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Nowadays, the knowledge-based economy is becoming the trend for employment and it tends to increase the competition on the employment. In order to maintain our competitive advantage in labour market, it is important to realize our strengths and weaknesses then improve the weaknesses to be lifelong learning.
In section A, it contains two chapters. In the first chapter, it is contained three of self assessment tests to analysis as a self report to be a reference for me. VARK is one of the learning style tests and I would use this test to discuss about the influences of my learning styles on me and use Kolb learning model to be an additional support. MBTI is one of the personality tests and I would use this model to discuss about my personality. Furthermore, I would use Belbin, one of the team role tests to discuss about my team role in a group work. Lastly, I would sum up those of three tests result and discuss my strengths and weakness influence on next part, career application.
In the second chapter, it contained my career choice, transferable skills and lifelong learning. Based on the three of the personal tests result in chapter one, I will talk about the tests result influence on my career choice, identification of my career requirements and career path development. After that, I will use transferable skill to show my strength which can be transferred on my career and organize the lifelong learning planning to improve my weakness. This part also contained the stress management on my career development.
1.2 Learning style VARK & Kolb
A learning style can define as a process or preferences ways of gathering, organizing, and thinking about information (Fleming, 2001). Everyone has a different way of their learning method to duel with situations, problems or challenges (Austen, 2004).
VARK system is a learning style test which was developed by Fleming (2001) and it was the extension of the earlier neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) (Hawk & Shah, 2007). The VARK system made from the initial letters of four sensory modal that it stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinaesthetic (VARK, 2010). A learner used to distinguish four different learning approaches and it encourages the learner to think about the most suitable learning way which can improve their learning speed and understanding (Fleming & Baume, 2006).
Figure 1.1 VARK result
For the VARK test result, I have a multimodal learning preference that it prefers learner to use several modes to satisfy the understanding (Fleming & Baume, 2006). In the following part, I would highlight my highest and the second highest scope of VARK to explain my learning styles.
For the highest marks on Read/write, in my past experience, when I began to work in a new environment, I would like to read the job's requirements or regulations thought the staff handbook. I also prefer the communication method in using letter or email that I could communicate on written with other people better than in speech. For the other example, when I bought new electronics products, I always read the instruction book at first which assist me to understand the features of the products in details. These examples showed me that I am a person to prefer reading or writing in a learning process.
For the second highest marks on Visual, I agree on this style that reading a chart, diagrams and the map of process both can help me to understand the content quickly and easily. In my experience, I can understand the information from the pie chart of the statistic rapidly and I would prefer the statistic or working process shown by the forms of visual items. Therefore, I prefer to use visual materials to boost my learning process rapidly.
Although I did not have the higher degree of Aural in VARK, I also prefer a dialogue with other teachers and classmates as an aural learner that it is good opportunities for brainstorming and find out different experience with them.
1.2.1 Kolb learning model
For more supportive evidence on the learning style, Kolb learning model was developed by Kolb D.A. to explore the differences in learning orientation based on the degree to indicate the four modes of the learning process (Kolb, 1984). Kolb's learning theory defined four distinct learning styles, which are based on a four-stage learning cycle (Businessballs, 2010). I am similar to the character of "assimilators" that it descried the characteristics who would enjoy analytical work and focus on the ideas, concepts and logical rather than the personal value (Austen, 2004). The result is matched with my VARK result in read/write and visual because assimilator is the learning process in between observation and thinking (Kolb, 1984).
1.2.2 Significance and limitations of VARK
Learning style can help us to recognize our strengths on our study to make academic successful (French, & Cosgriff & Brown, 2007). It may be possible to use our learning styles to be a guidance or reference of our potential career choices (Austen, 2004).
However, VARK is just a reference to provide preferences way in learning style. It is because it does not include ability or strengths to reflect the learning style of the learners are good or bad to use it (Fleming & Baume, 2006).
1.3 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - personality
The original developers of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) model were Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2010). The MBTI model is one of the most popular personality test that it is self-reporting tool to identify our own preferences and personality (McPherson & Mensch, 2007).
The MBTI categorizes our behavioural preferences on four dimensions with two opposite preferences in each dimension (Culp & Smith, 2009) (McPherson & Mensch, 2007): Distinct a person is outward or inward(Extraversion or Introversion), distinct a person how to receive information(Sensing or Intuition), to distinct a person how to make decisions(Thinking or Feeling), and to distinct a person live in a well planning way or spontaneous way(Judging or Perceiving) Therefore, the result has 16 possible personality types.
Figure 1.2 MBTI result
According to my MBTI result, it showed that I get a highest scope of ISTP and INTP. According to the description, the ISTP person is tolerant and flexible, quiet observers a problem to act respond quickly to find out the workable solutions (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2010). I did agree to the MBTI result. For my past working experience, I can flexible to get the things done. And I would try to find out the most efficiency way to improve my working performance. Moreover, ISTP personality is interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2010). For the example, my favourite subject was history in secondary school. My teacher required me to use cause and effect thinking and logical thinking to answer with the history question that it helped me to have critical thinking to be my principle.
According to the INTP description, INTP person likes to seek for logical explanations for everything that interests them. INTP person has ability to focus in depth to solve problems in his area of interest (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2010). I agree my analytical personality that I always ask the question to myself and think it in my mind, for instances, I would like to think about "why" on different topics such as economic, social and sciences based on my interest.
About the description of these two types profile, my personality key word of ISTP should be thinking in my inner world (I- Introversion), analytical (T-Thinking) and causal or flexible (P-Perceiving) (Emerson& Taylor, 2007). I did agree to the characteristic that I am introvert rather than as an extrovert. I can fulfil job duties and achieve the objectives on my own independently. Moreover, analytical and flexible can explain my personality that I can think out side the box remain the logical.
However, there two types of profile have one group difference only, "Sensing and Intuition". "Sensing" stands for focusing on what is real and actual and "Intuition" stands for patterns and meanings in data (Emerson& Taylor, 2007). I think that I close to the Intuition characteristic that I need to clarify ideas and theories to make more a better on my work performance based on those ideas and theories.
1.3.1 Significance and limitations of MBTI
For the significance of MBTI, It assists the students to used in identify the academic subject or learning style matching with their personality and used in career counselling to give advice on personality strengths (Morgan & Barbour, 2008). Moreover, it is the effective tool for us to search a suitable job and has a better performance to fulfil in our employment position (Kennedy& Kennedy, 2004).
However, about the limitation, the test questions have not too much related to measure the vocational preferences and job performance that it is insufficient tools for self reporting on personality (Hunsley & Lee & Wood, 2004).
Anyway, MBTI is one of the self report tools beneficial for me to understand my strengths and personality. It can also help in my career suggestion.
1.4 Belbin Test - team role
Belbin Team Role Theory was developed by Dr Meredith Belbin and his research tem in 1970s to measure about the person behaviour in a team and distinct team contributions or team role (Belbin Associates, 2010).
Figure 1.3 Belbin test result
According to my Belbin test result, it showed my preferred team roles as Implementer, Specialist and Coordinator. I agree a partly of test result as the team role of implementer and coordinator rather than team role of specialist. Besides, Belbin Test has also reflected the team role of its strengths and its contributions in team work.
For my first preferred team role, Implementer, it is a character concerned with his work in practical and application of concepts and plans according to Belbin (1993) description. I agree that I needed to have a practical planning, workable strategy and looking for the efficiently way of the job (Belbin Associates, 2010).Therefore, I am similar to the trait of implementer. In my past experience, my team role was team worker that I worked in the shipping logistics company to handle shipping documents. I preferred to follow the instructions from my senior managers and I try my best to get the things done.
For my third preferred role, coordinator, it is the role of team to focus on the team's objectives and problems, allocate tasks and duties, and encourage team members to get involved in achieving objectives and goals (Belbin, 1993).
I agree on partly that I tried to play a leading role in a team but most of the case were unsuccessful. I think my leadership skills are inadequate for me. Therefore, I understand the role of leader that the leadership skills are required on manager level in most of career so that I need to be further improvement.
1.4.1 Significance and limitations of Belbin
The company using Belbin can help to identify what is the strengths and weakness of management teams (Partingon & Harris, 1999). In addition, understanding of our team role can bring a balance of team in order to improve more effectiveness on the team performance (Barbara, 1997).
On the limitation, group members have not enough ability to fulfil the performance of team role and group members may need to play a team role which they did not good at (Watkins & Gibson, 1997). It can explain that my weakness on team of coordinator but it was the preferred team role in test result. Anyway, Belbin test result gave me suggestions on my strengths and weaknesses to perform as a property team role.
1.5 Overall Synthesis
After I have finished VARK, MBTI and Belbin tests, I partially agree with those of test results. It is a significant part in shaping my own character regarding on learning style, personality and team role that I got inspire to enhance my strengths and improve my weaknesses for my career planning.
I am the multi-model learner. For my learning experience, I need to learn the knowledge though different leaning approaches such as reading, using flow charts and discussing with other people. As a multiple learner, the adoption of different leaning approaches is beneficial for me to learn knowledge quickly and deeply that my skills and knowledge learn from different leaning approaches. As an assimilators in Kolb learning model, I was enjoy on analytical work and focus on the ideas, concepts and logical. Thus, I usually used various types of learning on my study and learn the knowledge with logical thinking.
For my personality as Intuition and Thinking, these characteristic are a match with my learning style in Read-write. My classmate's appreciations of my personality were that I am good at analytical and able to do a good organisation on the resources distribution. When I did my final year project studying in higher diploma, I am always as a role of analyst dual with the difficulties and as a role of searcher doing supportive activities.
My preferred team role is Implementer in Belbin. I think that I would focus on the task and follow tight schedule. It is matched with my INTP that I always focus on my own interest to study and find out the most effective way to get the things done. Moreover, I am Introversion person that I can focus on the task to achieve the objectives and get a well planning.
Moreover, INTP person can utilize their original minds to implement own ideas and achieve the goals. I think this personality matched a team role of coordinator. It is because I like to set up objectives for the team as a working direction with the member and achieve the objective with my team.
About my strengths, I able to focus on analysis in depth solve problems. I can work independent and under pressure. I am strong on self management, for example, I have a well time management for myself. I always think about the strategy for self development whatever in academic study, financial investment and vocational skills.
About my weakness, I agree that my social network is too narrow to block my career development. Besides, my communications skill must have further improvement to communicate with people in different countries and different cultures. Moreover, I have to learn concerning on the others feeling and learn more on team sprit under team work.
Lastly, about my future career path, I have interested in marketing field because the responsibilities of job always needs to bring new ideas. I like the job which has a challenge for me so that I enjoy making suggestion to improve working performance on my career. In the chapter two, I will go further on my job application in marketing field.
Chapter 2: Implication for Career Choice
After I have finished the part one of who am I as a learner, it helped me so much on my strengths and weakness understanding thought my personality, my team role, and my preferred learning style. The result also can help me to enhance my learning process and improve my work performance.
2.1 "You" and Career/ learning style affect on choice of career
My learning style is multimodal in VARK that it is flexible for me to adopt different learning method. I got the higher scope on reading that I can learn the new things such as working process thought from the reading materials. The second higher scope on visual shows my preferences the forms of visual items. These learning styles could show me that I should choose the career which is used the form of written report and use the pie chart for analysis under most of the situation. On the Kolb learning model, I think I am the style of the assimilators because it has the abilities to work under theoretical models, prefer cause-effect reasoning, and would rather deal with abstract ideas (Hawk & Shah, 2007). As a result, I presume myself to work under the environment of paperwork, data management, and about the analytical job for my career choice.
MBTI showed me as the INTP personal that it has original minds and great drive for implementing my ideas and achieving the goals. The literature provided that the INTP person can work lonely and focus in the intellectual pursuits than people relationships and work independent so that the favourite careers choice were suggested that they are systems analysts, researchers (McPherson & Mensch, 2007). Furthermore, I am always focus on the analytical to solve the problem with logic or use cause-effect reasoning in my mind (Emerson & Taylor, 2007) that it is a beneficial for me to work with task of analytical. My suitable career should relate to the logical thinking on the strategy planning, and includes implementation to let the idea become workable.
My first preferred team role is implementer in Belbin test that it shows me disciplined person that Implementer has strengths on turn ideas into practical actions that it is able to bring creativity on my job with implementation. It is strength for me to show my ability on the executive planning to get things done. Hence, it is beneficial for me to work independently and doing the practical job. On the other side, I think I have potential in co-operating with the team although I got the third higher marks on the team role of co-ordinator. It is important for the team or organization structure to have a leader or leadership that it is the successful strategy for any organization. Thus, the role of co-ordinator could help me to achieve the higher level position such as senior manager in my career path.
2.2 Career Choice
Based on the self analysis result, scientific or technical field are suggested as my possible career choice. My career choice will be selected on the marketing field according to personal interest and I would like to select marketing analyst or marketing researcher to match with my personality.
The responsibility of a Marketing Analyst is to collect and analyze the marketing information to evaluate existing product or service so as to discover potential markets. He/She also needs to identify competitors, monitor the changes of the industry, and to evaluate the factors of marketing activities which have influence on the sales volume. The scopes of marketing involve different functions such as strategies& planning, advertising & promotion and marketing research. Therefore, it needs a talent going though scientific and systematic methods to collect data, and then analyze the collected data to find out possible solutions to tackle the problems.
2.3 Career path
Market Research Executive
Marketing Controller/ Manager
Figure 2.1 Career path
For the graduate students, the position of beginning would be junior marketing analyst or marketing officer. The entry level would require employee to do the marketing research in basically that I have to accumulate the experience up to 3 years. After about 3 to 5 five years, I would like to look for a middle level position which includes the responsibilities of management and strategy planning. When I have ten years working experience in marketing field, I will apply the top level position such as marketing manager. I found the job advertisements as a marketing controller that his responsibilities are wider than middle level to require the richest experiences and have a great leadership on this position.
2.4 Job requirements
According to the job advertisement requirements, the entry level would require employee to have basic skills set such as language skill (Appendix B).
About the middle level requirements, the position of market research executive need a rich experience at least five years or above. This position does not only require the knowledge of marketing, and basic computer using skills but it also needs the higher ability on management, leadership, strategy planning skill, and negotiation skill etc.
Ghent (1949) suggested that we must have the following basic requirements for analytical work in the business field.
Firstly, we must have ability to analyze the commercial problem readily and we must have a great interest of the position (Ghent, 1949). I think marketing researcher or marketing analyst will be appropriate for me to match with my personality and I am interested in analyst absolutely so that I can show my enthusiasm and favour on my working performance.
Secondly, it must show the characteristic on open mind thinking and we can combine with the ability that it lets the new ideas to be executive on operation (Ghent, 1949). In my MBTI test result, it had proved that INTP person can have a potential to implement the idea on the working. It should have an attitude curiosity about the information of working aspects and the industry information in order to update personal knowledge and maintain the competitive advantages personally. It is important for everyone to keep learning on his professional to keep survival in the jobs market. Moreover, we must show willingness to accept or reject "authority" in addition to show the evidence supporting adequately (Ghent, 1949). It means that we must have thinking independent. Thus, I have my lifelong learning planning to take MBA course in further years.
Thirdly, the job require us able to express own opinion clearly, including the oral presentation in the meeting and written reports (Ghent, 1949). Using simple English state out the problems, solutions, conclusions and qualifications under the good organized format. My weakness is on my communication skills that it was reflected by the self analysis test so that it also needs the improvement on this thought the lifelong learning planning.
Fourthly, an excellent soft skill in people interaction express their own ideas and working in harmony environment with company associates both of the managers and subordinates are required (Ghent, 1949). We need soft skill to deal with the business parties. The parties include sales division, other company divisions, customers, trade associations, government, and etc.
At last, it must have an ability to resist frustration and it should involve criticism of my decision making and attack on the methods used (Ghent, 1949). It also means that we should have an objective view on our performance to be adaptable and flexible on using different point of view.
2.5 Transferable skills
Transferable skills can strength our career mobility and support us to get the job which we want. Watson (2003) provided that we can learn the skills from past job experience to be transfer to apply in another job that why it is called transferable skills. It is important skills set that we build up our skills set and plan on our career path development. Therefore, it is critical for us to find out skills set learning from our working experiences which can be transferred to apply on the different employments.
McQuaid & Lindsay (2005) defined that employability assets include baseline assets, intermediate assets. Baseline asset is basic transferable skills such as documentation writing and presentation skill. For the example, I obtained the presentation skill and writing skill from my academic assignments. They are the skill basically to utilize in communication or discussion with the others to exchange the ideas. Besides, Intermediate asset is key transferable skill such as problem-solving skill, time management and basic interpersonal skill (McQuaid & Lindsay, 2005). Most of the employers are looking for the employees to have such skill which has a contribution to the company.
Stewart & Knowles (2001) suggested the three-way classification of skills. They are key skills, vocational skills and job specific skills. Key skills are the general skills needed in various working environment. These skills set include basic personal transferable skills, such as the team work sprit, communication skills, self motivation and a basic knowledge to use technology tools (Stewart & Knowles, 2001).
Vocational skills needed in particular occupations or groups of occupations, but they are less useful outside of particular areas. These skills set are less common than key skill. However, they are still highly transferable between in specific jobs (Stewart & Knowles, 2001). For the example, there are some of the general skills in business field to be transferable such as customer service focus, problem solving ability, planning skill and etc (Zabkar & Hosta, 2009).
Job specific skills are much narrow in specific industry or employment. These skills set are most likely a form of knowledge (Stewart & Knowles, 2001). For the marketing managers' knowledge areas, it should include brand management, market communication, sales management and etc (Zabkar & Hosta, 2009). I am lack of job specific skills for the marketing field because I have not job experience related to the marketing field. That's why I would choose the project topic which is relevant to marketing to enhance my knowledge on marketing.
2.6 Lifelong Learning
The western educational theorists give the basic meaning for the term of "lifelong learning" that each individual can and should be deliberate learning throughout life time (Knapper et al., 2000). Base on the factors of globalization and technological improvement, it has a prediction that the career jobs demand would diminish and we will change our job frequently in our working life (OECD, 2004). Our skills and competence of the workforce are major factor to be considered in the working performance and determination of earning. Thus, it is necessary to have a well planning on education and training in our life time to achieve the contemporary qualification.
Communication skill is one of the ability which is important for us to work with the people anywhere. In the self analysis test, it showed me about my short on the communication skill because I am inward person as a type of introversion. I agree with that because I have always got the pass grade only on English in the past examination. Therefore, my priority will improve my English level especially on the presentation skill. In order to improve my presentation skill effectively, I would like to attend Toastmasters club meeting. Toastmaster is a worldwide non-profit-making educational organization founded in 1924 dedicated to improving its members' communication and leadership skills (Toastmaster, 2010). The club provides education programmes for a professional or a student practice their speaking in public. Because many of professional joined Toastmaster, it will assist me on my oral presentation improvement thought out the conversation and feedback. Moreover, I can develop leadership skills by organizing and conducting meetings. I think that it also is a good opportunity for me to practice and build a personal network.
Nowadays, knowledge-based economy and fast pace of changing environment require that a higher level academic background and professional qualifications are expectable to the employees. Taking MBA programme is a good opportunities for me as an investment decision to gain more career assets such as increasing assertiveness, communication skills and gaining better career insight in rapidly and effectively (Sturges, Simpson and Altman, 2003). Based on my knowledge are not enough for me to be sustainable employment especially in the field of business and marketing, I want to learn more hard skills from MBA which is able to utilize on my job such as marketing skill or strategies planning techniques. Moreover, MBA program is significant for me to acquire better soft skills such as people management skills and team working skills. Hence, I decide to take master degree program on Marketing for my future study planning when I am going to have gained a few years working experience after.
2.7 Stress management in my career
Nowadays, stress is an important and significant factor on our job performance and job satisfaction in competitive and changing company indicated by Singh & Dubey (2011). Also, they found that the role stress would increase dissatisfaction of mangers. For my career choice, marketing analyst should attend to details. He/She encounters figures more than dealing with the customers or other staff. Therefore, it is predictable that the stressful job nature would affect on my work performance and I will suffer more pressure when I will posit to manager level.
In my past extra curriculum activities, I was a mental health ambassador. I learnt about knowledge on mental health. It is important for everyone to maintain his mental healthiness. From the MBTI result, I found that I am an introvert. It means that I am oriented more toward the inner world of concepts and ideas (McPherson & Mensch, 2007). In order to have more interactions with others, I would share my feelings with my friends and family and I would attend more social activities such as volunteering in same social services.
In this section, I recognized my learning style, personality and team role to shape my characters in order to develop my career planning. Although I find my personality, team role are not the perfect match with the marketing job, I found that marketing analyst would be a good career choice to be a starting point for me. Moreover, I planed three career levels in the career path for my personal target. The part of transferable skill is clearly to determine my ability between my skill set and the jobs requirements. The part of lifelong learning is to set up the plan for me to improve my weakness which is the gap between the job requirements and my skill.
I believe I can develop my career in the marketing aspects. I am interested in the branding management that it is one of the significant functions in the marketing segment. I want to pursuit the position of marketing analyst that it is the functions of the data research and data analysis. Section B would discuss on the evaluation of the sponsorship to affect on brand image. I hope that it can improve my knowledge on the marketing field to assist me to have a better career development in the future.