Further to my last post on choosing electives, I have since submitted my elective choices to Warwick Business School. Here’s a list of what I selected and why.
In the first semester I completed the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) module, which gave me an introduction to financial concepts within an organisation. However, I wanted to take these concepts further, and there are a number of ‘financial’ modules that follow on from this, including Corporate Finance, Management Accounting, Advanced Corporate Finance, and Entrepreneurial Finance. I opted to pursue the Management Accounting module as I really enjoyed the ‘Management Accounting’ section of AFM, but felt more depth was needed, which I hope to get from this module.
Innovation is an area that I hear a lot about in my current role (I work in a team called CIE – Customer Innovation and Execution!), and is a subject that I’m very interested in. I have been involved in a number of conversations on the topic over the last few years, and it always leads to a very interesting discussion about what innovation really means, how organisations can be more innovative, and how an investment in innovation can be justified. When I saw this module I instantly knew it was a module that I wanted to take, and I’m looking forward to being able to use the concepts learned both internally and with customers in the future.
Currently I work for a very large organisation with over 60,000 employees, and engage with other very large organisations – so entrepreneurship in not something that I am involved with on a day-to-day basis (although I did work for a start-up for three years prior to joining Cisco). I chose this module because I wanted to get an appreciation of the opportunities and challenges faced by entrepreneurs and SMEs, and see how this contrasts to working for a global company. This will hopefully help prepare me for a wider set of opportunities as my career progresses in the long-term.
Over the last four years I have been involved in a number of engagements with customers that focus on the consumer experience, considering how companies can position and promote their brands, products and services. Despite my background being in the technology field, I have found the concepts really interesting, and learned a lot from my colleagues who have experience in these fields. Combined with the fact that I am currently half-way through the Marketing module, which I am really enjoying, I decided this would be a good topic to continue studying about. Another great thing about marketing is its applicability and ‘real-life’ nature – its great to be able to see examples (good and bad) of the content on a daily basis.
This is one of the modules that I expect will be directly relevant to my current role, as well as being important to future career paths. Working in the technology industry I see change on a daily basis, and it is clear that in order to survive, it is essential that an organisation is able to adapt and change in response to both external and internal stimuli. Being able to understand the implications of change and how to manage them in order to carry out changes effectively, are both really important to this, and I’m looking forward to learning about these concepts – so that I am able to better drive change in the future, and also able to embrace change more effectively as well.
This is probably the module that has the most ambiguous title out of all the electives, and so it did not appeal to me at first glance. However, when I read the course outline, I felt that this could be a really interesting module to study. The synopsis starts with a view of “the digital economy and internet-enabled environment”, so I almost disregarded it (I didn’t want to take a module where I would just repeat what I do during the day). However, it then continues to mention topics such as “knowledge management”, “competing in the information space” and “network thinking”, all of which appear to focus on how to use information and knowledge to be competitive in the “New Economy”. As well as being interesting, this module looks to be very relevant to my experience and career, so on this basis I selected this as my final elective.
You may recall from my last post that I considered each of the modules against three criteria, Relevance, Pre-existing Knowledge, and Interest. Looking back over my comments above, you’ll find the word ‘interesting’ in most of the modules, and I personally put a strong weight on this factor to ensure that my motivation was maintained throughout the course. Pre-existing knowledge was a more difficult one for me consider – I knew that I didn’t want to take the module ‘Managing the Digital Workspace‘ given that I am probably familiar with most of the concepts already, but I also did not want to take too many modules for which I had limited experience (eg. Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation), so have tried to find a good balance of hard vs. straightforward (note that I did not say easy!) electives. The final factor was Relevance, and I think most of these modules will have some relevance to my current role, and I am sure all of them will include topics that are relevant at some point during my career.
As well as choosing my electives, I also had to decide when to study them, and in what format.
Semester 3 (January – June 2013)
In the first semester next year I plan to study Management of Change, Management Accounting, and Complexity, Management and Network Thinking. The first two are completely online, whereas the last module is a face-to-face module in early June. I chose this combination as I expect Management of Change to require lots of time for study and reading, so by only studying two distance learning modules I can devote extra time to this module during the first four months of the year (pre-reading for the face-to-face module starts in May).
Semester 4 (July 2013 – December 2013)
In the second semester I plan to study Strategic Marketing and Innovation and Creativity in Organisations (in addition to the compulsory module, Strategic Advantage). Strategic Marketing only runs during this semester so I only had one module to choose alongside this and Strategic Advantage. I chose Innovation and Creativity in Organisations as I thought it would be an interesting complement to Strategic Advantage, and expect it will add more immediate value to my career than Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation.
Semester 5 (January – June 2014)
Only one module is required in this semester, although we will also be working on our dissertation or project at this time. Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation seemed quite appropriate as my last module, as it should be quite interesting and help me stay motivated after two years of study!
To the other students in my cohort, it would be great to hear about what modules you chose and why – feel free to comment below? That’s it now for me though, back to the modules for this semester … although I’m excited for year 2 already!