Saturday, 28 September 2013

Views from a just started Royal Holloway MBA student

It is often assumed that out of term time a lecturers life is one long holiday !  If only it were.... although there is more freedom, we are required to undertake teaching prep, admin and research. We are like most of the rest of the UK given 5 weeks vacation time. So, what have I been up to since returning from leave ?
Helen and Dawn in our marketing team want me to make a video, so rather than do this, in classic must do task diversion I decided to invite one of the incoming MBA students to do some filming instead.  I hate being filmed in particular - photos are bad...videoing just plain awful. I don't know what to say, my face goes bright red & it really isn't something I feel comfortable doing.  This task aversion problem is one that many of us seem to share.  I've found even MBA students with assignments and looming deadlines often have the tidiest rooms !
Pritsana Wasana Royal Holloway MBA Candidate
Pritsana Wasana came to campus early with a number of other MBA students to follow a pre-sessional English programme, offered by Royal Holloway International.  I have found students benefit not only from upskilling their operational English, but seem to settle into campus life more quickly and crucially appreciate the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teaching that forms part of the programme.  We often find students who have followed the EAP programme have a deep understanding of what is required for writing successful UK University assignments and are able to share these insights with fellow MBA students.
With three years work experience in a private charter helicopter company in Thailand, Pritsana has been encouraged by her boss to develop herself by studying for an MBA.  She notes one of the particular challenges she faces as a bright, young professional is dealing with much older, experienced and male captains to ensure the operation runs efficiently.  It is important to note as elsewhere Thai culture reveres maturity and perhaps sex equality still has some way to go.  She hopes the MBA will help her develop managerial knowledge experience so she can return home to step up into an operational management job.  Like most MBA candidates Pritsana is self-funding her studies, and in addition to salary based savings she is involved in a number of entrepreneurial businesses, keen not to rely on her family for further funding. 
Whilst making a film that is now added to the MBA Director YouTube channel I was surprised by some of Pritsana's responses.  After three years as MBA Director, this is note worthy & therefore I thought I would share this with you.
Pritsana was not overly focused on the innovative use of drama in the personal development module (an innovation which earned the team a prestigious College teaching prize), the week long Stockholm University Business School study visit, or the integrative programme ending live business consultancy, elements that applicants often cite as key differentiators.  Instead, she was keen on developing her critical thinking, managerial practise and exposing herself to international management and strategy.  She feels that she is very lucky to have received an offer from the University of London, a brand that resonates strongly with family and friends in Thailand.  Compared to home, the cost of living is high and she prefers to cook for herself, finding easy availability of key Thai ingredients that are even sometimes hard to find in Thai cities.  However, she has enjoyed traditional fish and chips and finds fizzy wine and English beer particularly enjoyable.  
Royal Holloway's Windsor Auditorium
Having lived as part of the campus community for several weeks already, Pritsana has found the green spaces our leafy campus provides are ideal for focused study, but regular trains offer cheap and efficient transportation to the multi-faceted attractions offered by central London, where she heads for a bit of culture, fun and relaxation during the weekends.  Compared with home she feels very safe on campus, and enjoys the freedom of being able to walk around. 
I thanked Pritsana for her help in filming, she headed off - where to ?  Where else  - the library. 

Watch the video here if you like : -