The new PT MBA class has arrived

Yesterday evening saw the arrival of the new Part-time MBA class. As opposed to the Full-time MBA and the MBA in International Business, the Part-time class is recruited locally but don’t let that trick you into thinking that it is not an international group. Edinburgh is a very international city and this is reflected in the class so although the majority of students come from the UK as many as seven countries are expected to be represented in the 1st year class. Although these people live and work locally they will come from different educational backgrounds and many will have worked in other countries as well. That’s what’s making it all so exciting. Although the class is not my main responsibility I will on many occasions be involved with the class and will also serve as back up for the Programme Director Simon Earp. So a full-house now – it’s great!

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So much potential

During these first weeks the MBA Careers Management Adviser, Merri Scotney and I meet will all our new MBAs on an individual basis. We find that it is so very important, early on, to get an impression of everybody’s career thinking so as to ensure that we provide the best possible support. In doing this we ensure that we highlight the aspects of the programme that can be of particular service in achieving the stated career objectives such as consultancy projects, exchanges, internships, etc. Hopefully we can get to a situation where all or most of a student’s MBA activities point in the right direction. It is also important early on to find out whether stated career objectives are realistic or whether a stage-by-stage approach needs to be adopted. And I do see a lot of potential in my class.

Yes, I do think of them as ‘my class’. It may sound odd to you but when you work closely with a group of people then I suppose it’s only natural.

I was thinking the other day about how innovation change our language – I wonder is there an App for that? Or will I have to surf, not the sea but the Net for an explanation? We have quit searching, now we Google. I’ll Skype you instead of phoning you. And so many other terms. Any suggestions?

Finally a bit of blogging time…

Last week was great! For those not reading this blog regularly: it was the Induction Week for “my” new MBA class. I really enjoyed that. We had lots of events, some fun and some more serious and the Grand Finale was the ceilidh on Friday evening. It was great to see all dressed up to the nines, and many of the gents in kilts for the first time in their life.  I think some of them found this a bit daunting. And also the Scottish dancing. But everybody had lots of fun on the dance floor – sometimes this included watching future classmates that got Strip the Willow and other Scottish country dances completely wrong. So yes, lots of fun! It seems to be a great proactive group to work with and they have already arranged lost of stuff outside the classroom as well, which is a good thing.

So this week sees the first classes with the excitement and apprehension that follows a return to studies after maybe 18 years. The good thing is of course that all are in the same boat as we say, so all can support each other. This is probably a misconception among many prospective students: you do not have to be an expert in everything. You join the programme to learn and learn from each other. No one can be an expert in everything but all will be very good at something so this is where you grow from sharing the knowledge. Here of course it becomes vital to know whether your programme marks on a curve, i.e. whether a normal distribution is the required marks profile. It isn’t in the Edinburgh MBA. If a normal distribution of marks is required, is it then “free” to share knowledge? Will you not compete against your classmates for the limited top marks if this is so? This can greatly reduce the sharing of knowledge in a class and thereby reduce learning.

Other than that the School is looking forward to the event that now is less than a year down the line: our move to the new building. This is scheduled to happen in August 2010 so the next MBA class will join us there. Follow the work in the blog.

Ohh, by they way – are you a prospective MBA student and do you fancy joining me for a chat? If so then log on to http://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/site-tools/chat on Friday at 10am UK time.

How exciting is that?!

‘My’ new MBAs are here and it’s great! I really do love my job.  It seems to be a good strong class with on average 7.5 years work experience. This week we are busy with the Induction programme  and I can already see the prospect of some interesting future discussions. We’ve covered the fist career session today, just their second day here and that might seem a bit rude – they’ve only just arrived and we are already prompting them to think about what happens afterwards. That of course is necessary because the MBA is not the end, just a means of getting to a desired end. Everybody who do the MBA do it because they want to achieve something. The Induction programme concludes with the ceilidh Friday evening and then it’s on to classes. At the same time, the last few ones from the ‘old’ class is about to leave so you really do get to see the cyclical nature of this job.

Jobs back on

Looking gaunt but happy Steve Jobs yesterday retook Apple centre stage. The presentation of new products and features took back stage to his actually being there and during his presentation Jobs took the opportunity to urge his audience to become organ donors. So what to expect from Jobs now that he is back but not at his former strength? Well, I suppose there’s a very real chance that Jobs despite his having had a successful liver transplant will have to pass on or at least share the responsibility now. A liver transplant is not something the leaves you bright eyed and bushy tailed.  We can but hope that he will continue to make the same high demands that we have seen in the past.

Closer to home the news is awash with suggestions that the UK is slowly emerging from the recession and making a fragile recovery. And also the news that England has qualified for the football World Cup in South Africa next year. Scotland bowed out after a home defeat against The Netherlands. My home country of Denmark is still group leader despite a draw against Albania last night – how on Earth did that happen?

How do you sell a business school?

That’s a thought at the fore of my mind (along with many other things I hasten to say) these days. Why? Well, because we are in the market for a new advertising agency. A business school is such a mixture of tangibles and intangibles and you probably need to have a close association with one to really appreciate how difficult it is to identify the product/service/output.

Are we about research?
Publication?
Knowledge transfer?
Consultancy?
Education?
Student experience?
Intellectual development?
Career advice?
Personal growth?
Invention?
Patents?
Spin-outs?
Community relations?

It’s all of the above so it is interesting to see how the agencies pitching interpret this. How do you put this into one message? Any suggestions?

Other things on my mind are of course ‘putting the final touches’ to the MBA class that is about to leave and the sadness of saying goodbye to these people as well as welcoming the new class. Many have now left Edinburgh and quite  few are already busy at work, forging their new career. I do hope that many of them will be back for Graduation in November.

So yes, the new class begins on Monday. We had quite a few in for an ‘early bird’ reception yesterday and it was good to see how well the conversation flowed. It will be interesting to see how the group dynamics evolve next week during the Induction programme.