Alex Martin is writing a series of blogs about studying part-time for an MBA. You can find his previous entries here.
A week of rain in France and Switzerland reflected my tired mood upon returning to Germany after the fifth MBA module. Throughout May, I had been preparing for the marketing module and completing work from the previous month’s module on finance and management accounting.
Our professors, two full-time lecturers at the University of East Anglia and one a visiting fellow at Cranfield University School of Management, had provided a number of case studies on marketing topics for us to read through. This was also the first time that I experienced lectures by two professors simultaneously, which was a pleasant surprise and worked very well.
We started the week with an overview of the course, the topics ahead and what we could expect to take away with us after our exam on Saturday morning. The aims were to provide a critical understanding of the basic concepts and practices of marketing and marketing management process, and an overview of the operation of the marketing function within a wide range of international organisations.
Regarding concepts, the most interesting parts for me were: market segmentation, market targeting and market positioning; pricing methods; international marketing and cross-culture working; and, finally, sales and key account management.
Our exam was on Saturday 1 June and thoughts of graduation only being one year away began to daunt me – the past five months have flown by. But focusing on the subject at hand was vital. We had to answer four questions out of eight and write essay style answers demonstrating our understanding of the various concepts we felt more comfortable with. Not surprisingly, I picked questions that related to the most interesting concepts to me, as mentioned already.
I now feel more comfortable with the common terms of the marketing profession, I know what my marketing colleagues are talking about and I can better participate in marketing discussions. It’s the modules such as this one that you really see the skills being taught are extremely useful and current, whether in a management position in a large company, or as an entrepreneur in your own start-up business.
On a more personal, relaxed side of the week, we had a speech and presentation from an alumni member employed by construction materials group Saint-Gobain. This was the second presentation by an alumni member as previously we had a colleague from pharmaceuticals firm Novartis. After the presentation, we all took part in a networking dinner with my MBA colleagues as well as other students currently undertaking different training programmes offered by the European Institute of Purchasing Management. I met colleagues from Columbia, Hungary, Estonia and Spain working for different companies in various industries.
So a week after coming back to Germany, what do I have to do next? I must finish my finance assignment with a fast-approaching deadline this month; start my marketing assignment with a more relaxed six-week deadline; prepare for the next module (which should prove interesting as it’s the purchasing module), which requires me to complete a maturity assessment; and continue to make progress with my dissertation research. Wish me luck and I will report back next month.
☛ Alex Martin is IT business service principal consultant at SAP. He welcomes comments and LinkedIn connections