SCHOOOOOOL’S OUT!!!

Exams over! Just a few days completing an assignment, and 2007 is done. A third of my MBA (excluding the project term) is now over bar the partying. And looking back, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The first-term modules – Accounting & Finance, Economics of Business, Operations Management, Market Analysis, and Organisational Behaviour – were, with the exception of OB, instantly relevant and practical. And even OB demonstrated its value in later lectures: when people behave in a certain way, it’s sometimes possible to see why, based on fundamental human traits like motivation, leadership, power, culture, pay/performance, teams, and identity. After the first OB lecture I came home and exploded to my flatmates, “What the FUCK was that all about?!” but overall I’m glad it was a core module; it provided a human aspect to all the numbers and strategy stuff elsewhere. And you can’t forget the people.

We’ve also had some outstanding lecturers. Ben Knight seems everyone’s favourite – a brilliant performer and deeply knowledgeable, with a knack for putting economic concepts into everyday experience – but the passion of Stuart Chambers turned humdrum operational management into a warm and rewarding exercise in problem solving, whereas Nigel Piercy’s sarcasm-laced Market Analysis lectures were cerebrally stimulating. Accounting was the low point, but low here is still above the merely ok, and let’s face it, do you really want a passionate accountant?

And what about POM, ‘Practice of Management’, the personal and professional development module Warwick’s famous for? To be fair, it’s been patchy. The least joined-up of the modules – more a grab-bag of seminars than a Great Conversation. Obviously the three-year-old module’s still bedding in. But its heart is in the right place, and in another decade it’ll be a world-beating USP for Warwick’s programme. (It takes a LOT of time to tune a course to goosebump-inducing perfection. And such positive resonance, well taught, is the difference between the world’s top 50 business schools and the 5,000 also-rans beneath them.)

I’ve just picked up my module folders for the Spring, and they form a pleasing sequence along my bookshelf: core modules of Modelling & Analysis and Strategic Advantage, following on from Term 1’s strategic environment learnings (Economics) and preceding the Summer Term’s putting it into use (Strategy & Practice). A nice thread running through the courses, branching off into a custom programme of electives, half quant and half strategic.

I wouldn’t change a thing about this MBA. But I do want it to change me.

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