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The following reflective journal has been produced by me as a work that redirects my business plan that has been prepared by my group of five members. The main reason for writing the journal is to reflect my work and my role as a team member while undertaking the research for business plan. Other purpose of preparing the report is to present my personal records and include my thoughts and experiences that I have achieved during the project work. The MBA administration of the university instructed me to write an individual reflective journal on business plan that must be critical and analytical. I have ensured it is written to reflect on my work which will also enable the examiners to understand my achievements as an individual and as a member of a team. It will also provide help for supervisors to appreciate my role as a person who can confidently research, gather information, critically analyse, report and present. I have tried my best to be as specific as possible to make this reflective report as a persuasive essay arguing on behalf of myself. This journal also includes information of research sources, my use of ideas and critical thinking to develop my awareness of the context in which I work. Along with the above mentioned areas, I have described my role as a tackler of a situation, as an important member of a team and as a person who approached any issues and challenges to reflection sheet with confidence and enthusiasm. Also included in this journal are understanding of relevant theories, problem solving, synthesis, strategic analysis, and explaining how I built upon and applied knowledge from taught modules. It has been ensured by me that wok structure must follow section headings and recognise marking scheme. Language is deliberately kept concise and the work is presented taking into account the school guidelines.
The MBA administration has allocated in a team of five students (including me). The task given to us to work on was a business plan concerning launching a business in Wales. The team members for this task were Ram Lakshmankumar Konda, Soto Santiago, James Joji and Yuvraj Singh. The business we chose to launch in Cardiff was Spectrum International Travel Agency (SITA) which offers services in corporate and commercial traveling.
SITA is a partnership firm comprised of five partners with equal shares with a start-up capital of £400,000. We planned to launch the business in the month of April, 2011 with a star-up capital of 400000 pounds jointly invested by partners who have equal shares and equal voting rights. The assignment required us to make a plan consisting of data regarding marketing, human resource and financial aspects of the contemporary management studies. In this journal I reflected upon my individual experiences as well as an influential member of a team explaining events such as planning, gathering data, analysing, reporting and presenting what I saw, I heard my hypotheses and my conclusions. I also evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of what was observed.
I was selected to be within a team of five members that have already been mentioned above. Although I specifically asked the supervisor to form a team with my friends but the teams were allocated randomly by the management. I was lucky that one of my close friends was on my team. The remaining team members have already had good contacts with me as they were my colleagues and classmates. My initial objections faded away once I started working with my friendly natured team members. All of us were motivated, determined and enthusiastic of completing the business plan. We met for an initial meeting and decided on the type of a business. I was quite influential as for my managerial background and practical experience in marketing and financial pathway. My team members recognised this and realised my natural leadership qualities. It was not difficult for us to select the business type. After careful consideration and brainstorming ideas with members, we managed to come up with a brilliant plan. Luck was on our side as our team members had different study backgrounds and I was naturally multi-skilled. It proved easy for us to divide the tasks according to our strengths. Once tasks were assigned and potential barriers to search identified, we consulted on how to maximize our strengths to reduce our weaknesses, and how to exploit the possible opportunities and remove threats. After that we constantly held meetings to discuss our progress and consult each other to improve our work. We continuously stayed in touch with each other via audio video conferencing and of course mobile phones.
Being students from different cultures caused some tensions and some problems such as little understanding of each other's ideas, lack of knowledge of some business management areas and conflict in decision making process. I again proved prominent and persuasive and managed to resolve all the issues harmoniously. Disagreements among team members were resolved and we worked together pleasantly. As a contemporary business management student, I had an idea due to my studies that the team capability is superior to the collective abilities of the individuals within it. I learned that working in a friendly environment make the job easier for team. Combined strengths can be utilized if team members work jointly in committed and motivated stance. Apart from problems mentioned above, my team faced some problems such as lack of knowledge in some areas, lack of experience in conducting research, lack of ability to analyse critically, and critical of each other work. We managed to resolve these issues professionally. As a team member my learning experience grew as I learned that team becomes a success when members work jointly to create a synergy. When team members know how to be more effective together, synergy happens and greater organizational success is achieved. The lessons that I have learnt being in a team are very crucial and I understood its significance. People bring their unique skills, knowledge and experience which when used in combination with skills and knowledge of other team members, helps in creating a synergy that positively effects the operations and functions of the team. This happened in my situation. Every member was motivated and worked with passion and determination. Increasing the strength of each team member produced greater team success and results. I understood that that collective strengths of team could tackle any problem we face.
Knowledge and Understanding
By actually participating in a joint research project, I understood the importance of team theory in practice. It provided me confidence to relate the theoretical study with my research. I acknowledged my roles and responsibilities by working effectively working in a team. My communication and coordination skills improved considerably. During the work, I have appreciated the idea of working together to achieve the common goal. I have learned that effective team working is the key to success when there are limited time and resources. Different point of views can be brought forward which could help in effective decision making. I found the energy of group participation made me feel more energetic about contributing something. The thing that helped me understand the approach of my team members is the constant contact and consultation with them. It also assisted me to learn and understand their ideas and experiences. Working with team on a business plan has helped me equip myself with critical and analytical skills to make an official report. I felt more skilled in searching various data sources and in using variety of research tools techniques and methods to conduct a research. The proposed business plan concentrated on marketing strategies of the company before during and after launch of its business. It focused upon the areas of market penetration, market segmentation and marketing growth. It also included finding out market trend and demand of the consumers. I forecast market share and business revenues using assumptions and financial projections. The company's approach was to recognise the importance of consumer service, facilities, ambience, and projection technology and operational benefits. I managed to educate myself practically with the knowledge of applying wide range of marketing models and techniques in business plan. It helped me to formulate strategic aim and objectives of the start up company. The reason of conducting the research was to identify and establish potential market and also to collect valid and reliable data. I understood the importance of critically analysing market information and data related to potential customers before entering the market. I studied to carry out market analysis; learned about market size and forecast; its share, trends and behaviour. I also assessed competitors and their strategies, targeted market segments, analysed our business' core competencies and critical success factors; marketing and costing strategies. This business plan also assisted me in projecting financial position and reports along with knowledge of staffing and resourcing for business.
Despite dividing the tasks according to our strengths, we still faced issues. Although all problems were resolved properly but I would still like to change my future approach a little. I would definitely focus on time management and issues regarding motivation and interest. The areas I need improvements are my skills of critical thinking and analysing and assessing the market. I would also try to encourage positive criticism so that team members could improve their work. Experience gained from this project will definitely help to improve the above mentioned areas in the future.
There are some factors that developed my understanding and improved knowledge. I learnt to conduct the research practically which were taught theoretically in workshops and lectures during my study in the university. Meetings provided facilitation in problem solving and strategic planning. These also helped me in decision making and working in a team.
Analysis and Evaluation
It was expected from a student studying master in business administration to think and analyse critically. The lectures I have taken during my studies and the courses that I have attended provided a great help in applying marketing tools and techniques to my research. These also assisted me applying theories into practical scenario. I gained bot theoretical and practical knowledge. I applied my studied knowledge of the books; journals and coursework make and plan a strategy for the company. Models e.g. Porter's generic strategies, McKenzie 7's model, Porter's five forces model and Ansoff's growth model, have been applied successfully. The knowledge from the lectures helped me search various data sources. The effective use of theoretical knowledge in practical scenario proved helpful in understanding the business plan. I applied a number of marketing theories to advance my knowledge of the business plan. I steadily built my practical experience upon the theoretical knowledge. Theory taught me the ways to carry out research; I practically collected data on filed. Theory taught me various ways of measuring the data; I practically applied some in financial projection; Theory explained how to apply different models; I managed to use these theories according to my situation and constructed a whole report.
After successfully completing the project, I learned to better argue, use facts and examples and debate efficiently on management issues. The business plan helped me to be good, confident, cooperative and effective team member. My researching skills increased considerably. Now I can use different research which can help me in future research process. It taught me to create a conclusive argument, present the paper clearer and arguments more apparent. Collecting data, analysing it, writing it in a proper format and presenting it to the board has given me a sense of achievement and pride. In comparison to my own skills before working on this project I did make a lot of progress.
I personally feel that business plan is more feasible as it helped me understand not just to applying critical thinking and analysing the information but to use the theory into practice. It helps the students getting management experience and applying what they have learnt in their lectures and workshops.