13 modules, 17 textbooks, 130 lessons, 4 visits to Warwick, 15 TMAs, 11 assignments, and 3 exams. Two and a half years after I started my MBA, I’m very pleased to say that on Wednesday I received confirmation that I had passed my final module’s assignment, meaning I have now completed all the modules and just have the project & dissertation to complete. It feels great to know that I have finished the taught learning of the MBA, and although it has been challenging and exhausting at times, it has been an extremely valuable experience. The textbooks, lessons, live webinars, and online discussions have been interesting, insightful and valuable, and the assignments have complemented the learning by demonstrating how to apply many of the theories and concepts in real life. I’m really pleased with the breadth of subject matter that has been covered on the Warwick MBA, and feel that there was a good balance of modules across the broad spectrum of business topics. As a reminder, the modules I studied are:
Culture & People
- Economics of the Business Environment
- Modelling & Analysis for Management
- Complexity, Management & Network Thinking
In general I enjoyed all the modules, but looking back my top three would be:
Innovation & Creativity – I’m personally very interested in how innovation can help organisations be successful, and so was really looking forward to this module which I chose as one of my electives. The various innovation frameworks and perspectives on innovation were fascinating, particularly when I used these to assess the innovativeness of organisations I was familiar with. It was also useful to appreciate the role of creativity, particular in terms of managing creativity both at an individual and group level. The final assignment was very interesting, as it required me to undertake an assessment of the innovation capability of the company I worked for, and was a great opportunity to understand how the concepts applied to the reality of an organisation’s processes, structure and culture.
Management of Change – This was another of my electives, and I expected to find a number of different methodologies and frameworks that could be used to implement change within an organisation. Initially I was slightly disheartened when I realised that only one of the ten lessons focused on these methodologies; however, as I progressed through the module I came to appreciate the various complexities of change, the importance of considering an organisation’s readiness for change, the different approaches that can be used to ‘frame’ changes, and how resistance to change can be dealt with. Overall, the module provided some really valuable insights, which I am confident I will be able to draw on in the future when involved in change programmes. Like Innovation & Creativity, the assignment was also based on the company I worked for, which again brought the module’s concepts to life, and helped me appreciate the challenges involved in implementing change in a large, global organisation.
Strategic Advantage – this was a core module that considered the business strategy of an organisation. It started by looking at ways of evaluating the competitive landscape for an organisation, and then explored the different approaches to developing a competitive strategy, such as market and resource-based strategies, blue-ocean strategy, and hyper-competition. There were also some interesting lessons on mergers, alliances, and global strategies, all of which were fascinating. Although the module covered a broad range of concepts, I would have liked it to have gone into more depth in some areas; however, I guess this just means I should have taken the Strategy & Practice elective module. The final assignment was another really interesting one, focussing on the strategic impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on BP.
Although these were my top three modules, all the others were still both interesting and valuable:
The Financial modules provided insight into financial statements, product costs & pricing, budgeting, performance control, financing decisions and the mechanics of publicly-owned companies;
The Functional modules explained in detail the challenges and opportunities in two key business functions, Marketing and Operations, and demonstrated these from both a day-to-day and strategic perspective;
Organisational Behaviour provided a look at the human and cultural side of an organisation, from the perspective of individuals, groups, the whole firm, and its interaction with society;
Economics of the Business Environment demonstrated the impact of the wider economy of a business strategy, both in terms of the macro-economy and micro-economy;
Modelling and Analysis taught a number of tools that can be used in many different business activities, such as regression, simulation, and modelling;
Complexity, Management and Network Thinking looked at how businesses can take advantage of the increasingly complex environments in which they operate, including the networks that develop between people, organisations, processes, and systems.
All that remains now to complete my MBA is the Project & Dissertation. This is a significant piece of work (about 25% of the MBA), which I’m really pleased to be starting as this will give me the opportunity to study in detail some of the concepts learned during the course, and apply them to a real-life environment. I made the decision to put my P&D on hold for a few months whilst I completed my last module, so although I’m starting a bit later than originally planned, this means I can now focus 100% of my time on the P&D, which I expect to take me until the start of next year. Although I have not finalised the exact research question for my P&D, it will almost definitely be related to the fields of Strategy, Business Models, or Innovation – but more about that in a future post.