Monday, 2 July 2012

Egham Plenary 2012 Introduction Week

The last week in June 2012 saw the traditional 'plenary' (coming together) of distance learning students from the Royal Holloway, University of London MSc and MBA International Management programme.  Week 1 is designed for students to benefit from an introduction to the College (this year they stayed in student dorms that transformed into an Olympic Rowing village the day after), to experience first hand some academic lectures from the teaching team, to engage with a variety of businesses and most importantly to build a wide range of friendships with fellow students from around the world.

A number of highly innovative business engagements were trialled for the first time on the Distance Learning programme, a visit to a leading amusement park and a Q&A session with the whole board of successful UK manufacturing company. 

Students spent a day at Thorpe Park, (owned by global #2 Merlin Group), an amusement park that positions itself as the thrills capital of UK targeting teenagers and young adults with a range of wet and wild roller coasters, fast food franchises and traditional amusements.  Having experienced some of the more extreme rides in the morning plenary participants spent the afternoon engaging with two members of the parks management team, challenged with coming up with ideas to recommend solutions to three key strategic questions. 

Having run a successful AGM in Founders board room the nine strong board of directors of Norman Hay plc (an innovative UK based international manufacturing company that specialises in coatings processes) joined the plenary participants for a challenging interaction that invited student groups to make recommendations on how the company should invest for continued growth.  With a wide range of industrial experience and drawn from markets all around the world the student groups were able to provide Peter Hay, Chairman of the group, and the board of directors with a number of salient recommendations. 

Students combine busy family lives, usually working full time with a distance learning regime that relies on high levels of self-motivation.  The opportunity to network with others, to make friends and to enjoy some social time is often cited as a highlight of the learning experience.  The programme seeks to offer a variety of evening activities that this year included a visit to a traditional student pub, the chance to undertake some tourism in London, a Thames boat trip, a cricket club BBQ and a formal black tie gala dinner.