron, who takes over from Giampiero Favato, who many of you will know from the Corporate Governance and Finance module, and who is leaving Henley at the end of the summer. In another change, Baskin Yenicioglu will take over from Ana Canhoto as Subject Area Leader for Strategic Marketing at the end of the academic year.
From the end of September, with the retirement of Tim Osborn-Jones, the new Subject Area Leader for Personal Development will be… me! I am very excited about this chance to continue to develop what is undoubtedly the most important module on the MBA (but then everyone’s own baby is the most special, no?).
Henley on LinkedIn
There’s been a fair amount of activity on the HBS Linkedin Group over the last month or so, and increasing anecdotal evidence that Henley programme members and alumni are using the site as a vehicle for mutual networking, not just window-shopping or displaying and exchanges views on various topics. LinkedIn is slowly introducing improvements to its site, most recently changes in the functionality of the groups area. As for subgroups, we are now looking at setting up one for those of you who work in government or public sector. Another final plea to anyone requesting membership to have their online profile accurate and up-to-date with your Henley programme and years. There are still about 80 in the queue, mostly for that reason. For now, it will be me that continues to manage the Henley groups.
Programme Member Lindsay Allan (HB39) is undertaking preliminary research for her Management Challenge and is interested in gathering your views on leadership writes: “Take part in worldwide research into organization culture and work.
Lindsay Allen is helping Visiting Fellow, Peter Thomson – who ran the Future Work Forum at Henley for 16 years – carry out some groundbreaking research in collaboration with Cass Business School, London. The research examines organization culture, management attitudes and innovative working practices and will feature in a book to be published next year. A key part of the project is collection of data through a short questionnaire that takes 10 minutes to complete. We would like to invite current Henley MBA students to participate in this research by going to [linke removed] and completing the survey by Friday July 23rd. “
The ARC unveiled
After several months of building work, phase one of the redevelopment at Greenlands is complete. What was the PowerGen library is now where the builders are hard at work creating a new MBA classroom and syndicate rooms, and the Academic Resource Centre, ARC, now occupies another side of the inner quad area. Under the leadership of the experienced Henley library team, the ARC will develop over the coming months, and you’ll be able to follow them via Twitter and, shortly, their blog.
After missing this in last month’s newsletter, here now are 2 suggestions for interesting videos from the TED web site. First up is the second presentation by Hans Rosling, in 2007, about poverty and statistics. Watch it to the end…
The other is archive footage of concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, holding court in 1972 about finding meaning in life:
Members’ Family Day
Only a few days left to this event on Sunday July 4th, so if you are coming, we hope you enjoy the varied activities and relaxed regatta atmosphere. The weather here lately has been fantastic, so with luck it will continue that way.
2010 Annual Survey
Watch out for another email some time during July, inviting you to take part in the annual survey. Last year, we got responses from around 15% of you, which isn’t bad, but since the output report is widely read and circulated, and informs decision-making, it’s worth taking the time to express what you like and don’t like.
End of the academic year – username reminder
As a College, life at Henley rolled by without beginning and end, and on the MBA this is still often the case. It is also true, however, that the University works on academic year, which closes on July 31st, so this is a gentle reminder to anyone who has not yet logged on to RISIS (e:Vision) and activated their University of Reading user name and password. At time of merger, the system was set up to continue to allow people to log in using just the e:Vision username only. This will be much more difficult from August. Most of you have already done this.
So, that’s it. It’s been an amazing and complex honour to have been running this MBA, and over the years these monthly newsletters have meandered somewhat, like all good streams of thought should – I hope you have enjoyed them. I look forward to seeing you all at Graduation!
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