It’s been a long time – and B322

I haven’t updated this blog in almost a year. I’m surprised how quickly the time has passed.

The reason is, I’ve been busy completing B322 (Investigating Entrepreneurial Opportunities), which was my most recent course with the Open University.

It was a great course, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. The tutor was great too. However, this was kind of an all-consuming experience for me, as I suspected it might be. I’ve always been interested in business and entrepreneurship, so while it was logically a good choice of course for me, I feared it would end up taking over every waking minute of my life for a while.

I finished B322 back in April when I submitted my EMA, and have been taking a well-earned breather for a few months. I recently received confirmation that I passed the course, and that reminding me I need to pick my next course and think about registering.

It also reminded me I need to update this blog and try to keep it going!

So why didn’t B322 feature here?

The main reason B322 was due to the central premise being about investigating a real business opportunity. While my own idea wasn’t particularly innovative, I was always a little nervous about publishing too many details about it – even on the Tutor Group Forum.

I do regret not writing about some things though. I loved learning about cluster theory, and network effects, and I may decide to come back and write about them retrospectively one day.

Anyway, onwards we go. I think I’ve chosen my next course, but I don’t have to register until September so I’m taking a little more time off!

B325 workload

It’s not often that I have negative things to say about an OU course, but I suppose it was bound to happen soon, as I progress with my studies.

Now that I’m nearing the end of B325, I can look back and recognise that I’ve really enjoyed most of the course, but for the last couple of months, the workload has been incredibly gruelling, at times involving some 20+ hours per week in order for me to complete all the readings, module activities and TMAs.

I personally believe this course should be extended into a longer one, instead of trying to cram everything into just five months. There really isn’t time to fully investigate the theories and take everything in over such a short period.

At the beginning of the course, I started a Facebook group to discuss the course with other students outside of the official OU Tutor Group and Student Cafe forums. Many in the Facebook group have said the same thing: that the workload is far too heavy. The fact that lots of students dropped out of my tutor group half way through is also an interesting point to note.

If you are considering taking this course, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into, and ensure you have enough time to dedicate to it. It’s a very good course, but it is tough.

Professional Certificate in Management

I forgot to announce my completion of the Professional Certificate in Management.

In July this year I was awarded the Certificate, after completing B628, B629 and B690.

I loved the content of this course, especially management theory and marketing, both of which are highly relevant to me.

In terms of the finance content, I was already familiar with most of it, but it served as a useful refresher, and I was surprised to learn a few new things I had never heard of.

All in all, I would recommend this course to anyone looking for a formal management qualification that is recognised around the world.

Politics within organisations

My personal experiences of politics in an organisational context are quite negative. In fact, the phrase ‘organisational politics’ to me, conjures up images of inter departmental game-playing, ‘buck passing’, and people hiding behind systems and processes. A good example is the way some members of influential business departments try to refocus blame on the IT department when the actual problem is the fact they are not adequately resourced to meet their own deadlines. Typically, these departments play a political card and claim they were not engaged early enough in the project for their aims and objectives to be considered. They are seen as legitimately powerful due to their central function, and can therefore have a significant influence on the outcome of project decisions.

This does seem to tie in with the B325 website’s outline of the political view of organisations: that the interactions taking place within them involve individuals and groups with differing interests and priorities, and that power is inherent in the decision making activity.

(Source: The Open University, 2012).

B629 and B690

I heard yesterday that I passed the B690 exam for the Professional Certificate in Management, and that I also passed B629 with a pretty decent mark for my EMA. This means I have now completed and passed all necessary components to be awarded the internationally recognised Professional Certificate in Management.

Apparently, I’m going to receive the award in July this year. I’m not sure what form that will take, but I suspect it will just be an email confirming I have it!

Anyway, all the hard work on activities, TMAs, EMAs, day schools, the residential school, and the exam were worth it. 🙂