Terms of Reference
This report has been prepared as a reflective work of my groups business plan for MBA course. The purpose of this reflection sheet is to redirect how I and my team mates worked while undertaking the project. The point of writing this report is to include my thoughts and reactions to the experience. The reflective journal is a personal record of my learning experiences (White, 2005). I have been asked by university management to write an individual reflective journal on business plan that should consist of my critical way of thinking in an analytical way. It has been written to reflect on my work which will allow the readers to understand my achievement being a member of a team and my role as a researcher, analyser, critical thinker, reporter and presenter (White, 2005). I tried to be as specific as possible as this journal is a persuasive essay arguing on behalf of myself. It includes where my inspiration comes from, how I made use of my ideas to develop my work and my awareness of the context in which I work. This reflective journal is an individual report that has described my work based on the business plan that I have participated in. I was chosen to work in a team of five members to build a business plan regarding launching a business in Cardiff. My team members for this assignment were Archana Ashu, Gagan Deep Singh, Nadeem Khan and Rachit Ajmera. The business plan that we have worked together, is regarding launching a multiplex cinema in Cardiff. This business plan provides a 3 year operating plan for a Multiplex cinema with a start-up capital of £5 million. In this report we highlighted and analysed all the factors essential for a start-up. We considered market analysis, market strategy and costing, staffing and resourcing, and financial projections for the first 3 years of the business. In this reflective journal I have described objectively what happened, I tried to Interpret the events explaining what I saw and heard, my insights, my connections with other learning, my hypotheses and my conclusions. I also evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of what was observed.
In this journal, I have described how I tackled team issues, interpreted my role as a team member, what did I learn being a team member and How I approached challenges. Other than problem solving I have recorded and mentioned knowledge and understanding of relevant theories, synthesis of what would I do differently next time reflecting on how the workshops/meetings helped develop my study? I have been asked to reflect an analysis, taking into account aspects of my strategy formulation and explaining how I built upon and applied knowledge from taught modules. I have made sure that structure of work follows all the section headings and recognises marking scheme, language is concise and this journal is presented according to school guidelines.
I was chosen to work in a team of five members to build a business plan regarding launching a business in Cardiff. My team members for this assignment were Archana Ashu, Gagan Deep Singh, Nadeem Khan and Rachit Ajmera. Although I wanted to be in a team of my close friends, the administration allocated teams randomly and put me in a group of five students. Luckily I already had close friendship with one member and I knew one other as he was in a same study group as mine. Initially I had objections with the supervisors' decision of allocation but gradually as I started to know my team members, this opposition faded away. I felt friendly and enthusiastic being in this team. Being students from different backgrounds and societies naturally raised some problems for us but we managed to solve all the issues quite amicably (Gillie, 2010). All the disagreements were resolved and we worked together harmoniously. As a contemporary management student, I understood the capability of a team is greater than the collective abilities of the individuals within it. As soon as I was consigned in a team, I called everyone for a meeting to know each other and discuss task in hand. For me, doing the work in a friendly environment and more casually could make the task easier. Rest of the team members did not agree and had some reservations but I motivated them and persuaded them to follow my arrangement. In the meetings, plan was discussed and ideas were revolved (Gillie, 2010). I also put forward my thoughts and plans. After careful planning, thorough discussion and constructive arguments I made them agree on the topic. We defined our roles according to our strengths in subject areas and tasks were assigned to each member. My team set its standards of ethics and behaviours to achieve positive synergy and to create effective environment (Levin, 2008). All team members were highly committed and motivated. My strong area was marketing, hence id been assigned with collecting, analysing and evaluating marketing aspects of the business plan. I also convinced them to work closely and stay in constant contact. Although we had to work individually on our tasks but I collaborated to help others in their work and vice versa (Levin, 2008). Apart from problems mentioned above, I and other team members faced some other problems such as lack of knowledge of how to conduct the study, inexperience of research process, lack of critical analysis during research process, less research was done on every individual's part and there were critical judgements on each other's work, no involvement of critical thinking which made our presentation look descriptive, and inconsistent decision making. All these problems were solved jointly (Gillie, 2010).
I have learnt that team is more successful when members within it are able to create synergy. Since our goals, objectives, tasks, and priorities were larger than any individual, teamwork was required. When team members know how to be more effective together, synergy happens and greater organizational success is achieved. I have also understood the importance of teamwork (Sugars, 2005). I considered every member of my team as important as each person brought unique skills, knowledge, and experience. Team members also brought energy, drive, passion, and determination. Since not everyone brings different amounts of all of these things, team members needed each other. Increasing the strength of each team member produced greater team success and results. I along with my team members approached all the issues quite confidently as I knew our collective strengths could tackle any problem we face (Glover, 2009).
Knowledge and Understanding
By conducting a research as a team, I felt that there is no doubt team theory is relevant in practice. I was confident to relate the research and the theory I have studied during my MBA course (Sugars, 2005). Previous experience in management field also came handy. The most important thing I have gained knowledge of is the effectively working in a team. In the later stages of the project, coordination among team members increased considerably. This helped in improving and polishing our communication skills. We learned that everyone can do their own part to work towards a common goal and that there doesn't need to be just one distinct leader (Glover, 2009).
Although different tasks were assigned to team members, I remained in constant contact with every member and consulted on every possible occasion. This also helped me learn and understand their approach as well (Glover, 2009). As an individual, working on a business plan has helped me to understand how to make an official report. It assisted me in research methodology, how to check different sources and how to carry out research. The proposed business plan was solely concentrated on market penetration and market acquisition with its customer service, facilities, ambience, and projection technology and above all, operational benefits (Sugars, 2005). Beside this, I managed to learn different marketing techniques and got a practical experience of how to apply marketing models and theories. I considered myself an important member of a team in formulating strategy and objectives to achieve this strategy. The main purpose of conducting a market research was to identify and establish potential market and also to get the reliable data for product. I have learned to analyse the market and potential customers before entering the market. I understood the market analysis for business is to check the feasibility and the absorbance of product in the market and to understand the trends and behaviour of the consumers in market and to apply strategies accordingly (Dyer, 2007). All this provided crucial and reliable information. 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 (Sugars, 2007).
Although all team members planned the business plan and divided the tasks according to their strengths but we still faced some problems. I would like to change my approach a little next time I involve myself in this type of activity. I would definitely focus on time management and motivation issues (Dyers, 2007). Others areas need to be improved are analytical skills and market assessments. The area of critics of team needs some perfection as well. Every member's presentation skills were weak that resulted in lower marks. The report looked descriptive and team members just read that in the presentation meeting. Experience gained from this project will definitely help to improve the above mentioned areas in the future (Saunders et al. 2009).
There are a lot of aspects and factors that helped me develop my understanding and improve my knowledge. Workshops and lectures taught me how to carry out a research in desired fields, what method to select and what approach to take. Meetings provided facilitation in problem solving and strategic planning. These also helped me in decision making and working in a team (White, 2005).
Analysis and Evaluation
As a student studying MBA course from a renowned university, I was expected to apply critical thinking and analyse the business plan. The modules that I have studied during my lectures helped me apply marketing tools and techniques to my research. I learned how to apply theory into practice. This was a new idea to me but I was successful in interpreting this. This helped me gained both theoretical and practical knowledge. I applied knowledge from the books and journals to formulate the strategic plan, mission and vision of the company that I was working on. I applied different models successfully such as McKenzie 7's model, Porter's generic strategies, Ansoff's growth model, IR model, Porter's five forces model and some others (Kotler. 2010). The knowledge from the lectures helped me how to search different sources which was useful in strategy formulation. Overall the use of theoretical knowledge in practical situation helped me understand the business plan. I used the theories to advance my understanding of the business plan. The practical experience was built upon the theoretical knowledge (Saunders et al. 2009). Theory asked me how to conduct a research; based on this I practically collected data and information for analysis. Theory taught me how to calculate; I practically used this knowledge to formulate a financial projection; Theory explained how to apply different models; I managed to use these theories according to my situation and constructed a whole report. I practically worked in human resource filed to staff and resource my business.
Having completed this project, I have learned how to better argue a point in discussion. Using facts and example, my arguments have become much better (Sugars, 2005). The project taught me and my team members to be good team members, cooperative and helpful. I felt a change as my researching skills increased considerably. I can better understand the topic and use a variety of sources for search purposes which will help me a lot in future research process. I can create a conclusive argument that can set a tone of the entire project. Using latest techniques of researching and arguing, my paper will seem clearer and my arguments more apparent (Bryman and Bell, 2007). I have also updated my accounting knowledge by working on new accounting principles. I was responsible for quite of lot of report writing. It was good for me to get practice at writing, at proof reading, editing, etc. I did have a sense of achievement when a report was finished. And finally my computer skills have also improved from writing reports and through having 24-hour access to the computer. These skills are not great, but in comparison to my own skills before working on this project they have progressed well.
I personally feel that business plan is viable as it helps us understand not just to apply critical thinking and analyse the information but to use the theory into practice. This is what I think MBA requires. It helps the students getting management experience and applying what they have learnt in their lectures and workshops.