Archive for November, 2007

November e-Newsletter

Hello all,

I realise that it is now two years since I joined Henley and so a good point to look back, reflect a little, and then look forward. As many of you who spend long hours with your noses pressed to the rock-face in study and assignment writing will know, it is difficult to find the space to step back from the myriad details and take in the bigger picture, both for yourself and your organisation where you spend most of your time.

In my second interview to work at Henley, I asked my interviewers what they most enjoyed about working here. What their answers told me boiled down to three things. First, there is the setting, purpose and atmosphere of the College buildings, space, history and grounds. Then there is the creative freedom and calibre of the faculty and community of collegiate learners. Finally, the contact with the developing stories of the programme members – you. My own experience has borne out these observations. It is a very good exercise – when I have schedules and workshops coming out of my ears – to step out of the office and walk down to the bank of the Thames by the boathouse, look back at the College and remind myself how fortunate I am and how I have grown (and aged!) in the last 24 months.

Looking ahead, the challenge for the next two years will be delivering on a par with our increased placing in the rankings (and we’re waiting with baited, expectant breath for the FT European Business Schools ranking due out on December 3rd) by making sure we do what we already do efficiently, and also by making sure we embrace innovation. The new MBA curriculum launched in 2007 is part of this, as is our movement toward sharing networks and knowledge via platforms such as LinkedIn (the Henley group now has over 2,500 members) and other forums organised through Henley. But there are lots of other things to learn.

Management education, and the MBA, is no longer the mechanistic, reductionist and taught process it was 10 or 20 years ago. Henley’s new curriculum is not like any other school’s in that it breathes life into the manager as a whole person who is part of many networks, and recognises that the really good stuff comes when you master who you are just as much as you master the business environment you work in.

We’ve taken the position that management is all about creating sound choices in an environment where uncertainty, ambiguity and paradox create dilemmas. One of the things I have learnt in the last two years is that learning itself carries a number of inherent dilemmas – the most intriguing of which is that in order to learn something fundementally new you may have to reject something old that is equally fundemental. Delivering on that is an exciting challenge to take into the next two years…

New Intakes

In November we welcomed new intakes from Germany (Munich) and Ireland to Henley at a joint Starter Workshop, with twenty-five and thirty-one managers respectively. These were above target in both cases and so congratulations to all those involved in bringing them on board. I’d like to remind you all that the next Henley-Based group kicks off with their first workshop in late February, so now is the time to prick the conscience of anyone you think would benefit from the Henley MBA. If they apply by mid December, they may also be able to secure the course at 2007 prices and beat the increase. Details from Margareta Koter

Home Straight Community Up-date

On Sunday November 4th, Richard Lacey and Mike Green facilitated the Community’s second event at the College. The positive effects of the investment of time and energy of all those involved is now beginning to show. since kicking off earlier in the year, well over fifty people have been able to hand in their final dissertation, and many more are beginning to move their feet out of the sticky Glastonbury mud in front of the Part Three Pyramid Stage!

Mike has posted some of the flip-charts from the session on the Home Straight blog, which is open by invitation (from me) to anyone who is beyond their Dissertation Due date. Don’t forget, also, that the Dissertation Tutorial is also available to you to post comments and questions to a tutor. In December’s e-newsletter I will be announcing dates for Dissertation Clinics in 2008.

Board of Examiners

As in past newsletters, I’d like to share with you some of general information about attainment on the MBA so that you can get a feeling for where your results sit with those achieved by others on your programme. These figures are for all members in all locations who were presented to the Board in October. There are no significant variations in different locations.

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Phil Vokins (HB31) – up-date

You may remember mention earlier in the year of Phil’s fund-raising exploits. A recent email from him confirms that he has completed his odyssey by finishing the New York Marathon. As Phil writes:
“we are still collecting now but have already raised and received pledges for just short of £3,500. This was in memory of John Welsh, a good friend who was cared for by the Royal Marsden before he ultimately died there in late 2003.”

As for the NY race, I liked Phil’s commentary: “A bit scared of the course, I gave it loads of respect and paced myself at an easy jog/run knowing I wasn’t going to be able to run the 26.2 at threshold, so took it very steady stopping on 18m for a drink…. I also stopped several times for drinks and an unscheduled 5+ minutes on 9m in Brooklyn after realising that it’s hard to run and text at the same time, dropping my phone which duly smashed into several pieces and I then spent time retrieving. (Big thanks to the anonymous guy in the crowd who lent me his phone so I could text. Even though my own phone was reduced to its constituent parts and the front landed in a puddle of Gatorade in the gutter, it works again – well done Nokia!)

Perhaps the most incredible part of the occasion was the crowd and massive support they gave the runners. The roar as we crossed the Queensboro bridge from Queens onto 1st Ave in Manhattan on 16m was unbelievable, but each of the 5 boroughs was unique with the ethnic diversity of Brooklyn and its bands en route, and the hip-hop/rap from the Bronx (when most needing a lift on 21m) were really special. The support was so good that only one problem presented itself – few US runners put names on their shirts but I did – meaning that it became very hard to acknowledge the continuous cries of support and ‘Go, Phil’, ‘Looking Good, Phil’ (yeah, even I find that one hard to believe) and so on. Of course, if someone bothers to scream support it’s only right to acknowledge them but also quite distracting after a while, so for large parts of the race I found myself hiding in the middle of the wide roads just so I could get on with it. (Even then, there was still an “I see you, Phil” on the Willis Avenue Bridge on 20m!).All in all, a fantastic experience and highly recommended. Will I do one again? You bet! Thanks once again for the donations and the real reason behind all this, it is still possible to donate or track the year at http://www.justgiving.com/phils2007events

Business Continuity Awards 2008 – Student of the Year

Peter Thomson, of the Future Work Forum, and Mark Evans (Publisher CIR Magazine) has asked whether we can spread the word about this Award. Mark writes:

“I am writing to you in advance of the official call for nominations for the BC Awards 2008. The Awards will launch very soon, but we are looking to create an especially strong field this year for the Student Category. As you might know, the winner in this category last year was ex-Henley (proposed by Jean-Noel Ezingeard) and we would like to continue a strong link to the college (I’m a Henley MBA myself).The details are below, so if you know of a particularly good student, or students, I hope you will be able to nominate them or forward this to them.

The nominated individual should be taking, or have completed in the past five years, a professional course of study in business continuity, disaster recovery or crisis management. Students undertaking programmes in risk management where these include significant coverage of business continuity may also apply. Entrants may be full or part-time students of universities or of professional institutes. To apply for this award, the entrant must EITHER submit a written dissertation of not more than 2,000 words on the subject of ‘future trends in business continuity management’ OR submit a 2,000 word abstract of a thesis concerning risk management of business continuity or related subjects, accompanied by an endorsement for the academic tutor. This category will be assessed through clarity of the arguments expressed, formal references given and innovative thought. In addition, the dissertation must show clear practical application and focus.This category is open to undergraduates and post-graduates from all academic and vocational institutions offering undergraduate, masters and diploma level qualifications.”

If you’d like to be put in touch with Peter or Mark, please email me.

Comings and Goings

There are a couple of people who need to be mentioned this month. The first is the news that Professor Jane McKenzie is moving from her current role as Director of Studies for part-time MBAs (including the distance learning) to replace Professor David Birchall as Head of the School of Management Knowledge and Learning and Chairman of the Board of Examiners, two key roles in the life of the College.

The second person for a mention in despatches is Lynne Stone, who is leaving the College after 19 years. You may have met Lynne at an MBA fair, Preview Day, alumni event or any one of a host of events. If you have, then you will then know that Lynne is a fantastic representative of the College; urbane, passionate and interested in you and your plans. Her depth of knowledge and integrity will continue to inform our outreach to new members and as an alum herself, she will stay in touch.

Chris Dalton
DL MBA Programme Leader


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Like the proverbial London bus, just when there seem to be no doctoral supervisors, along come two!

Lancaster (bless ’em!) have responded with the news that I now may be taken on by two academics for my PhD. A few hurdles remain to be jumped, but I will have an interview next week with one of them and I suppose I shall know from that whether it’s a goer.

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Got them can’t-get-going-on-my-PhD blues

Two months after applying, this afternoon Lancaster sent me almost the first email in the process concerning my PhD application.

Theirs is not a university that likes to keep foster the impression that they are pleased to see you and are hungry for applicants.

Unfortunately, the email was to inform me that “We regret that after careful consideration we have been unable to find a suitable supervisor with the capacity to take on a new doctoral student in your research area. Unfortunately, we are therefore unable to offer you a place on our PhD programme.”

I guess I need to have a different mindset to understand the PhD application process and as much as I’m quite disappointed, I’m not daunted. I shall be looking around for other avenues and possible venues to study.

It did have the odd side benefit of appreciating that the ethos and (usually) speed of administration and delivery on the MBA at Henley really is focused on the ones who secure our future – the programme members.

Since my research proposed study in critical reflection, I shall now go and reflect a bit with a glass of single malt.

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