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Archive for September, 2006

August e-Newsletter

My first August at Henley. It’s supposed to be the quiet month for academic institutions, but there’s been little sight of that around here with plenty of activity around current and future programmes.

Recruitment for Intake 33

The next Intake on the Distance Learning MBA begin their studies in September, and have their first workshop in mid October. There is still time for anyone who you know is ready for an MBA to apply and join. Word of mouth will always remain our strongest marketing tool, and thanks to the applicant referral scheme (details of this are on the main Henley web site) you can also receive some financial reward if someone you notify us is then admitted to the MBA or Diploma.

First review of the Annual Questionnaire

In all, we received 142 replies, around 15% response rate. Many thanks to everyone who took part. Full details of the results will be made available to your course reps and any clear matters arising discussed at their meeting in the autumn. For now, I thought I’d share a few headline statistics.

Of those who replied, 16% were at Part One, 22% were at Part Two with the remaining 62% at Part Three. 47% of you were at Part Three with the exam and ISP now behind you and the dissertation yet to start or complete.

There were respondents from every intake stretching back to 16, with Intakes 31 and 25 being the most numerous in response. Nearly 70% of you reported needing some support from the Personal Tutor during your programme, primarily for admin help but also for advice on development issues. When needed, Personal Tutor support has been well received, rated at an average of 4.14. out of 5 and very close to your evaluation of course administration support, which was 4.08.

Regarding your learning environment you are happy with the Henley facilities (4.32), less so with the eLearning (3.62) and effectiveness of teamwork (3.37), so we have some interesting challenges to address.

55% of you are sponsored by your company on your studies, and your experience of how much support you get from your line manager (3.28) or organisation (3.40). It would interesting to explore what this means for your studies and whether it could be improved.

Concerning the big question on whether the Henley MBA has met your expectations, your answers averaged out to 3.52, though your assessment of content (4.21), materials (3.9), scheduling (3.85) and assignment feedback (3.69) were all higher. I think a dialogue around how we might improve these for you would be very valuable. Previous years used a different set of statements and a 7 point scale, so we’re not going to be able to make any meaningful comparisons. However, as benchmarks for 2007 onward, this is tremendously helpful.
We are now going to look in detail at the results and the comments, looking both for general trends and issues as well as any individual problems that we can respond to straight away.

Overall assessment Stats for 2004/5

While I’m providing this kind of overview, I thought you might like to have some information about the assessment results for the Henley-based distance learning MBA. I now have figures for the 2005-6 (July to July) period.

At Part One, there were 205 Foundations of Management assignments marked. None failed and the average mark was B. For Managing information, the numbers were 218 marked, with one failure and an average of B. 217 Managing People scripts were assessed, two failed and an average mark of B- was achieved overall. At the exam, 233 people sat in this period, with 13 failures and an average exam mark of C overall. Seven people re-sat their Part One exam in this year and all but one passed.

At Part Two, there were 148 Managing Marketing assignments, with two fails and an average of B-. Managing Financial Resources were marked on average at grade B and there were no fails in the 156 that were marked. Managing Performance had an average mark also of B and there was one fail in the 142 assignments marked. There were 16 Project Management assignments submitted, all passes, and an average mark of B+. The Part Two exam was passed by all but three of the 139 who sat it, and the average mark was C. 14 people sat the Project Management MBA last year and 11 passed, average pass mark was C. There were three Part Two exam re-sits and all passed.

Part Three saw 153 ISPs marked in these 12 months. One failed, and the average grade was B. 190 people sat their Part Three exam, with just one fail, and the average grade achieved was C+. 207 Dissertations were submitted, of which 6 failed. The average mark was B.
I hope this helps put your own assessment performance in perspective.

Dissertation and ISP topics

I mentioned last month that there may be some opportunities for you if you are looking for a dissertation topic. Christine Van Winkelen has sent me the following information for projects with the Henley Knowledge Management (KM) Forum:

The Henley Knowledge Management Forum will be able to provide opportunities for 2 or 3 MBA dissertation students to join Working Groups of companies carrying out collaborative projects that broadly relate to knowledge management. These projects run from September to May each year and will provide sufficient research data for a dissertation. You will need to be able to join the Working Groups at about 5 half day meetings held at Henley. The broad topics that we will be looking at are as follows:

2006 / 01 New technologies and KMTools such as wikis and blogs (sometimes referred to as ‘conversational’ or ‘social networking’ technologies) are moving from the wacky technologies box into the mainstream of business. Issue this project might explore are how these technologies fit into a KM strategy; how they fit into knowledge lifecycle models (and therefore when they should be used); and ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for their implementation.

This will be a practical project which will set out to understand the issues and then generate practical guidance by the end.

2006 / 02 KM and InnovationA number of previous KM Forum projects have looked at how the nature of your organisation influences the approach to KM that needs to be adopted (for example “KM and Front Line Operations” and “A Strategic Approach to KM”. Some organisations have innovation at the core of their activities and stimulating the flow of knowledge to make new connections between ideas is a recognised priority for Knowledge Managers. However, even if your main driver for knowledge management is improving efficiency by reusing existing knowledge, it has been widely recognised that you will need to encourage the creation of new knowledge too, or else the organisation risks eventual decline. Issues this project might explore include how different knowledge management strategies relate to innovation, what shapes a culture of knowledge creation, and what KM tools and techniques are particularly useful.

This will be a practical project which will set out to understand the issues and then generate practical guidance by the end.

2006 / 03 Transformational KMMost of the KM we see and hear about supports the industrial economy model of work which is based on the production of goods and services in a competitive environment. The real challenges of the knowledge economy in which using knowledge increases its potential value rather than decreases it can probably be met only if KM switches from a supporting to a leading role. This is where KM becomes “Transformational”. What might this be like? What does it mean for us today? Does the role of the manager in the organisation look different? What about the organisational structures?

Most KM Forum projects are completed in 1 year and are expected to produce practitioner guidance within this time. This project is likely to be a bit different. We will need to do some hard thinking and this first phase of the project is likely to be quite conceptual in the first instance.

If you are interested in finding out what would be involved in working with us to carry out your dissertation research, then contact the KM Forum Director

In addition, Mike Palmer has forwarded the following possibility for a programme member who may be looking for a good topic for their ISP. Gary Devaney the founder and CE of Premier Guarantee, has confirmed that he would welcome being the subject of an ISP. His company was the 5th fastest private company in the UK in 2005 (and 20th in 2004), its a niche insurance underwriter and they have plans to move into Spain now, so there is plenty going on for an ISP. If you are interested, contact Mike Palmer and he work with you and Gary to see who might be best suited.

Paddock House, River House

To what I hope will be the relief of many, renovation work on the rooms in Paddock House is now all but complete. The rooms have a new and better decor, larger and more comfortable beds and better working/relaxing environment. Also ongoing now is the second phase of renewal in River House. All the rooms on the ground floor at the back are being brought up to the same modern standard as those at the front.

Optional Skills Workshop Weekend

As mentioned also last month we plan this November to offer a weekend suite of half-day optional skills workshops on a variety of topics. By placing them in one overall session, we maximise the networking and content delivery and minimise time spent away from the other parts of your life.

So, on Saturday November 18th, in the morning there will be a choice of sessions on either Career Management or Business Modelling. After lunch (provided), you can choose between Consultancy Skills or Resume Writing. The following day, Sunday, the morning has either Consultancy Skills or Introduction to NLP (pre-lunch), followed by a choice beyween Coaching and Mentoring and Research Methods. We are currently finalising the workshop and presenter details and we will be posting full information on your Intake’s eLearning area in September.
Each half-day session is priced at 50 GBP and we will be placing caps on numbers to ensure greater interactivity, so early booking is advised! Distance Learners will have priority for booking places on this weekend.

That’s it for now. Good luck to all of you planning to sit exams in September.

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