Warwick Week 1
Warwick Week 1 is now over, I was excited to attend before hand, and equally excited to leave at the end, not because it was bad but because the length of days and amount of quality learning certainly puts you through your paces! But every second is worthwhile.
We arrived during the Easter break and so the university was like a ghost town, that wasn’t a bad thing as it enables you to find you way around without feeling consumed by thousands of students, oh and there is quite a bit of wildlife around Warwick should you like that!
Having never been to Uni in my younger days I had not idea what to expect, Warwick is well presented and clean, but slightly difficult to navigate at first but after a day it’s very easy to find your way around (there are a few little short cuts that will make your life a whole lot easier if you can find them)!
I opted to stay in the on site accommodation, I was allocated Arthur Wick 3 to be precise. As the rooms were being booked and organised via ‘Warwick Conferences’ I thought I would take a look at the website to see what the quality of rooms would be like, they seemed pretty good. However what I did not realise was that these were not the rooms we would be allocated and in fact the booking through the WBSLive system for WW1 resulted in us all being allocated ‘Halls’! As I stated earlier, I did not go to Uni, so this was somewhat a shock and they are situated a reasonable distance from the lecture rooms, about 10 minutes depending on your speed of walking. That said they were suffice and the shower was pretty good!
Induction & Team Building
I arrived on the Friday night before the Saturday and as such being prepared for Saturday was a whole lot easier. We spent the morning being given an induction by the Assistant Dean, advised on plagiarism and some guidance on deadlines, writing assignments etc. The main lecture room can hold about 300 people so it’s not a small room, but the acoustics work well, the lighting is fine and the tech is good enough for all to see and hear.
This was the first time I had met my tutor group and it gave us the opportunity to actually understand each others personalities, having only spoken to each other virtually for 3 months this was a welcome relief.
The afternoon consisted of team-building tasks like a brief ice-breaker where we introduced ourselves to the rest of the group for 90 seconds, this is harder than it sounds if you aren’t good at talking about yourself. This was followed by two slightly more physical exercises like trying to get all of your team through a hula-hoop in the quickest time possible and then a creative task on building a structure out of bamboo canes and other items, to reflect your ‘vision’ of the MBA!
While it was a long afternoon the best part of this was getting the ‘storming’ part out of the way in the group dynamics and therefore enabling the rest of the week to go as well as possible.
The evening of Day 1 was filled with a proposed group economics exercise that should begin at 1900! This was obviously approached with some scepticism given what we believed to be the magnitude and that we all thought the economics module was the hardest out of the three we were studying.
It actually turned out to be pretty good not only was economics not as hard as we thought but any leftover group dynamics also got ironed out.
Economics of the Business Environment
Our first proper day was stacked with economics lectures, group exercises, de-briefs and smaller group sessions led by different tutors, giving you a different perspective and ideas. This provided a great summary of the lessons already covered and an introduction into the next few lessons that would be microeconomics.
The smaller group sessions were broken down into two study groups with a room in the business school allocated to use, then the de-brief was in a room with 4 groups where a volunteer from each group would present their given task. This was great and it really helped to get to know some of your fellow students that you had not yet seen.
The afternoon session consisted of vulnerability and based on Matt Cooling’s blog it seems as though they slightly change the topics each year but actually the basis will be the same. Then we had another group session followed by a de-brief that you see above.
The close to this day was an introduction into the final assignment, which simply put is as follows:
“Chose an organisation, conduct a micro and macro economic analysis of it, particularly during a global shock and assess its stability during another, using relevant data. Obviously!”
Overall the lecturers were great, sense of humour was spot on. They made, what could have been a dry topic, interesting, interactive and left you wanting to learn more. What was my least favourite module is now my favourite.
Accounting and Financial Management
Since I am an accountant this was a day I thought would be slightly painful since I had completed the TMA’s and read most of the module already. However I was slightly judgemental in my analysis and in fact its amazing how much value you can add to your study group when you know a subject inside out.
As with the EBE day the morning consisted of an overview of Lessons 1-4, again nothing too taxing (no pun intended!) but I think this really helped those students who were struggling with this topic. After the mid-morning break we had a change of lecturer and the topic was ratios. I’m feeling some of the sighs already, being impartial it was a long session, with the amount of ratios there are to calculate (20+) they had a Powerpoint slide for each one! Personally this was a slight overkill and even some of my non-accounting colleagues thought so too, but even if you do know these already there are a few bits of useful information in there somewhere.
The afternoon session was a group exercise whereby you were expected to carry out a CORE analysis on an Asian food retailer pretending you worked for a UK company that was looking at the Chinese market. The CORE analysis is something you will need to become familiar and use concisely as it is the basis for the TMA A and also the 24 hour assessment (So we are led to believe). This 2.5 hour group exercise was good fun and it really got me engaged and provided something that I could help the group with.
Leadership and Development Day
So this was a day that quite a few people were sceptical about, we initially thought it was going to be loads of MBTI/Insights kind of work and people telling us what kind of person we were etc. But in fact it turned out to be a lot better than that, you were split into groups of about 20 (not necessarily with your study group) and assigned two ‘coaches’. One from the WBS Personal & Career Development team and the other for us was Declan Woods from ZPD Consulting
The day started slightly generic/stale with the standard questions of ‘what is a leader?’ but this is the opener that gets people within the room talking and ultimately after 20 minutes you realise that everyone has a different opinion of what they see in a leader and why they are good.
The day then developed with us all breaking into groups of 3 and questioning each other on, in general terms, life. This was the most important part of the day and it enabled a lot of the group to really start questioning where they wanted to go next with the MBA and whether it fitted with who/what they wanted to be as a person.
There were a lot of other learnings during the day such as the Parent-Child conversational structure, the Johari Window and group exercises to understand how segregation of tasks can be good and bad.
All in all it was a very useful day and not one to be missed or underestimated, we came away with a lot of useful documentation to enable us to find our way over the coming months.
THE END OF WARWICK WEEK MEAL
If I would say there is one thing you should do as a matter of networking and meeting colleagues, this would be it. With 200 people in a room together, alcohol being consumed it was a great opportunity to really go out and meet people, a lot of which I hadn’t seen in the previous 3 days even though we had been in the same lecture theatre! Meeting people in a different environment from the classroom is much better for conversation and sometimes breaking the ice is a lot easier and feels less like an interrogation or interview.
The final day, my most anticipated subject and quite a few of my study group felt the same. This was the module they could all see in action every day at work and felt like it could really help them understand what was going on with power struggles and political problems.
However, placing this day after the previous nights meal and drinking may not have been the best idea! It’s a long day and it does require an awful lot of concentration, it has a huge amount of theory and as one might put it ‘full of academia’ more than the other modules.
The format of this day was similar to previous, the morning was a complete overview of the lessons you should have read and the afternoon was a 2.5 hour study group session, using the framing techniques to analyse a given problem. It created all sorts of opinions in our group and my word of warning is that in this module it is very, very easy to drift away from the specific point and even the slightest digression will result in an unclear point or you going off on a tangent!
The group exercise is designed specifically to get you in the correct mindset to address TFC 1 which is the first part of your marked assignment. Camilla and the team were really helpful during their time spent with our group and really helped you to stop drifting off the point and focus on, as they call it, the ‘key protagonists and symptoms’
All in all WW1 was good, the days are long I won’t lie, the work can be difficult and challenging but then again we aren’t attending a SPA for 5 days, we were there to learn. Make the most of the time you have to get out of your study group, you should be talking to these guys on a regular basis online so there is no need to socialize with them too much.
Now it’s time to get back to revision and reading in time for the deadlines which are all around the 2nd week in June.
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please let me know.