This report starts with my introduction and then continues with my recollection of experiences, my personal feelings and learning from the experiences, group dynamics and learning from the group dynamics and lessons for my future projects and obviously the conclusion.
I am a Bachelor of commerce graduate from India and currently pursuing my Masters from University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. I am always interested in getting international exposure and after finishing my Bachelors degree; I decided to do my Masters in the business management area abroad. When I started searching for the universities, I found that University of Bedfordshire stands in 5th place in providing the business management related courses. Then I decided to apply to this University and then had chosen my suitable course and applied to this university. Even though I had applied to other couple of universities also, I got my first admission letter from university of Bedfordshire and that made me happy to choose this university. Everything went well and I got my student visa to join this esteemed university and I am thankful to the University for providing me this opportunity.
I entered into this country just two days before my registration date at university. Then I went to this university and found really great for its infrastructure and the facilities provided to the students. After registering I got my student identity card with my student number and these were the only things required for my rest of the course. I found another interesting thing which is BREO where the student gets every update directly. The lecturers were very experienced and are really helpful in every issue and I have successfully managed to clear my two semesters with the help of them. Now I entered my dissertation level and I am really excited to do my project. As mentioned above, we are going to see the Recollection of experiences from this project.
RECOLLECTION OF EXPERIENCES:
This is the time I have been waiting for throughout my course to do my project which is Applied Management Project. This is the first project I have done so far and I was really anxious to get the project and work on it. Also there were so many doubts in my mind whether I could handle the project or not and frankly saying I was bit nervous. The day has come which is February 8th, 2010 and we all gathered in the lecture hall J110 at Vicarage street campus. All the international business management students were there and we were discussing how the project is going to be and how we should handle that. We came to know that two lecturers are handling this module presentation and they were Mr. Peter Patrick and Mr. Vincent Ong. Sooner Mr. Vincent Ong came in the room and started to introduce the Applied Management Project to all of us and he has handed in the module hand book to all of us. Later Mr. Peter Patrick came in and finished the rest of the lecture. After listening to the lecture I got some confidence of doing my project.
Later, there was a lecture started by Mr. Rob Carman on reflexive report writing which is this report presently discussing, where he gave us so many tips for writing a reflexive report. His lecture was so effective; it gave me a better understanding of writing a reflective report. Later Mr. Peter Patrick has joined, took over from Mr. Rob Carmen and finished the lecture. After finishing this lecture, I came to an understanding that the reflective report writing is like recording the events from time to time.
Then there was another interesting lecture on information sourcing and referencing by Mr. Alan Bullimore and Mr. Peter Godwin. They had shown us different ways of sourcing the information required and how to avoid the plagiarism when that information is properly cited or referenced. They had given us some useful websites where the information can be sourced effectively. This was the final lecture for the day and the lectures were really important which helped us in writing our project effectively. After attending these lectures we were quite confident of ourselves in attempting to write the project. We were asked to collect our project topics on the next day afternoon at the Basement of Student Union and also we were asked to form groups of 8-10.
It was the next day i.e. 9th Feb 2010 & the time was 12:30 p.m and I was ready with our group members to collect our topic at the Basement of Student Union. There were other groups like us in the basement and it looked like a very busy place. We handed in our group members list and were waiting to be called by the instructor and finally we got a call from the instructor to collect the topic for our group. He called one member from our group and my group mate went and collected the topic for us. We were happy after opening the topic as we are familiar with the topic and everyone was quite confident of working on that topic.
The topic allocated for us was 'Export-Led Growth' and various export promotions programmes of a country of our choice. We are asked to critically examine about the Export-Led Growth and critically evaluate the export promotion programmes of a country of our choice but with criteria of the following: an emerging economy, or a developing country, or a least developed country. We are also asked to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of that promotion programmes and asked to give recommendations to overcome the weeknesses.
After collecting the topic we had to attend couple of lectures at A004 Park square campus. The first lecture was on Plagiarism and Turnitin UK and it was taken by Prof. Brian Mathews. He explained us the importance of plagiarism and how the plagiarism can be detected through Turnitin. He provided us with some valuable tips on avoiding plagiarism and also explained how dangerous the plagiarism could be. It was really an interesting lecture to listen to. After this lecture there was a lecture following immediately and it was on writing a report by Mr. Steve Briggs. This lecture was a focus on how effectively the report can be written and how effectively it can be presented. While listening to these lectures, we were literally thinking that we can do our project very effectively. These lectures were really helpful for us to successfully complete our project and I am really thankful to the Applied Project Management team for extending their support to the students in achieving their goals.
Then coming to the next three days i.e. 10th, 11th & 12th our classes are arranged at Putteridge Bury campus and those three days were allotted to get the support from the Business school library staff. The staff was really cooperative to help with the necessary information for our topic. They had listened to our ideas personally and added their valuable ideas to ours. Even there was a computer lab session which helped to get some information from internet which is relevant to our topic. Totally these five days were very important to every student to successfully complete his/her project. I was very glad to attend these lectures and library sessions and I feel more confident of myself about my project.
Then the time has come to start the actual work on the project. The first thing we had done is splitting of group in to three small groups so that it makes us easy to work on the project. We were a group of 10 and we made them in to 4, 3 & 3 members. It is not always easy to work in big groups. My group consisted of three members and we decided to work on the project. We have divided our available time into weeks and we decided to share our work for 3 days in every week. We initially discussed about the project thoroughly and the different techniques to source the information. We ourselves kept some targets and started working on them. We used to collect the information over internet for 4 days and we used to meet at the library to get some information available from the books in those three days. We used to share our information very effectively and that made us to move forward with our project very effectively. We used to get so many doubts while working but when we meet together we managed to clarify them by sharing the knowledge within the group. In between we have also met with the whole group of 10 members for couple of times and tried to discuss about the project and got some ideas from them also. We managed to finish the main project between 6 -7 weeks and then we started working on reflective report. This is a kind of report which I have never worked on and it is really interesting to write. It keeps on the track of what we have learnt, experienced and observed. It is quite a hard job to do if you don't have a track of what you have done throughout your course. But my habit of taking notes during the lecture times has really helped me to complete this job easily. It took 2 weeks for me to finish writing the reflective report. Finally I have managed to finish both the reports in time. Then I collected the document of report writing from BREO and started making necessary changes for submitting the report. Without the support of the lecturers and my group members, I would have not been able to finish the project. I am really thankful to everyone in making me successful.
PERSONAL FEELINGS AND LEARNING FROM THE EXPERIENCE:
Even though this is my first project, I was able to handle it in a proper manner with the help of the lecturers, their lectures and also with the help of my group members. Really this is a great feeling for me as I have gained so much of confidence to manage myself anywhere.
And coming to the things which I learnt from this experience are time and team management which are very crucial in any part of the group work. Initially in the first two weeks when we started our projects, we were lacking our time management skill as we were not able to complete our assigned tasks on time. Then we realised that we are not able to co-ordinate properly, and then we sat and discussed how the things can be better. We also realised that we are not only lacking at time management but also at team management. Even though our group is small we had some contradictions and issues in the group. The sharing of knowledge was not properly done. Then we realised that it is a group work and without the groups effort nothing is possible. Then we sat together and tried to overcome all those problems. From the above experiences, I came to know the value of time and team management. I am able to manage my time very effectively. Even we had done many assignments in our previous semesters but they are of very short duration but in this project we got lot of time and we got a better chance to manage that long period of time very effectively. Also the team management skills have been improved which helps us to work in groups of any organisations in future.
Another important thing I have learnt from my experiences is I have been introduced to a new style of project undertaking. This project has been totally different from what I have seen in my country. Generally we used to collect the data through primary resources only. But here I had seen the process of collecting the data from primary as well as secondary sources also. This helps us a lot in obtaining different information from various sources. We can try to get the best information available and it helps the individual to upgrade his knowledge. This also helps the individual in improving his communication skills. Another important thing is sourcing the information which is a tough task to do. Through this project I had improved my information searching and sourcing skills which will be very helpful in future.
There are also other things which I had learnt from my experiences but the above mentioned are important which I found while working on my project. I think these are major things every student learns from his experiences.
GROUP DYNAMICS AND LEARNING FROM THE GROUP DYNAMICS:
According to my knowledge group dynamics refers to group processes where more than two people gather together to accomplish a task. So when we are dealing with more than on individual it means there are different tastes, preferences, emotions, feelings etc... are involved in this process. It is not always possible to work in a group effectively. When all the members in the group think and act together then it is said to be a successful group. And to my knowledge it is always better to work in smaller groups rather than working in big groups. Moreover in our previous semesters we are mostly asked to form a group of 4-5 members.
Our group actually consisted of 10 members but we have further split the group in to smaller groups, so that it would be easy to for us to coordinate with each other. And my new group consisted of 3 members. I agree that whatever the group size may be but there will be problems in every group and I learnt many things while undergoing this project with my group. We were all set to do the project. Then we sat together on the first day to discuss about the project and we tried to fix some timings and tasks among us. On that day everything went well and was happy with what we have discussed and we dispersed from there. As per our condition we met with each other in the first week and started discussing about the work we had done. But what we observed ourselves was that was not effective at all. And we had shown our emotions on each other. Then later we have realised ourselves that we lacking with our time and team management. One of my group members has taken the initiative and directed us with his suggestions. In the second week we sat with each other again and discussed about our problems and the possible ways to overcome them. From then we never had to show our attitudes or emotions on each other.
Afterwards we have successfully managed to finish our project in time. I personally realised that it is always important to work in a group and when we work in a group we will come to know about others feelings and emotions. We can always share our ideas and get new ideas and it helps in optimisation of our knowledge. I also learnt that we always need to be with a positive mind while working in the groups so that it helps us to work efficiently in a group.
LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE PROJECTS:
The current project which I am undertaking has taught me many lessons which are going to help me in my future projects. The lessons are nothing but my mistakes in this project which are to be rectified for the future projects. The following are some of the lessons which I am going to consider for my future projects which are:
The main important lesson for me is to manage my timings at the time of group gatherings, at the time of working on the project and also putting myself on time.
The team management must be followed and I should always be a team player in the knowledge sharing with my team which will optimise my knowledge and sharpen my skills.
While working in a group I should never lose my patience at our group mates because that may disturb the atmosphere and affect the whole work. I should always be with a positive mind which will make the work run smoothly.
As the communication skills are very important these days I need to improve my communication skills in order to efficiently take part in the group dynamics.
I should not only be a team player but I must also be like a problem solver when there are any disputes in the team. For that I need to upgrade my abilities and qualities.
Confidence is the important feature for any individual for carrying out any kind of work and I should carry that confidence for my future projects which I attained during this project. This confidence helps me to deal in any kind of situation.
I need to improve my searching and analysing skills which are very important to execute any kind of project.
It's been a great experience writing this reflexive report where it has given a chance of reflecting our experiences carried out through the Applied Management Project. It has helped me in learning many lessons which are helpful to be successful in my future. I am really glad to pursue my Masters from the University of Bedfordshire which has given me a chance to expose to different kind of study culture. In my country until my Bachelors degree I had never done any assignments by searching on the internet. In this university, these kinds of assignments made me to experience new study culture and improved my searching and analysing skills. Another important experience in this university is working in groups, which gives the students a chance to share their ideas with each other in completing the task very effectively. Through this kind of study culture I have learnt many things, to keep myself disciplined, to be a team player, to finish the task on time, to search and source the information etc...
Coming to the project it was really a great experience for me to work on it. Initially I had many doubts working on this project but later I got confidence after listening to the lectures given by Applied Project Management team and the library sessions we attended. I am thankful to all my group members in helping to finish my project successfully and also to the lecturers in extending their support to me. Finally it's been great studying in this university and I thank the university in giving me this opportunity.