Finishing up the MBA (Update 3 of 3)

mba graphic

Reference the original post here: https://41perspectives.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/updates-hackathons-big-data-mba/

Lastly, the other thing (in addition to the other retroactive updates I’ve posted, plus my full time job as an IT Project Manager and my role of husband and father – my favorite role, incidentally) that has been keeping me away from the important task of updating my blog has been completing the last few courses toward my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at The University of New Brunswick – Saint John. This was a pursuit that I started in 2009, on a part-time basis, so it has been quite a few years in the making. Completing the program has been an enjoyable experience – except for all of the work! (kidding, mostly)

Kidding aside, the program really has been fantastic, with a great mix of streams, courses, professors and students to learn from. The professors were a good mix of ‘academics’, executives, entrepreneurs and industry experts, and students ranged from other working-professional types to full-time students from countries all over the world – China, India, England, France, Saudi-Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, just to name a few off the top of my head thinking of students I’ve met and worked on projects with. The program even recently cracked the list of ‘Top Ten Canadian Business Schools’ published by Business Review Canada. Kudos UNBSJ!

While this MBA had all of the ‘core’ business and management type courses covered – from Marketing and Accounting, to Economics, Strategy and more, it also had a great mix of courses and assignments that allowed me to expand my knowledge and perspective in a number of other areas as well. Here are just a few quick examples:

  • Human Behaviour – understanding personality types, starting with – and perhaps most importantly – my own. Appreciating how differently people absorb, process and act on information. From your introverts, to your extraverts and those somewhere in the middle (omniverts, you say?), recognizing that not everyone does things the same way, and making the appropriate adjustments, is key if you’re managing, or even just working with, people.
  • Leadership – following closely on the human behaviour element noted above, the topic of leadership is huge with so many different facets. From leadership styles (task based vs. people based; autocratic vs. democratic etc.), leadership types (i.e. servant leadership, transformational leadership), to understanding motivation, Emotional Intelligence and the list goes on.
  • Ethics & Sustainability – exploring the policies and practices of organizations in many shapes, sizes and industries, looking at topics such as clean technology, innovation and product stewardship.
  • Renewable Energy – learning about energy types such as solar, wind, tidal, geo-thermal, among others. Exploring them from not only technological perspectives, but from economic and social perspectives as well.

The program also did a nice job of integrating the research and course work into initiatives that were able to provide value to the communities we are working in. A couple of examples include:

  • Wicked problems: A project that involved working closely with a local municipal department to understand and analyze issues they face, that are largely agreed upon as being ‘wicked problems’ – or problems that are difficult, if not impossible, to solve – for a multitude of reasons. (Here’s a great site and video that sums it up the idea of ‘wicked problems’ or you can read the paper where the idea originated from.) Though perhaps unsolvable by their very definition, we were able to view the situation through a different ‘lens’, and through our research and consultation we were able to present some ideas and findings that were able to add some real value.
  • Buy local: A project where we were tasked with making a case for local private and public corporations to procure ICT services from local providers. In doing so, our objective was not only to put forth a compelling ‘economic argument’, but a ‘social argument’ as well. In putting this together we looked at the practices being undertaken by countries that are global leaders in IT such as Finland and Iceland to make some extrapolations for what a ‘buy local’ strategy could mean for us locally. (See an earlier post on this here).

So, there you have it. That’s everything I learned in the MBA. I’m kidding, of course, but these are just a few of the areas that spring to mind where I feel the program provided some additional value beyond what most would consider core MBA type material (fun stuff, like NPV and IRR). Isn’t learning fun!?

In any case, it will be good to be finished, however from chatting with some of my part-time counterparts working for other companies that have finished before me, there’s a chance – so I’m told – that I may even miss it. (One even made a lose comparison to the concept of Stockholm Syndrome, which (upon looking it up) I thought was pretty funny). I guess time will tell.

Thanks for reading. More posts to follow (on a semi-frequent basis).

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1 Comment

Filed under Business, Management

One response to “Finishing up the MBA (Update 3 of 3)

  1. Pingback: Updates! (Hackathons, Big Data, MBA) | Semi-Frequent Musings on Project Management, Business & Technology

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