This is the formal Reflective Analysis Report on my Applied Management Project experience, which is to be complemented with my actual dissertation paper. This report contains my personal experience and list of things which I have learned and gained during the course of my dissertation. As a post graduate student of the University of Bedfordshire I was given a chance to research and understand on the most previous and relevant works in the given topic and field.
The project works becomes success when they are properly backed up by references of relevant and recent study and research resources. 'The more we research the better our report will be,' but the quality of the report also depends upon the availability of resources. These statements are a fact and this was in my mind throughout my project. The whole AMP dissertation may seem to be a challenge, but the challenge is ultimately directed for making the best out of a student.
The AMP project usually provide us with chance to exploit the right talent of researching, reading, writing, organising information, etc. in us. The purpose of the AMP is to make us more proficient in the given subject. Let us discuss about what all things I have experienced during the course of my project and what factors influenced my performance. The following parts of this report will show the advantages, disadvantages, difficulties, outcomes, etc. out of the project assignment.
Recollection of experiences
The AMP week:
From the day one of the AMP week I have been learning and understanding a number of things which I wasn't aware until then. Things like where to approach to begin the project research:
How to start? ;
Where to start? ;
When to start? ;
What to start with? ; Etc.
The opening talks and lectures by eminent professors were excellent which builds up confidence and also helped to develop our researching and reporting talents. The sessions helped me with answering all the above asked questions. The notes made out of the discussions with them were used till the end of my project and they stood as guidelines for the development of my research report throughout.
Group Formation and Topic Allotment:
It was on the third day, i.e. Wednesday the 16th June 2010 we were allotted with topics in a 'lottery' method, which were not properly accepted by some of the other groups. It was on that day I joined this particular group I worked with. We were original with a big group which was then asked to split and reduce to group of 5 or 6 members. Two of us, Adil Majeed and me decided to step out and joined another group (with just four members) which was expecting more members to join to make it a full member group. This is where we met each other, but the fact is we were seated together for some of our module classes together. That means we were not totally strangers to each other.
Our group consisted of six members, four of which is from Bangladesh, one from Pakistan, and finally leaving me who is from India. We were complementing each other very well. We include (in alphabetical order) Adil Majeed, Fajith Mustafa (me), Khaled, Mohammad Hoque, Mohammed Haque, and Zishan.
The lecturers available for the various lecture sessions were eminent people who could do magic with a group of students. They motivated us with theory and applications. They helped us to differentiate what is good and what is not good for our research. They actually made our work easier. They lectured on various topic involved in the dissertation work.
The 'touch' sessions with various visiting and sitting faculties helped us to clear all our doubts and that helped us to see the clear blue sky. All the members of our group were presented and we presented our idea of doing the paper which were broadly accepted by all and asked us to go as we have decided, but they did not forget to caution us about the dangers of plagiarism, chunking, referencing mistakes, etc. They gave us small tips on organising our reading, making notes and using them while writing very efficiently.
The Topic for AMP
This is the vital part of the AMP. For our AMP we were allotted a topic by lottery method basis. It was almost like ''first come, first serve basis". Lucky group gets easy topic with wide scope of resources and information. Let me frankly say we were given the last remaining topic, as we formed our group in the last as we were the last 'man' standing.
The drawback of our topic is that it was relevant but the resources available were scarce. It is not actually scarce but not reliable, available but reliable resources were very fewer. With the guidance given by the lecturers we became aware which ones are reliable and which are not.
We decided to meet for the following two weeks with the progress of each one's personal reading. We were successful in meeting for two weeks and then proceeded with our writing. We did decide that if anybody of us finds a new resource we will make the other members aware of that. For that purpose we kept mailing with links and reference list. It needs to be mentioned that two of our group were not active during those days. They kept ignoring me, did not reply to mails. But my confidence did not make me worry at all.
Topics Covered in our Group meeting Sessions:
As we were all international students of the university we started our discussions from the basic areas like:
Research and reading,
Finding of sources, etc.
And well of course we discussed a lot about our discussion topic.
As part of my masters graduation programme I have already had the experience of working in a group (i.e. in various group activities in my previous modules) but working for a formal dissertation work was for the first time and it made me more responsible and I believe I have had risen to the occasion remarkably.
The Effect of FIFA world cup 2010: (needed mentioning)
Another thing which bothered us all was the progress of the FIFA world cup during our sessions. Everybody in our group was die-hard football fans. They were all following foot-ball in between our sessions. That wasted our time a little but helped us to understand the principle of group effort and sportsmen's spirit. But some of us were very keenly absorbed in the world cup matches, which delayed couple of our meetings and proceedings.
Private Study and Researching
With the information I have collected I started my work all by myself on the first week of the month of July 2010. I made sure I noted everything as and when it happened, documenting it as a safety measure not to lose any of the required data. Every night I made sure to enter logs as it in the diary, just to recollect it and use it at a time when it is needed.
I was residing in Milton Keynes during the course of my project, which is almost 23 miles from the University and I used to visit university two days in a week and spent the rest of the days at home and at the central library in Milton Keynes. The librarians of that library were very helpful and they advised me a number of periodicals, journals and books which he believed would help me in my research. They were showing curious concern for my research; that developed very good respect towards them, in spite of the fact that I am a foreigner in their town.
The more I read the more confident I became, but in between the process that dyslexic condition of mine slowed up the whole reading process. My house mate was also a student, he helped me in reading. When sometimes I feel tired he read out some materials so that I can understand and make notes in between, I am so thankful to him for his help. That action of him was really appreciative and very helpful; it put me back into the track.
Part time Job in McDonald's
I was working in McDonald's as a part time employee, working under 16 hours a week. The work time in McDonald's was a kind of refreshment for me. It helped to interact with people; which I loved. I used the opportunity to relax my mind every week after the long hours of researching. The next day after the work I felt so fresh and that was an added advantage to my experience.
Personal feelings and learning from the experience of AMP
Firstly, I must confess I am very much afraid and worried about undertaking any big formal writing assignment. As I was finishing my high school I started to develop a simple condition similar to dyslexia, which makes the letters in the pages (both printed and electronic) tend to move around in front of my eyes. My eyes get strained to adjust with the reading and at the end of the day I am down. This condition makes it very difficult for me to read and concentrate for a considerable time. This has also affected my studies.
However I have worked to overcome that problem during my dissertation. Made plans for the following on the previous nights. I carried a notepad at all times, just to make sure I noted down ideas as I get it (not to lose one)
Working in a group helped me to understand the project in detail. It helped me to realise the fact that for every subject there are several aspects and all the aspects never comes to the mind of a single person alone. It varies from person to person. We shared our ideas, understanding knowledge which helped us to discuss it with the various lecturers present for the AMP week and we the group members were mutually motivating among ourselves to bring out the maximum out of every single member.
Personality, Character, and Attitude of Group Members:
The following paragraphs show the personality, qualities and attitude of the group members. I am listing the persons in my group according to their contribution and total involvement in this group activity. It is not grouped according to alphabetical order; I have prioritised the individuals (excluding me) considering their involvement, contribution and acceptation. We can see what I have studied everybody individually through their behaviour and attitude.
Zishan: He was the most hard-working and intelligent guy among us, who had more experience with projects and he has got spontaneous ideas throughout our discussion sessions. He helped us a lot in developing the plan for writing and helped us all with finding the right resources, both digital and printed. His ideas were brilliant and spontaneous. His language and communicative skilled were of good quality. I must admit he was the only person with the right leadership qualities. It was a good learning experience with Zishan.
Khaled: He was a person with some vibrant ideas and good linguistic talent. He also possessed good leadership qualities. He was always active and shot with questions at the lecturers in the AMP week. He organised the meetings and sent mails to all the members with the sources. Very hard-working and out-spoken person: complimented all the group sessions. He helped us all to go through the sessions very easily and made it effective.
Adil Majeed: He is a person with an MBA post degree from a well-known Pakistani University. He worked in a cellular company called 'Huawei' for just less than two years as some executive. That added glory to our group with a person of experience in an actual field. He never wasted time and brought in several topics from his home country and also international topics.
Mohammad Hoque: He is a person with some good talents in speaking and writing. But during most of our session he was seen useless (literally). He was keen in something else. He never exploited his talents for the good of the group. It was evident from his behaviours that he had kept a feeling that he can do the project all by himself (without anybody's help).
Mohammed Haque: He was a person of silent behaviour. He possessed good qualification. He never actually participated in any of the sessions. He was all versed in matters concerning himself and his family. At the end of the day his qualification and qualities did not do any good to our group as a whole or any single individual in the group.
My attitude and approach towards my fellow group members:
I have always tried my best to compose with the best personal qualities of mine at all times and especially during my group meetings. I have arranged everything systematically and in a good manner so that everybody will appreciate and expecting them to do the same. But I was wrong; some were having some hidden agendas with them. They behaved strange: like they were selfish and wanted to perform in the paper better than me (better than anybody). They were reluctant to show study sources to each other. But I did not show a face letting them know that I am aware of their agendas and their behaviour.
I wanted everything to be organised and going well spontaneously. My contribution to that was phenomenal, that was because I have employed my maximum effort to derive the best result out of me.
Lessons for future Projects
I have learned number of lessons from this very experience of mine while doing my dissertation. This I would like to document and express in simple words, so that it can be helpful for me as well as new researchers in the future.
Here I am listing down all the self-faculty of mine during the progress of my work. They are being listed prioritising the important ones at the top of the list.
Find a proper complimenting TEAM.
Working with a good group of people who compliments each other is like half of the work done. For such a serious research we might need more helping hands that can possibly save us, for that we need co-operating, understanding and learning group mates.
For forming a better group we need to be familiar with all the course mates, understand them and find out whether they would be helpful to us and then make a request to be in his/her group. My understanding is that female students are more serious in approach than the male students. So, it could be better if we include more female students in the group. Definitely that would do some good in real.
Make a PLAN for all actions to be made.
Understand the theme of the research. Make a 'plan' for all the action we are planning to make our project the best. Planning is an essential function which eliminates wastage (of time, resources and money) and facilitates easy work. For that we can draw outlines of actions to be performed for the collective accomplishment of the project as a whole
Utilize TIME efficiently and properly.
The main lesson I have learnt is to properly utilize the available. Time is always priceless, Time spent is always spent: Every single minute counts if we want to be successful, because time once wasted cannot be recovered or repaired, the damage would have been already done. So try to be choosy in spending, organise and utilise it with great care.
'Procrastination' is considered to be bad practice all the time. The word simply means to postpone or delay any action until the right opportunity is lost. To prevent wastage of time, we need to have a proper plan. Planning eliminates lot of wasted actions and thus saves time and opportunity.
Organize the NOTES and references conveniently.
Notes and references are very important to help us to write properly to support our ideas, which we are trying to express. They have to be well organized to make our writing effortless and versatile. They have to be properly indexed so as to facilitate a free and quick access when we need them.
Get access to the best RESOURCE available.
Within the first couple of days of getting the topic, try finding the 'best' available reading resources in different mediums. For that we need to have a close contact with an efficient librarian, who shall help us with finding it, accessing it and utilising it. A technical guidance will help us to save time and to organise the reading effectively.
Read, read and READ.
Reading more and more on a specific subject makes us understand it better. The more we read and research the more 'understanding' we would be. Versatile reading is essential to be successful in solving the research paper without making many mistakes. Even if some of the resources seem questionable try reading and compare the contents with the resources which are reliable and credible. In that way we can get additional information. Journals and periodicals are considered more accurate because they are updated and are written by eminent personalities in the concerned fields.
The AMP dissertation with the guidance of the faculty team (both home and visiting) and the working in a group was ultimately a learning experience for a post graduate student like me. It was one experience which will influence my life while at work or while undertaking any projects or jobs in the future. It really helped me to understand my boundaries and to exploit the best talents and efforts out of me.
I believe this piece of my work can be used by new students going for AMP to understand the difficulties involved in it and to make it smooth for them.