Posts Tagged ‘newsletter’

Dear all,
After a month off, the newsletter is back and this one is packed to bursting with interesting stuff, but first I hope you’ll indulge me in some attempt to connect you to Henley.
Let me paint you the picture. We’ve been enjoying a couple of weeks of classic English indian summer, with blue skies populated by the occasional Red Kite, warm day-time breezes, cool evenings and still, misty mornings. The leaves are beginning to turn, creating a palette of colours to reflect in the steely, smooth of the Thames, where teams of rowers practice and train, followed closely by their coaches on bicycles. Lunches are eaten with the doors of the Hayworth Room open to the sun and air, and the benches and parkland have been more enticing for meetings that the break out rooms. The monastic concentration of those working on assignments in the library contrasts to the labour being put into the renovation of Thames court bedrooms, and other building and repair activities. Indeed, for much of the month, Henley has been a quiet buzz of activity, all managed with quiet efficiency by the catering, hotel and administration staff. That buzz of background activity is actually what creates the tranquillity for members on programmes here, of course, and that’s exactly what helps make Henley special as soon as you rumble across the cattle grid.
October is going to be even busier, and although no doubt the weather will shift and the days darken earlier, the same magic will be here. The marquee for the graduation will be the next sign of where we are in the ‘learning’ season.
The Annual Survey 2009
In excess of 300 of you responded to the annual survey, which is a fantastic response rate. Thank you. I have been collating the results and looking through the hundreds of comments made in order to create a summary. Once this is done, I will be posting a file on each intake’s HenleyConnect under Programme Support with the aggregated scores, (including comparisons to scores from 2008 and 2007).
This year you reported increased levels of satisfaction in 11 areas surveyed (including how you feel about the content, scheduling and structure of the MBA) and falls in 6 others (including tutor support). So while the general trend is up, there are areas that we need to improve on. We will examine individual comments to see where there are specific ideas or issues we can deal with.
I’m pleased to say that the group is making more friends and is likely to top 5,000 members before the end of the year. We now have two sub-groups forming. One is an alumni group focused on Leadership of Organisational Change, and is being managed by Mike Green and Situl Shah, while the other is interested in gathering entrepreneurs or those with an interest in entrepreneurship, and this is managed by Ines Kaps-Mladenhoff.
As ever, if you would like to join the Henley Linkedin community, please make sure that your profile is up-dated and accurate. For anyone starting their MBA after August 2008, this should include referring to us as Henley Business School.
Home Straight Community
Mike and Richard are gearing up to run their second gathering this year, which will be on Sunday October 18th. Of course, this is just a day after the graduation ceremony, so they have the wonderful draw of the marquee and empty champagne bottles to spur those working through the dissertation. This event is open to Henley-based candidates who are very much behind on their work at the end of the programme.
Elective News
One quick point I’d like to make now (and will repeat over coming months) is to announce that last year’s successful International Business Environment elective, which was a study week in Hungary, will be repeated in March 2010. Details are in the elective area on HenleyConnect, but it would be great to get a full complement of participants. The week commences from Sunday March 7th and concludes on Friday 12th. I will be leading the trip, under the tutelage of Prof Emilio Herbolzheimer.
Good ideas Corner
No-one has emailed me during September to ask me to promote their research for the MBA, so I’m launching a new item to showcase some of the neater suggestions and hints that have come across my desk during the month. Feel free to send in more….
With thanks to Woz Ahmed, a tip for anyone who has chosen to activate their University of Reading username and password is that doing so also entitles you to discounted software purchases. Activating your UoR username allows you also to login to the wi-fi on campus, view your (automatically created) student email account on RISISweb (where you can set a rule to forward any mail the university sends you) and access the online learning resources. All this is in addition, of course, to the resources you already use on HenleyConnect.
Another great tip, actually one that was mentioned before, is the TED web site. Subtitled “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”, this site contains a whole bank of high-quality video presentations by some very accomplished speakers, so visit www.ted.com to see more. For example, this talk, by Dr Oliver Sacks, got my interest.
New Intakes
At the end of September I was privileged to be in South Africa for the second time this year to launch the Henley MBA. This was not because it didn’t work first time round, rather this was our second intake, which I think shows the tremendously exciting potential of southern Africa in business education as well as being proof of the dedication of the Henley team there. Late last week we welcomed our newest Henley-Based intake, HB42, which numbered 56 members. Of these, 16 were beginning the Project Management MBA. Tomorrow we see the latest groups from Denmark and Sweden coming here for Dynamics of Management.
From the alumni team, here are three up-coming events in the UK. If you know of any November/December events likely to interest members where you are, please let me know during October, and let’s make this less UK-centric.

  • 8 October 2009 – London & SE Alumni Group Annual Dinner at the Athenaeum, London. We will be having a guest speaker, who will be introduced on the night and are also delighted to announce that Chris Bones and the alumni team will be joining us as guests. A great opportunity to network and dine in fine surroundings. Partners and business guests welcome. Numbers will be limited to 65.
  • 02 November 2009 – Pharma Forum Winter Meeting – “Customer Marketing Challenges in Pharmaceuticals” with Professor Merlin Stone, leading expert on direct and relationship marketing, customer care, customer loyalty and customer information systems and speaker at the forthcoming Chartered Institute of Marketing Annual Conference – at One Alfred Place, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7EB. 
  • 12 November 2009 – Keynote Lecture Lecture Series 2009 with Ian Powell Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers on 12th November 2009.
    Who’s News
    I promised, but never delivered, a proper introduction to Kathy Jarvis, who took up position as Programme Manager for the Flexible MBA (I’m getting used to this) in July. Kathy was previously the manager of the admissions office at Henley, which has helped tremendously as she is already familiar with many aspects of the MBA.  Kathy was replaced in that post by Catherine Boyle.
    You will probably all have heard by now that in September Chris Bones announced that he would be standing down as Dean of Henley Business School at the end of the academic year, next July. The University has already begun the dean search, and I’ll keep you informed as and when I hear anything officially.
    Congratulations to all those reading this who are about to graduate this month, and fingers crossed to all of you waiting to hear about your exam results after the Programme Examiners meeting at the end of October.


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    Dear all,  

    With the summer holidays (at least in the northern hemisphere) in full swing, this newsletter will cover both July and August. This is somehow appropriate, however, since we have just crossed – without ceremony or fanfare – our first anniversary as Henley Business School. Just over a year ago at this time we were on the brink of merging with the University of Reading, and when I look back to my newsletter for that month I see that it was all about mixed feelings, so it’s perhaps appropriate now to take a quick look back at the last 12 months and see what sense can be made of it.  

    On my drive to work from Oxford in recent days my usual short-cut through the Chiltern lanes and villages and valleys (a drive I really enjoy) has been re-routed because of repair work being done to the road surfaces. My first reaction at seeing the “road ahead closed” sign was annoyance; a longer way round, a less familiar route with the chance of getting lost, and the removal of my vista on the hill with the windmill featured in the children’s film “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang”. But then I realised what the other side of that coin is – a new view, (a road less travelled?) and the subsequent discovery of a wonderful, single-track lane sunk into chalky woodland banks on the approach to Turville, a picturesque village made famous as Dibley in the BBC comedy “The Vicar of Dibley”.  

    The merger has been something of the same feeling, really. Over the last 12 months we’ve all come to realise that the new story is what we make it to be – and what we choose to make it be as a Business School can be just as interesting, just as revealing and just as exciting (though undoubtedly different) as anything we might have constructed as a College. What’s more, in the current market, there may have been quite a different plot being played out had we remained HMC. After a year of finding our feet (sometimes treading on each other’s toes), we’re now beginning to see some of the effects and benefits of being part of the University. Over the remainder of the year, I will try to bring you news of these and other programme developments.  

    The Annual Questionnaire 2009!  

    Old hands on the Henley MBA will, I’m sure, eagerly be anticipating this year’s annual survey, which I will launch some time before the end of August. Each year, we ask you to rate us (and yourselves) on several key performance indicators, as well as giving us feedback that may be more reflective and considered than at the end of a workshop session.   You will receive an email with a link to the survey. Last year the response rate nearly doubled from 2007, so I hope we can keep that trend up.  

    Henley on Linkedin  

    We’re at about 4,500 members now, so still growing, and there are quite a few discussion threads running. The current featured one is titled “A Hippocratic Oath of Managers?” and debates the idea, popular in the US at the moment, that management begin to view itself as an ethical profession. We’re also in the process of launching the first Alumni Special Interest (sub-)Group on Henley LinkedIn – “Leadership of Organisational Change”, managed by Kate Greaves. This will be a venue for discussion and networking on this issue and will tie in to other Henley Alumni activities.   Don’t forget, make sure your profile is accurate and up-to-date before applying for membership of this online community.    

    Henley on Twitter  

    My position on Twitter is that it is a great answer to a question we haven’t worked out yet. However, I am very happy to tell you that Henley is now on Twitter and you can follow our tweets on http://twitter.com/henleymba. You can follow mine on https://twitter.com/dalty, though I’m afraid I’m an infrequent user. Much more informatively, our library team are also using the service and can be followed on http://twitter.com/UoRHenleyLib.  

    Upcoming Events in the UK  

    Looking ahead, the alumni team have circulated the following info and links:

    10 September 2009 – eBusiness Alumni Group. is pleased to announce Nick Kirkland Chief Executive of CIO Connect will be presenting up to date findings on their current research in changing business demands of Chief Information Officers. The presentation will be followed by group discussions. Held at the Athenaeum club, London. amanda.proddow@henley.com

    17 September 2009 – Leadership in Organisational Change Alumni Group  introduces its next event to be held at Fujitsu Services, 22 Baker Street, London W1U 3BW. Their speaker is David Smith, CIO Fujitsu UK & Eire and Director of Core Shared Services.

    17 September 2009 – Third Sector Network Alumni Group – “The Impact of Technology on the Third Sector”. Location: Saatchi & Saatchi, 80 Charlotte Street, London W1A 1AQ. Presentations from Fiona Dawe, OBE, Chief Executive of YouthNet UK; Gemma Went a specialist in Social Media and PR, and Prof. David James, Henley Business School.

    25 September 2009 – Henley Golf Challenge. Now in its 4th year this popular golf event will be held at The Springs Golf Club, Wallingford. £55.00 per person. Only 12 places remaining.

    30 September 2009 – MBA Career Development Service. Effective Self Marketing Workshop at Greenlands, Henley-on-Thames, UK. Contact Linda Thorne.  Another set of dates for (some of) your long-range diaries are the graduation dates for 2010, which are Saturday 15 May 2010, Saturday 16 October 2010 and Saturday 14 May 2011.  

    Refurbishment of the Thames Court bedrooms at Greenlands  

    Much anticipated by those who have stayed in one of the “model” rooms in Thames Court in the past year or so, just started at the end of July was Phase 1 of the Thames Court Bedroom Refurbishment. This covers 24 bedrooms in Windrush House and completion date is Friday 4th September.   

    A great way to present  

    I’m grateful to Alexander Voss in GM01 for forwarding a link to a visual presentation by Swedish academic Hans Rosling that complemented the input on Global Business Environment. I found the style of the presenter very engaging and the use of their visual aid technology seamless with their message. Take a look: http://www.gapminder.org/videos/ted-talks/hans-rosling-ted-2006-debunking-myths-about-the-third-world/. It also has a link to the software he was using.  

    On a similar theme, technical issues that made the use of SameTime for synchronous meetings have now been solved and the system should be functioning. I ran a webinar for prospective new members last week and the system functioned well, with video-audio input from the US, Ireland and the UK, so I hope that those of you who are using this system to work together will keep trying. My learning has been that it takes quite careful preparation to run an online meeting, and often it is better to have everyone’s microphone muted at the start until things settle down and the agenda (and work space) has been presented.    

    Home Straight Community  

    Richard and Mike report that, for the first time since it was set up, the proportion of members who have submitted Dissertation proposals now exceeds those who have yet to do so. There are some great personal stories emerging from the community and the support from the tutors is fantastic, but it still remains a mountain to climb. You can help yourselves, if this is where you are in your MBA, by keeping an eye on your registration clock and communicating sooner rather than later with your course manager/administrator or personal tutor (in the UK) if you need help.

    While I’m here in Part Three of the MBA, let me remind anyone still facing their Part Three exam (Strategic Direction, Business Transformation and Strategic Financial Analysis) that the final first sitting for this exam will be in September 2009, with a re-sit opportunity in December 09.

    (Research Corner)

    Thanks to all those amongst you who volunteered to fill out my online questionnaire, which is helping inform my thinking for my PhD. Occasional blog entries on the topic will educate anyone who is curious as to what I am looking at in my research, but suffice it to say that the answer that I have found most helpful in the survey so far is the one that asks the person filling it out how they found the experience of doing so…

    Help with Dissertation Research: Robert Preston writes: “I’m investigating the level of maturity of Supplier Relationship Management practices within the UK Financial Services industry, the extent to which formal models have been adopted and the degree to which the current economic downturn is influencing management approaches.  If you currently work or have recently worked in Financial Services in the UK and have experience of managing suppliers or knowledge of how suppliers are being managed, I would really appreciate your help in completing an on-line survey. The survey only takes 5 minutes to complete, the results of which I would be more than happy to share with you (just let me know). All individual responses to the survey are anonymous so please rest assured that your answers will be treated in the strictest confidence.

    The survey has been extended to Friday 14th August and can be accessed by clicking the following link: (removed from the Blog).

    Chris Dalton   


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    Dear all,
    Some months it’s really easy to come up with something to say at the beginning of these newsletters. For some reason, though, this month is proving tricky and I’ve been reflecting on why this might be so. That I’m able to do so on what is a glorious day of warm sunshine here, with those attending workshops taking every opportunity to work or relax outdoors on Henley’s immaculate lawns, only makes the writer’s block more mysterious. On days such as these, when the world seems so placid, it would be easy to forget that at one time or another it’s a pretty good bet that each of you will face significant barriers to attaining the goal of completion of the MBA and this week I’ve been dealing with several of these.
    This newsletter goes out to over 3,000 of you and I suppose it’s a fairly safe bet that at any one time a good percentage of you will experience one or more of the ‘darker’ sides of undertaking the MBA. Within the programme the key pressure points tend to be right at the beginning, just after the first exam and then in the long, lonely walk to the finishing line at the dissertation or management challenge phase. In addition come externally generated difficulties, some of which are part and parcel of growing up in adulthood, others which are forced by economic cycle. These can and do throw you off balance. Though small in number overall, each one is of vital importance to the person concerned and each story presents an opportunity for us to learn about how you learn (of course, this is a topic very much on my own mind at the moment).
    Business Schools have been on the receiving end of some bad press during this recession. Some of it may well be deserved. I don’t believe that Henley is the kind of school which can fairly be viewed as part of the problem, but I do believe that there may be a fantastic opportunity now to contribute something to the massive change in mindset in business that the economic disruption could allow. Systems aren’t just made of bricks, they’re mostly made of people and even in (especially in) the hard times it is really important that we know who we are – and that requires us to reflect deeply even when (especially when) things go awry.
    Many of you will already know that HenleyConnect has an embedded device, called SameTime, for contacting other members of your intake synchronously. SameTime can operate as an instant messenger, and it can also be used for audio/video calls, as well as for full-blown online meetings and ‘webinars’. We are keen to explore and promote this tool and as part of that process, I am planning series of monthly Programme Director “office hours” using SameTime meeting. These will be held on the first Friday of each month for four months (initially) from June 5th at 15.00 UK time. Anyone is free to join during that hour, whether it’s just to take a look at the e-meeting environment, raise a question with me or simply say hello. If you have a webcam and microphone, then you will also be able to interact using those. 
    Home Straight news
    With around 60 participants, Richard and Mike hosted an extremely well attended Home Straight meeting at Greenlands the day after graduation. They were able to whet everyone’s appetite for finishing by playing interviews with successful graduates from the day before. Carola Hillenbrand then ran a very well received session on quantitative methods in research.
    Research Corner
    No-one has contacted me this month with details of a research project needing advertising, but don’t hesitate to let me know if you would like other programme members to participate in your research. Also, watch out for news of a questionaire that I will be launching as part of my PhD very soon…
    Dissertation Clinic
    The next clinic, which is a chance for a one-to-one with a member of faculty if you are still working on your first proposal, or a reminder of the dissertation process if you have not got that far, is on June 18th. Sue Thomas is organising bookings for this.

    Your Registration clock



    Programme Examiners Meeting – Statistics

    Here is one of an occasional one of my for ways into the attainment reports from April’s Programme Examiners Meeting, the body that meets quarterly and reviews all assignments and examinations and which puts forward names for graduation

    Sorry – this item removed for blogging purposes…

    Events Coming Up 

    Ashley Arnold, who heads up the recruitment for graduate programmes here, has forwarded me this link, with information about a brand new event on the evening of July 2nd, to promote Henley among your contacts. The evening forms part of the Henley Regatta Week.

    Amanda Proddow has sent me another link for an alumni Garden Party in London on June 16th, organised by the London and South East alumni group. She writes “this is a great opportunity to network with alumni at the highest levels and at a most prestigious venue! Speakers from previous events have been invited and will include Julian Tregoning, Bank of New York Mellon and Tom Flanagan, Pinsent Masons.   Being an external event, the charge for current students is £20.00.”

    Finally, don’t forget Henley alumni Family Day is coming up on July 5th!


    Who’s Who

    First, I need to let you know that my title has been changed from ‘Director of Studies’ to ‘Programme Director’, in line with the terminology used elsewhere in the University. Then, I’m pleased to announce that from mid July Kathy Jarvis will joining my team in the role of MBA Programme Manager. After quite a while being the only one at the helm, so to speak, I am pretty relieved about this! Kathy moves over from her job as manager for admissions and will bring energy and experience to a very demanding job spec. There’ll be more about Kathy in the July newsletter.


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    Dear all,

    in what seems to have become something of an annual ritual, this newsletter is coming to you from Johannesburg, South Africa, where last weekend we launched the programme to a new intake consisting of 80 people, and where this Thursday I’ll be meeting the class that began in 2007 to begin their Stage 3. I’m also pleased to announce that a new intake just started in New Zealand, so welcome to all.

    This visit I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time speaking with some of the managers on the programme and it’s given some impression (though always dangerous to draw conclusions from so little data) of the effect of the worldwide recession here, too. The verdict? Aside from the usual (halt on house buying and selling, uncertainty around job retention and liquidity in the banking sector) the ability to emigrate has been reduced and though the idea is still a strong one, fewer seem to be leaving and some are actually returning. Crime, at least in some areas, has gone down and for the visitor there is a growing sense of expectation that the 2010 World Cup will make a difference to the way the country is viewed elsewhere. I’m really glad that the Henley name is promoted here. The calibre of candidate is diverse and consistently high, and Africa is a place which has so much to offer the rest of us, problems notwithstanding.


    Those of you who are already on LinkedIn and members of the Henley Group will already know that this weekend we broke the 4,000 mark for group membership. It might also interest you to know that ours is now one of an elite number of “Supergroups” on Linkedin, and perhaps even more interested to hear that there is a group for managers of Supergroups, which shares ideas on how to use the site better and gangs up to lobby the people who run LinkedIn to improve the service. If you haven’t yet joined, or have not got a LinkedIn account, you can request to join. Please do make sure that your profile information about Henley is complete and accurate first, though.

    Electives up-date

    Last month I advertised the creation of bookable, guaranteed slots for DL MBA members on the elective workshops for the taught programmes. I managed to jump the gun by about a week, for which I am sorry and for which the admin team at Henley may possibly one day forgive me. But I’m happy to announce that this has been a huge success. We have now filled most of the slots, with two (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management) full up. Thanks to Tracy Clyburn for all her hard work. We hope to repeat the opportunity later in the year (no details yet, though).

    Also, a quick thank you to those who came to Hungary for the International Business Environment elective, which was a great success.

    AMBA re-accreditation visit

    Just so you know, one of Henley’s three MBA accrediting bodies, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) are conducting a periodic re-accreditation visit at Greenlands on April 28th and 29th. Though hard work (you pay a fee for the privilege of spending hours assembling everything you know about your degree) these events are actually very useful and the feedback we get should help us as we evaluate our new MBA curriculum and make appropriate revisions and innovations.

    Home Straight news

    Richard and Mike report that their numbers fell last month, due in part to people completing, which is great. But they also note that a very high number of people simply have not yet put in a proposal, and this is the critical first task in getting from dream of MBA to reality of graduation! It’s been a topic for Henley-Based programme members in the discussion on the Home Straight group on Linkedin. Don’t forget that the next Henley Home Straight event is on Sunday May 17th.

    I know a lot of you are at the dissertation stage and are studying via an Associate Partner and are excluded from these Home Straight events and groups. Where it makes sense, we are looking at encouraging local versions to be set up for those of you behind schedule, and I may also set up another Linkedin group for mutual support, though this will not be tutor led. More info on those next month.

    Events at Henley

    Amanda Proddow has asked me to mention the following event: Emerging Markets and International Business – where next?

    The Global Credit Crisis – Reforming Governance, Rebuilding Economies, Date: Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 April, Location: Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London

    Henley Emerging Markets and International Business Forum is delighted to partner with the Global Emerging Markets Summit to invite members of the Henley community – students, faculty and alumni – to the 2009 Summit to be held in the same month as the G20 in London. GEMS is brought to you by an independent not-for-profit research institute, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), and Perception Management International Group and supported by the London-based ASEAN UK Business Forum. The Founder & CEO Perception Management International is Ms Millicent Danker who is undertaking a DBA at Henley. One of the speakers will be Mr Arif Zaman, Co-Chair, Henley Emerging Markets and International Business Forum, a member of visiting faculty and Adviser, South Asia & Corporate Governance, Commonwealth Business Council. Henley delegates – who should cite ‘Henley’ in their booking – will be able to attend for only £160 for the full 2 days – a saving of £235 on the full price!

    Family Day 2009

    This year the Members Day at Henley will run on Sunday July 5th. Irina Woodford writes:

    “As this event will run on a Sunday, we have decided to start the fun earlier, with gates open from 11.00 am. Boat trips and cream-teas will be booked on a first-come, first serve basis, with the first boat trip leaving Greenlands at 11.30 am. Please visit our website on http://www.henley.com/alumni/membersday2009 for a full Programme of Events and to download a booking form.

    EIU MBA rankings – your chance to vote

    You may know that EIU Economist produced the first ranking of DL MBA Programmes in 2008, and we were ranked 6th in the world and 2nd in the UK. The ranking is due for up-date in 2010 and they are collecting data now. I hope you will have some time to complete the survey. I am convinced that we can boost our place in the ranking, though the 10 schools on the 2008 list were not exactly comparing apples with apples. Certainly I think we should be ranked 1st in the UK!

    Stephen Lee, Faculty Director, Strategy, writes: “It is now ranking survey time again by the Economist. I therefore invite you to take part and contribute your views to the survey. The Economist has asked us to forward the attached online questionnaire which needs to be completed by 22 May 2009 at the latest.

    The rankings provide external testimony to the quality of our programmes and therefore the value of your MBA particularly against other MBAs in the market. I would really encourage you to spend just five minutes completing the survey to ensure you provide the responses that both accurately record your views of the programme and reflect how you expect your MBA to be viewed by the outside world – now and in the future. The questionnaire can be found at: [removed from blog]

    I would be grateful for your assistance in helping us to achieve even better results than in 2008. Remember that responding to the survey is one of the only ways you have to influence the reputation that the Henley MBA has in the employment market. Please could you also confirm to Margareta Koter when you have completed and submitted the survey, so that she is able to check that we have received sufficient responses.”

    A Bull elephant in Pilanesburg National Park. Not going anywhere.

    A Bull elephant in Pilanesburg National Park. Not going anywhere.

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