MBA Week 0: Orientation

My exciting personal project for 2022 is an Eccentric MBA! It’s a self-paced self-taught online programme of study. For the background and approach, see the MBA organiser page.

This is the zeroth week! My plan is to post weekly updates of what I’ve been studying.

start ignition sequence

This week I’ve been scoping out different MBA curriculums and synthesising them in to the full curriculum.

Several things have struck me.

First is that it really is a substantial qualification, at least at the institutions I looked at. Which I did know, of course, but having explored in detail what you study, it certainly looks like a full year of full-time study at postgraduate level. I don’t have anything like that much time to devote to it, but I do have some big advantages over an ordinary MBA student:

  • I know a lot more about the topics covered than most starting MBA students, since I’ve been interested in these subjects for many years and have studied some of them formally, some informally. Many MBA students do have relevant work experience of applying these ideas in practice, but I suspect I have much more than the average.
  • I’ve more practice in picking up the key points for me specifically from a large volume of information, and more familiarity with teaching materials, having spent 20 years as an academic at the OU.
  • I don’t have to cover the entire curriculum. The curriculum I’ve assembled is way more than a full-time MBA student could cover in a year, because I’ve composited several. But I don’t have to cover even an ordinary-sized MBA if I decide it’s not worth my time – and I have a strong hunch that there’ll be diminishing returns to this project at some point before I tick off every topic.

Second, there’s a lot less on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) than I expected. I can hear some of my more woke friends rolling their eyes and groaning here: Doug, what were you thinking, of course MBAs aren’t interested in that. I did know it wouldn’t be the main feature, and I’m not surprised there’s no Decolonising the Boardroom. (Particularly given the institutions I picked.) But from business news I’ve read (e.g. the FT) I did get a sense that DEI was a topic that concerned many senior executives at the moment. Sure, it’s more out of concern for reputation management than for doing the right thing, but it is a live issue for many organisations. I’m surprised that the phrase itself doesn’t seem to feature much even as a marketing puff for idealistic young prospective students.

Third, some of these universities are remarkably sketchy and thin about what you will actually learn if you sign up to spend really quite a lot of money with them. And many came with caveats that the website was indicative, and because of the fast-changing business environment, what you end up studying after you have paid the substantial fees (well above the median annual wage) might be quite different. I know many people are exercised about the consumer rights aspect of universities at the moment, and my experience here certainly supports their concerns. But that’s not my current battle.

One thing I hoped to do this week was spend some time specifically finding resources that would be generally useful – open textbooks, online resources and courses, etc. That’ll have to get pushed to next week.

I am excited about the project, and thank you so much for starting out with my by reading this post! Any feedback, comments, or suggestions very gratefully received.

Author: dougclow

Data scientist, tutxor, project leader, researcher, analyst, teacher, developer, educational technologist, online learning expert, and manager. I particularly enjoy rapidly appraising new-to-me contexts, and mediating between highly technical specialisms and others, from ordinary users to senior management. After 20 years at the OU as an academic, I am now a self-employed consultant, building on my skills and experience in working with people, technology, data science, and artificial intelligence, in a wide range of contexts and industries.

One thought on “MBA Week 0: Orientation”

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