First semester assessments

I’m pleased to say that after 5 1/2 hard months, I have finally reached the end of the first semester for my distance learning MBA. It has been a great (and challenging) experience so far, during which I have gained some fantastic insight into financial and management accounting, macro- and micro-economics, and the behaviours seen in organisations, groups, and individuals.

Last Wednesday was the assessment for the Accounting module, which took the form of an open-book ’24-hour’ exam; the expectation is not that we spend 24 hours working on it, but instead allocate 6-8 hours during a 24-hour period (given that the course has participants in most timezones). In practice, many people (myself included) spent much longer than this, with the aim of producing the best piece of work possible in the timeframe.

The assignment consisted of two parts; the first part accounted for 70% of the overall grade and required us to compare two organisations using the CORE framework (see here for an explanation), and the second required us to select two questions out of three and write a shorter report for each question.

Moving on to the next module, on Saturday evening I submitted my Economics assignment. The assignment title was given to us at Warwick Week, but due to the intense learning schedule, I like most people focussed on this towards the end of the semester. This assignment also consisted of two parts; the first accounted for 25% of the grade and required us to assess the impact of a specific economic shock on an economy. As I had completed my first TMA on China, I thought it would be sensible to use the same country; this helped me significantly as I already knew the location of the right data sources and had an understanding of the key economic dynamics.

The second part of the question required us to complete a micro-economic analysis of a chosen company. The company I selected was Marks and Spencer, as I have a lot of experience working with retail customers, and M&S had a diverse performance over the last 10 years (I’d like to thank my wife for the suggestion, it was a good recommendation!). It also helped as we used this company for our ratio analysis lesson in Accounting, so I could understand better the interaction between the two modules.

The final module for this semester is Organisational Behaviour. Due to unforeseen circumstances the assessment for this module will now be completed over the next few months. Obviously this has changed our plans slightly, but I guess unplanned changes happen in academia as well as in business! I’m looking forward to getting the assignment completed though, before I start the second semester modules.

That’s it for now, and time for me to have a few weeks off (and my family to actually see me for more than a couple of hours a day!). I have a few more blog posts planned before the second semester though, following which I will provide an overview of the modules we will start in July.


10 thoughts on “First semester assessments”

  1. Hey Matt. Congratulations on completing the first semester. As I prep for my July start to the DL-MBA at Warwick, its been great to read your perspective on what lies ahead. Looking back over the past 6 months, is there any advice you’d go back and give yourself before starting? Any bits of reading or prep that you would have done? Am definitely savouring what’s left of my free time but am also keen to dive in ready to go.

    Best of luck to you on the second semester. Look forward to the future posts!



    1. Hi Patrick,

      I would say have a good rest before it starts! However, if you want to do some background reading, you could try ‘Your MBA with Distinction’, I found this had lots of useful tips.

      I’m also planning to make another blog post soon with some tips to get started, so keep an eye out for that (you can subscribe at the top-left if you want).

      Good luck with your first semester – might see you at Warwick Week.



      1. Hi Matt,

        Great blog to get people familiarized with the WBS DL program. I am starting in Jan 2013. I was wondering how mathematically intense the finance and accounting module is? I certainly need to do some accounting in my business role as a senior manager of supply chain but it has been years since I have done lots of math in school. I am not overly strong in this area so it has me a little concerned. How do the exams work for this module?



      2. Hi Aleks. Accounting and Financial Management is not too mathematically intense, and I think there’s a refresher course available on my.wbs if you’re concerned. However, If you already have elements of accounting in your current role, I wouldn’t be too concerned – my recommendation would be to get started on the course and see how you get on, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

        Can you confirm what you mean by ‘how the exams work for this module’?


    1. Hi Aleks. The AFM exam that I sat consisted of two parts. The first required an essay answer based around a case study (70%). The second required us to choose two out of three questions to answer – these were still essay-style, but shorter (15%).

      Hope this is useful, Matt


  2. Hi Matt. Thanks for all the useful tips. I am 1 year behind you and in the process of preparing my first TMA for EBE. I was wondering if you could direct me to the resource for information on China per your post above. I am struggling to find anything good. Thanks a million. Peru


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