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Archive for July, 2007

July e-newsletter

Dear all,

This month has been one of the wettest on record in the United Kingdom. At Henley we’ve seen the river Thames swell and accelerate past the College, though not burst its banks, and we’ve been deluged by news stories about flooded middle-England streets, disrupted public services and ruined crops from reporters standing in rubber Wellington boots. Even though it is the media silly season, and one might expect to see more coverage of items which at other times be lesser stories (sacred bulls with tuberculosis, wealthy heiresses having epiphanies in prison, the BBC fixing phone-in competitions), the impact of so much unusual weather is all everyone has been talking about.

There’s something in human nature that tends to assume that conditions experienced where I am must be the same everywhere else. Of course, this is not so. Other parts of Europe are suffering from opposite extremes of heatwaves, and some parts of the world, perhaps your own, have their own very dramatic stories to tell. Whether temporary climate glitch or sure sign of tipping point reached, it is interesting how easy it is becoming to reach out to a global community such as Henley’s, and note how that may be a hopeful sign that we can both educate ourselves and then act to deal with change.

Annual Survey 2007

Two surveys in this newsletter. First, it’s time to exhort you to participate in the annual survey of distance learning Programme Members. Many of you will recall that last August’s questionnaire could be filled out online. Longer memories may also recall that there was a new format and new questions, which we have retained for this year and which will make possible a direct comparison of results to check progress.

Go there now (you can’t go there from this blog, of course)!! Or, if you can’t, then try to do it within the next 48 hours, otherwise it will disappear under the weight of other emails and things to do. A note to those reading this who are studying with Henley via the International Network – this is primarily aimed at Henley-Based members and your local provider may well be collecting feedback their own way. However, if you still feel like filling it in, please go ahead.

I will place a reminder to complete this in the August newsletter and then post analysis of the results in late September.

Second Survey – Market Research

Ruth Parkinson from our Market Development Team has asked me to highlight the following:

“We are in the process of gathering information about our current programme members. This information will be used to inform our future marketing communications plan. We are interested in:

· What specifically attracted you to Henley as opposed to another MBA supplier.
· What media do you refer to in your social and business life.

I would be extremely grateful if you could complete the following questionnaire online by Tuesday 31 July. It should take a maximum of 10 minutes.

(link not supplied)


LinkedIn

The other week I went to an internal meeting to discuss the merits of using LinkedIn and whether or not the College should create its own user group of current and past MBA programme members. This turned out to be a no-brainer, and a rare occasion at Henley where everyone agreed and a meeting finished early. However, LinkedIn have temporarily pulled the facility for new groups. As soon as they have up-graded, they will let us know and we will be going about piloting this. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Linkedin is a social networking tool (ah, yes, Web 2.0!) which has particularly taken off in Europe among 35 to 45 year olds. It’s doubtful your teenage children, nephews or nieces will have heard of it, so your chance to show off your Internet skills.

Home Straight Community

News from Richard Lacey and Mike Green, who are running this community of busy people who are beyond their dissertation due date is that there are currently 276 members, exactly half of which been in touch with them one way or another. The Home Straight Community Blog now has 47 contributors. It’s very interesting to read the posts, one of which take me (painfully) back to my time at the end of the Henley MBA:

“Feeling really like the end is in sight, have decided that, hell or high water, I’m submitting in Oct and getting this out of the way. My commitment to a good mark has been overshadowed by the thought of just getting it done.”

One date for your Community diaries will be Sunday November 4th, the next time the Community holds a gathering at the College. We will start with a lunch and Richard and Mike will organise an afternoon of motivation for weary learners.

This is particularly important for any of you who are coming to the end of your normal or first period of re-registration and haven’t yet got round to arranging for further time or submission before your time is up!

Next Dissertation Clinic

A little earlier than that, another reminder that the next Dissertation Clinic will be on September 15th. Contact Susan Parr on for details.

A further date in your diaries is the 2007 optional Skills Workshop weekend, to be held on November 17th and 18th. More details in the August newsletter.

Free Coaching Sessions

In the past I have highlighted the fact that Henley runs an extremely successful Coaching Certificate course. As part of their programme, participants run two real coaching sessions with volunteers. These are usually 60-90 minutes long, are confidential and can be on any topic on your mind. If you would like to take advantage of this, please email Sharon Hickman on for further details and dates.

Intake HB26

The recent awful weather may have been a factor in an up-take to attend a dinner that ended up being too low to go ahead with. We plan to re-schedule this event for this intake later in the year. Don’t worry if you have already submitted final dissertation, or if you have yet to submit a proposal – this will be a valuable get-together for you all. Details to follow from Charlotte.

Finally, as always, a reminder that the best source of new programme members for Henley is via referral, and the best way for you to protect your own investment is by recommending this programme to people just like you. The next Henley-based intake will start studying at the end of September, so if you have anyone in mind that you think would benefit, please let me know and I will pass on their details to our marketing team.

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Friday was a weird day the College, as it must have been for many people in the south of England. Torrential, persistent, cats-and-dogmatic floods of rain came down for most of the day as some anti-cyclone span relentlessly overhead. The roads, lanes and paths in the Thames Valley around the College took on more the look of the Thames than the valley and, for once, it felt much better being on the inside looking out.

At approximately one in the afternoon a huge flash of intermittent lightning brought the whole College to a halt as our power went off. When it came back on the surge, coupled with a separate hardware problem, seemed to have knocked out our email system sideways like a punch-drunk boxer.

It’s always fascinating to watch what happens when the email is down. It reminds me of the scene at the end of the film ‘Battle of Britain’ where the previously frenetically busy control room (the one with women in tin hats pushing numbers around a huge map of the south of England whilst being watched by Laurence Olivier) suddenly has nothing to do. Everyone just sits around. It’s just too quiet.

Eventually people start to re-arrange their desks, clear their papers, some even picked up the phone in lieu of an email. Henley being Henley, a great many other people headed off for a cup of tea, which seemed to re-ignite the lost art of Conversation (and invited in its poor cousin, Gossip). I found myself transferring the file I was working on for my boss to a USB memory stick and actually taking it there myself!

Such a period of reflection usually results in us all realising that about 80% of what we do sat at our desks on email is, if not a complete waste of time, then still perhaps not the best use of our time. The trouble is the remaining 20% which we do actually rely on electronic means to get done.

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