MBA Diary #1

Many of you will have read in my previous post (and yes that was over a month ago!) that this year I am starting an MBA.

When I first began talking to people about it, reactions varied from “Why?” through to “I knew you would do one some day.” Generally speaking everyone has been very supportive and many are interested to understand how it goes/is going and what it entails.

I therefore decided that from time-to-time I would post an MBA Diary item to keep those interested up to date!

Before I outline my initial few days a few brief points about the MBA I have enrolled in:

Title: NZ Executive MBA

School: Auckland University – Graduate School of Enterprise

Duration: 2 Years

Format: 16 Papers, 2 Papers per Quarter, 4 Quarters per year (funny that!) Each Quarter is 10 weeks with 2x 6 Hour Lectures once a fortnight (Friday/Saturday)

So, Quarter One has just started with a 2-day Orientation and then yesterday (Saturday) our first official lecture.

The Orientation was an extremely enjoyable time and was a great way to meet the class and staff and also to answer all the questions we needed answered!

Thursday morning started with a Powhiri at the Waipapa Marae (the Marae is part of Auckland University.) A Powhiri is a very sacred and traditional ceremony and a great way of bringing everyone together. Following this official welcome we had 90 minutes of “Speed Networking” where we got to find about all 35 members of our class. The afternoon was spent with general admin tasks that while important I won’t outline for risk of boring you!

Friday continued our orientation where we all undertook a personality test! While tests of this nature are pretty much common-place in large corporates this was a new experience for me. There were no great surprises in my results but how different behaviours combine to create our personality was quite fascinating. Dr Giles Burch who over saw this part of the orientation was an extremely funny Registered Psychologist that made the exercise extremely fun but also incredibly informative.

From there we went about sorting out our study groups for the first year and then had a challenging group exercise which was a great litmus test to determine how our team dynamic worked. In short the project involved a 5 minute exercise constructing houses from cardboard. The team that could produce the most houses that met the required criteria would win! While ultimately we didn’t win we did manage to change the game and that saw us produce 5 times more houses in 5 minutes than any previous team to that point.

From there we started the course ‘proper’ with our two papers for Quarter One being:

Managing Organisations and People

Modelling and Analysis for Management

After 3 days most people were quite exhausted but generally still buzzing. We know things will get tougher from here but we feel we are all up for the challenge.

Finally to come back to the question of “Why am I doing an MBA?”, the answer is two-fold.

Firstly, I am a strong believer in continuing education and to date most of my business knowledge has been learned on the job – the MBA presents an opportunity for some formal training and a chance to fill the holes in my knowledge.

Secondly, the chance to meet and work with a diverse team of 35 people who are all working towards a common goal is a great motivator but was also my biggest point of apprehension regarding the course – now having met my class I can rest easy! The 35 people on the class are  a great bunch. We have had many laughs together and the diversity of backgrounds will contribute highly to the overall level of learning. The MBA is not about various lecturers standing up and teaching us various topics, it is a far wider learning experience where we will draw on everyone’s experience to discover different ways of thinking.

To sign off, I am not sure how regularly or not I will keep you updated on the MBA but if you want to keep an eye out you can easily filter my blog items by categories on the side-bar. Alternatively you can bookmark this link.

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