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Archive for October, 2007

October e-newsletter

Dear all,

If you’re not new to study at Henley, you will know by now that in my newsletter opening paragraph I use all sorts of (cunning) ploys to reflect on a link between the environment of the College and one or more aspects of your journey as adult learners. More often than not, these links are informed by metaphors. The best of these are those that work for you on other levels, preferably without any conscious intervention on my part. Your brains just work that way.

In October there have been many ways of seeing things at or around Henley that might do the trick, but the one which has stuck in my mind (not for the first time) has been the graduation ceremony. You might not need to stretch your imagination too far to encompass a link between that and your learning, but what struck me about it this time round was not the obvious pleasure defined by the moment of spotlit recognition on stage, nor the shared pride amongst the guests, but rather the many levels of organisation and knowledge that went into the delivery of the event itself. What you won’t (or shouldn’t) see when you graduate are the days and weeks of careful arranging beforehand and the almost telepathic communication between managers, administrators and helpers on the day. Without that ecology of the whole, the faculty you see processing would be lost and chaos would ensue. Somehow, we need to keep in mind that the very visible part of your MBA is enabled by the ecology of the world you live – your families, your colleagues, your bosses and your friends. Ecologies are delicate things and they can change, so simply becoming more self aware of yours is as central to reaching your goal as a passing grade in an assignment or exam.

Up-town top Ranking

Last month you may recall how happy I said our Principal was at the news that our full-time MBA had been placed in the top 10 of the World’s MBAs by the Economist. Imagine the smile on his face when it was revealed that Henley had jumped 12 places in the 2007 FT Executive MBA rankings from 42nd to 30th. Both positions are tremendous news for the College and, by strong association (since this is also your MBA), you!

The FT means that we are:

5th in the UK (6th in 2006)
9th in Europe (11th in 2006)
30th in world (42nd in 2006

Overall Henley is the 2nd biggest climber in the UK and the 6th biggest climber in the world – moving up 12 places compared to our position in 2006. For full results see here http://rankings.ft.com/emba-rankings

There are occasional lists of distance learning MBA programmes, but as yet no rankings. I have no doubt, though, that if there were, Henley would be number one.

LinkedIn

Thank you to all who signed up to the new Henley group on LinkedIn. We went from zero to 1,000 members in less than 48 hours. LinkedIn had actually capped new groups at that number, so there was a wait while they responded to my desperate emails and raised it. There are now nearly 2,300 alumni and current programme members in the group. The main advantages of using LinkedIn this way are that you only have one central place to keep your professional profile up to date, AND one place to go and search for others in your field, your part of the world, or even in an area where you are researching for career or studies.

If you are already a member and your email has been preloaded, you will have immediate access. You may also receive a pending approval message. Some of you may find the system telling you that your email id is already in use – this usually means that you signed on to LinkedIn some years ago, created an account and have forgotten your password.

Home Straight Community

This Sunday (November 4th) we host the Home Straight Community’s second event, open to all Henley-Based programme members who have gone past their dissertation due date and, er, not yet completed. As in the first event, the emphasis will be on sharing experience and good advice on how to get the ball rolling. Mike and Richard will be running the show. With that in mind, we now welcome anyone in intake HB27 who will not have submitted their dissertation by the due date at the end of October. For details of the event and how to attend, contact Charlotte Ordish.

Don’t forget, too, that you can sign up for the Home Straight Blog by emailing me for an invitation. During the month several community members have been able to post entries describing how they have now, finally, finished.

Apropos, the last Dissertation Clinic of 2007 will be held on Tuesday December 4th. Clinics are a chance to come in and refresh the process of research and writing, and also to consult one-to-one with a member of Henley faculty and are particularly appropriate if you have not yet reached the point where you have been assigned a supervisor.

Course Reps meeting

This was held at the College on Friday 19th October, and I will be circulating the minutes to your rep shortly.

Optional Skills Workshop

On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November, we will be running a series of half-day skills workshops. Take up for these has, however, not been strong and some are in danger of not being run, which would be a shame. If you would like to participate, sessions cost just 50 GBP and can be booked by contacting Susan Parr but you’ll need to do this by Friday November 2nd if we are to make up minimum numbers to run.

Just to remind you of the session titles: Facilitation, Research Methodology. Consultancy Skills and Effective Networking (Saturday), and Consultancy Skills, Intro to NLP, Coaching and Mentoring, Effective self Marketing (Sunday).

Recruitment for 2008

If you are like I was when I did my Henley DL MBA, you will be meeting a mix of responses when you tell people about it. These various reactions can probably be placed along a continuum that covers non-interest, bewilderment, pity, envy, awe and genuine interest. We know that many of you are studying at Henley because it was recommended to you, and of course we want to encourage you to do the same when you come across others in your network for whom the MBA would make sense. To keep the programme strong, I’d like to ask you to let us know if there is someone you know, or work with, who would be interested in coming along to the College or speaking to someone about their development. Our next intake starts in February 2008 so now if the ideal time.

Professor David Birchall

I just wanted to recognise the work of Professor Birchall, who is retiring from Henley at the end of November. Henley has been going for sixty years and David has been part of more than half that story, joining in 1974. A prolific author and research, when you realise that David was also instrumental (amongst other things) in the launch of Henley degree programmes outside the UK, the creation and launch of the distance learning MBA, the modular MBA, Project Management MBA and Henley’s Doctoral programme, you begin to appreciate why he was made an honorary Master of the College at the October graduation.

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"The Tassle is worth the Hassle"

Today is the October graduation here at Henley, and I am between ceremonies right now. This morning’s was very interesting, and featured many getting their degrees from the International Network as well as those studying at Henley. No doubt I will make reference to it somehow in October’s newsletter, but for all its solemnity and pomp, the graduation is a really satisfying ritual to watch from the stage.

Even more so as we have just completed two long days of tutor conference and international network meetings. The tutors were gathered from all parts of the world (for some reason I always have a bizarre image of a meeting of the type of organisation of baddies that often featured in James Bond films in the 60s and 70s) and was very useful in looking ahead to next year’s roll out of the new MBA curriculum.

What was especially gratifying was the sense that on the programme, our students (we call them members) are being encouraged to reflect as they go – and that when they do it is having a strong positive impact – and that our team of Personal Tutors is beginning to gel into a community.

As for graduation, I like this Dr Seuss quote:

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

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The Italian job

I’m very happy to announce that Giampiero is safe and sound!

If you don’t know who Giampiero is, it won’t mean much. If you have met him, you will at once be very relieved to know he’s fine, as well as instantly curious as to what could have happened to him.

Giampiero Favato is, he won’t mind it said, a larger-than-life Henley faculty member who runs engaging and very well received workshops on Finance. He was yesterday involved in a head-on collision in his car about 40 meters from my desk on the busy road that runs past the College. He drives, or since it is now in so fit state, drove a Smart car and, well, I will let his email to us carry on…

“I am sorry I scared the hell out of you, but, believe me, I never intended to.
In spite of the dramatic dynamics of the accident (I come from the Country of Opera!), nobody actually was seriously injured. I just have swollen knees and a sore shoulder, that’s all, and I am rapidly improving. Few days of rest and I will be as good as new. Even though I passed out, my cognitive functions did not get any damage, meaning that they are not any worse that they used to be. Also the other driver seems to be fine, just a little shocked.

I am still unable to figure out who cut off whom, but it was a frontal crash, I know that. I saw what is left of my car, and I was clearly hit on the left front side… But this is a job for forensic police… the important fact is that nobody got seriously injured.

Thank you for your concern and your wishes. I will be back next week, as soon as I find another car to drive. Have a nice weekend,
Giampiero.”

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"Well you’re just in time to be too late…."

It’s a line from a Hank Williams song, but it kind of sums up a couple of things at work lately.

The first was an invitation issued to existing MBA programme members to attend a trial workshop of for a new module. The response was pretty overwhelming and rapid, and a number of people found themselves on a waiting list. It’s probably one of those irreconcilable aspects of a Distance Learning course that there’s just never enough face-to-face workshops to satisfy the hunger for knowledge and human desire not to miss out on stuff that’s new.

The other was an invitation emailed out to many thousands of people who are part of the Henley alumni group (as well as those now on the MBA) to join a Henley group on LinkedIn. Within hours of its launch, the group had 1,000 members. Something in LinkedIn’s computers must have then blown a fuse and decided that this group was not accepting any new members, uh-uh, no sirree-bob, no way.

So this morning I had several hundred ‘what’s-going-on?’ emails, many of which were very disgruntled. It’s at times like these that I despise technology, which in this case has managed to create more work than it saved.

I hope we (or, LinkedIn) sort this out soon, and we can actually start using the group there for networking.

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