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Archive for January, 2010

Dear all,

I usually don’t start writing these things on the day they’re due to be sent out, so you will have to forgive me if this one lacks the usual sparkle and polish. In fact, I don’t know how it’s been for you, but I’ve been having a disjointed start to the year. At the start of the month we had the kind of wintry weather that, depending on where in the world you live, might either be considered as unprecedented, or just business as usual. For the startled residents of the English Home Counties, however, the severe cold and fairly heavy snow caused misery and country-lane gridlock on more than one occasion. We were even forced to postpone several workshops on site here, which I don’t recall happening before. The expression “working at home”, so often a euphemism for something else, actually came true for many staffers and faculty.

False starts over, the past week or so has felt like our own version of “business as usual”, with the classes full and the restaurant and bar buzzing. I’m sad to say that Kathy Jarvis, MBA Programme Manager, will be off for a few more weeks in recovery after breaking her wrist before Christmas. When she’s back we’ll be pushing on, in particular, with activities to promote Progression and Completion (Graduation’s younger siblings), but until then please bear with us if you have an outstanding issue pending.

Henley on Linkedin

The Henley Business School group on Linkedin now has 4,869 members. If you haven’t done so, or haven’t done so for a while, it might be worth checking the group area out. There have been some interesting discussions (which you can choose to follow) and it’s often fun to run a search to see who in the Henley network shares the same industry, region, or even family name! In response to several well-thought through requests, we now have some new sub-groups formed. One is for Henley in Ireland, and another for Henley alumni in Norway. A third, Henley Alumni in Asia-Pacific, is just getting going and will cover New Zealand to Hong Kong and Singapore. These geography-based sub-groups complement the thematic groups already there. We’ll monitor activity on these and see whether the proliferation works, or whether we need to keep things simple with fewer, but larger groupings. As always, please make sure your Linkedin profile is up to date, and accurate, before requesting to join.

Research Corner

Only one candidate for this section this month. Ephraim Spehrer-Patrick writes “I am currently writing my Henley MBA dissertation about Human Capital Measurement and would appreciate your participation in my survey. It will take approximately 20 minutes.

Below you will find the link to the online survey: [removed from blog]

Despite frequently stated by business leaders that ‘people are the company’s greatest asset’, there is no unified and commonly accepted approach that enables organisations to consistently quantify the benefits of their investments in people and comparing the outcome with other organisations. Human capital in this study is defined as “measuring the impact of people management practices and investments as well as the contribution of people to bottom-line performance of an organisation”.

The study addresses whether human capital measurement should be standardised and to what degree human capital information should be disclosed to external stakeholders.”

Building works at the Greenlands site

Work on the new teaching facility and creation of the Learning Resource Center will begin in earnest next Monday and this week the contractors have been getting the site ready (and hanging up more signs than I’ve ever seen on any building site). The work will last until mid summer and will cause some disruption to the locations of workshops, but the end result should be quite stunning. Those of you who like to come in and work quietly in the library may still do so, but the location for this has been moved to the building in front River House where the snooker table used to be.

I’m tempted to tell you that the construction work’s being done by the same company that installed those fantastic hand-driers in the refurbished toilets, but that might seem as though I’m trivialising the new Greenlands Trust Suite, which I’m not – I’m really looking forward to having whole new spaces for learning and I think it will be some solid evidence of the Reading effect.

New Intakes

Next month we’ll be welcoming a new Henley-Based intake (on the renamed Flexible MBA), HB43, and then in March, new groups from Denmark and Finland. For those who don’t know, the Nordic and Scandinavian incoming students hold a joint workshop at Greenlands and have a tradition of organising their own “Eurovision Song Contest” on the second evening. The trophy is currently back in the hands of the Danes, who put on a performance to rival anything you might see on the X Factor to get it back from the Finns.

At the end of March, it will be South Africa’s turn for their Starter workshop, which we will be running from the new Henley location in Johannesburg. New premises, too, for the Henley office in Hong Kong.

Who’s Who

 This month we welcome an energetic new Director of Marketing for the Business School, Rosemary Hayes, who joins us from spells with IESE in Spain and University of Kent Business School.

Many of you outside the UK will know Pat Hougham, who did much more with our Partner Network than her title of International Programmes Manager suggests. After more years here than she would care to admit, Pat will be retiring in February and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank her for all her dedication and resilience in dealing with a great number of things on the Flexible MBA.

NUS Cards

This may be of interest to those of you based in the UK. National Union of Student (NUS) ‘Extra’ cards are available for part-time as well as full-time students from the University of Reading. NUS cards, apart from having some nostalgia appeal from your slimmer undergraduate days, entitle you to numerous discounts in certain retail and service businesses. Details of how to purchase one can be found at http://cards.nus.org.uk/buy/ (pick up is from the Whiteknights campus Student Union in Reading, I believe) and info on the card can be found here http://www.nus.org.uk/en/NUS-Extra/.

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It’s been a strange start to the year. On the 4th, after two weeks away, it felt as though everyone was back and raring to go – then at the end of that week the snow and ice arrived. For the first time since I’ve been here, we were forced to postpone workshops, which have now been rescheduled. The past few nights have seen temperatures in rural districts around Henley drop to minus 17, and life has skidded to a halt somewhat.

Everyone’s hoping that next week will provide some respite, though the forecast is hardly encouraging. There were some interesting features on the BBC about the difference between “weather” and “climate”, which we may need to remember when other consequences of our economy manifest themselves in other places and times this year.

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