Archive for August, 2007

Applying myself

I finally finished writing my application to start a PhD. It’s taken months! That’s not because it takes me an age to fill out a form, but rather because I felt I needed to present a decent case for my proposed area of research (which I’ve blogged a little about quite a while ago). What I thought would be a 2,000 word document, including references meticulously referenced the Harvard way, actually expanded to nearly 5,000 words.

Apparently, what I actually get down to in my research may well be nothing like where I have now begun, but (equally apparently, or so I’m told) the process of writing, reflecting, rejecting and re-creating is essential to the doctoral process.

Great, I can hardly wait!

For now, I am going to sit back for a while and wait for the reaction from Lancaster. And post up one of those generic metaphoric photos of people in a race (culled from the Guardian).


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August e-Newsletter

Dear all,

How was your summer? Our world now goes by us so rapidly, and the Henley community of programme members is such a diverse group that I doubt any two of you will have had exactly the same experience. It does sometimes feel as though you need to force yourself to slow down, take stock or simply reflect. And you do. What’s more, when you reflect, research shows that you should be writing things down and share with others because this focuses your mind and improves your thinking. Since you are all (I hope) fully committed to making the MBA work for you, I wonder how many of you took some time this month deliberately to switch off and then record your thoughts.

For the record, we have all been in reflective mood here at Henley. We had an excellent three-day Faculty Conference at the start of the month and it was a pleasure to see some ‘esprit de corps’ develop. Particularly interesting was a presentation exercise given to us in teams. It was a real taste of the kind of thing we often put programme members through on workshops and I think we gained many insights from this. No doubt, some of these and other input on participation and facilitation will emerge in future workshops with you.

Annual Survey

Thanks to those to responded to the original call for participation in the July newsletter, and also to those who went online to complete it after my second email. We now have nearly 130 replies, which is equal to last year. No doubt the activist ‘red’ thinkers amongst you will feel the need to beat that. Be my guest – the survey can be found at (link withheld). The survey will close on September 6th.

Home Straight Community

The Home Straight Blog now has 53 contributors. It would be great to see more of you there, sharing your pain as well as your success stories, and if you are one of those beyond your scheduled Dissertation Due date with no dissertation done, email me and I will invite you to the blog.

I know that the latter part of the MBA can often seem to go by in a haze. You need to keep in mind where you are, how much registration time you have left, whether your contact details with Henley are up-to-date, and what sort of study plan you can present if you need to request a period of re-registration. If you need advice on any of this process, you can write either to your course administrator or to Amy Ward.

For Community members, please note that the next event will be at the College on Sunday November 4th, starting with a buffet lunch. Full details will be provided to you by the Home Straight guardians, Richard Lacey and Mike Green. Richard notes that “there has been a 17% increase in the number of programme members we have “engaged” in the Home Straight community, up to 161 from 138 last month. We are actively supporting and encouraging this group.”

Part of my role will be to write this month to those of you who have not engaged with the Home Straight Community or who have fallen behind and are now out of normal registration.

Leadership Research opportunity

There’s also an opportunity to take part in a piece of leadership research. Mike Green, who you may also know as a Personal Tutor and Business Transformation e-tutor, is conducting some research on the leadership roles managers need to step into during times of change. He’d really like you to help him by completing a 20 minute questionnaire on your experiences of leaders and managing change. Please email him on mike.green@henleymc.ac.uk.

Mike believes you’ll also receive an executive summary of the research.

From the IT Department

Fortuitous timing of an email from HelpDesk means that I can tell you:

Due to essential maintenance, there will be no access to the eVision Portal (eAssignments Submissions) on 5th September 2007 from 09.30 to 16 :30 BST
Due to an essential upgrade, the public website, eLearning and eLibrary will be unavailable for periods of time on Friday 7th September 2007 from 09.30 to 16 :30 BST.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Comings and Goings

I don’t usually feature news on people arriving or leaving the College, but wanted to pay tribute to Alison Gale, our Registrar and College Secretary, who will be leaving us at the end of the month. Alison has been with Henley for 11 rock-solid years and is one of those people you rarely meet as a programme member, but whose integrity, thoroughness and calm head is what allows the rest of us to do our job.

How did you sell the MBA to your employer?

We are often asked by potential members for ways to present the MBA to their organisation, especially if sponsorship is being sought. In conversation with Chris Parker, Director of Business Development, I began to wonder whether our ‘usual suspect’ answers tell the whole story. So I’d like to ask those of you who needed to persuade, sell or demonstrate the value of the distance learning MBA to a boss or sponsor to share your experience with us. Let me know.

Next month we welcome new intakes form Denmark [DK02], Finland [FN02] and the UK [HB36] at Henley for their Starter Workshops. There’s also a Dissertation Clinic on September 15th and if you would like to benefit from that, please email Susan Parr. September’s e-newsletter will include full details of the Optional Skills workshop weekend in November on the 17th and 18th.

Chris Dalton
Programme Leader

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Developing our faculties

I have not posted to this blog for quite a while. That’s not for the want of things to say, just the weight of other things going on. Aside from holiday, August contained a number of workshops at Henley and I also took some time out to draft my application proposal to start my PhD. That’s actually not yet complete, but it’s almost there so I hope to post it off to Lancaster before the start of September.

One other interesting event was an internal three-day Faculty conference at the College at the start of August. It had been set up at the end of 2006, and there was pretty much a three-line whip to attend that was set by our then Academic Dean (knowing, no doubt, that you’d otherwise not herd faculty together in August any other way). Until he learnt better, our new Academic Dean, not cognisant of the call-up, was in awe of our enthusiasm and dedication when he saw the room full of academics!

The conference was very good. Amongst other things, we had two sessions led by external (US) academics; one on tools and techniques for encouraging participation in the classroom, the other on facilitation techniques. These were great for challenging our current thinking and seeding some new ideas. About two thirds of the way into the conference we suddenly changed track, and were presented with a task in teams to come up with a pitch to a client for some corporate work. The shift in emphasis from informal, languid, collegiate and bonding to more of the kind of task we like to set out MBAs when they come in to workshops caught me off-guard, but I’m glad to say that the subsequent interaction with my ‘team’ was very rewarding and turned out to be a continuation of the fun from the earlier sessions. Whether or not we produced professional pitches to the ‘panel’ from the client (which included our Principal), I don’t know, but there was certainly a lot of fun and creativity that came out.

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