Firm friendships form amid the effort of completing an MBA

Alex Martin
30 March 2014

31 March 2014 | Alex Martin

Alex Martin is writing a series of blogs for Supply Management about studying part-time for an MBA. You can find his previous entries here.

Alex MartinDriving to Geneva again for my 12th module in March with two colleagues from Basel whom I picked up on my way, we were talking about our MBA projects. June is so close now and we can almost taste graduation with only two more modules to go, and then our project presentations.

March’s module was split into two parts with the risk management part delivered by Anthony Mitchell, client director and subject leader at Ashridge Business School in the UK, and the commercial law part delivered by Claude Coudert, a French former barrister and procurement professional, and now full time professor at the EIPM.

Both parts covered the usual MBA format of teaching and learning – lecturing, workshops and class discussions. My key takeaways of the risk management part were decision trees, scenario planning and a more useful take on the popular SWOT matrix.

For the commercial law aspect the main things I picked up were to have lawyers focus on cutting risks versus focusing on law theories, different types of laws (sharia versus common, for example), contract performance, and the effects of conventions to deals – e.g. the Vienna Convention in Europe and the Uniform Commercial Code in the US.

It’s at this point in my MBA experience that I realise I’ve made some lifelong friends. Some of us dined together on Sunday evening and throughout the week, including an evening out with one of professors.

Also at this stage I’m beginning to feel exhausted in the evenings – working and concentrating hard throughout the day, studying reading materials for the following day in the evenings as well as catching up on my job, and, towards the end of the week, revising for the exam on Saturday morning. For some of the more familiar modules (like purchasing), not too much revision is required. But for new topics (such as risk management), it can be hard to digest the new information and then regurgitate it in an exam.

I had a successful meeting with my sponsoring professor regarding my thesis and now I’m preparing interview questions as part of my primary research.

☛ Alex Martin is IT business service principal consultant at SAP. He welcomes comments and LinkedIn connections

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