February 10, 2009

Changing focus

Lately I have been having a feeling that the content of MBE modules are shifting somewhat towards greater technicality and complexity. In PIUSS many of us were suddenly hit by a whole lot of statistics which many of us found challenging and unfamiliar. Now in PEUSS, there seems to be endless numbers of techniques or procedures we are suppose to learn. This trend seem to continue in our next module in Robust Design with probably more techniques that are heavily Engineering/Manufacturing orientation. Before this we were learning more about principles of things like Deming, TQM, Business Excellence, and Quality philosophies... It is probably a good thing that we are getting a taste of different styles of learning and materials, but admittedly this sudden change in focus did come as a surprise and is a little hard to adjust. Since in previous year, this degree was called Electronic Engineering Excellence (EEE) so I am guessing that is the reason for the stuff we we being taught now,although the name has changed to Managing Business Excellence (MBE), the content of the course hasn't.

Is this a good thing to be happening? Well I wouldn't complain too much about it. Afterall, it is what it is, even though some of us may not like it, I can see that tutors are trying to make things relevant to student from non-engineering background. Personally, I prefer the stuff we did before like CBE, GBE, LE, OPP because they seem relevant in every business/organisations. But studying all these "theories" can be a bit "empty" or "high level" sometimes, it doesn't feel like we are learning something concrete. On the contrary, Six sigma and Design for Six Sigma is very concrete, these are tools that are applied in project design or process improvement. So we are getting a bit of both theoretical and practical education here.

What I really enjoy, and just begining to realise now, is kind of the whole idea of "management". The way I see it is that we are not just learning about business management. Yes they are the context in which we carry out our learning. But I see a grander level of management in all the things we are doing. Learning about managing self discipline, managing teams, understanding psychological factors, critical thinking, self reflection etc. Blogging for example, is a powerful tool to learn about ourselves. Through jotting down thoughts about ANYTHING, we develop a greater ability for critical thinking, for writing, and for expressing our opinions. What Paul said earlier was very true and I always think back to his words. This year is an opportunity for us to develop key skills that will accompany us throughout our life. The great thing is, we can make mistakes and not be expected to pay for them. I can blog anything and not having to worry whether other people will judge me for what I said. I can learn to take lead in group situation and not be expected to be punished if I fail. I can learn to express freely anything I don't like about the class and not worry about losing my job. There is much we can learn to experiment and may not have same luxury once we leave.

Today on facebook, a friend from New Zealand asked me whether my course is challenging. My immediate thought was "No, not really, I really enjoy it, so it must not be too hard, because how can something enjoyable be challenging?". But then I think back to my undergraduate degree in science, many of the classes was quite challenging but none of that really taught me the stuff I think I should know. This year, will be a chance for me to explore things I am interested in knowing, and perfecting skills I am keen on developing. I should not let it go to waste.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Sue

    I think something which is often overlooked is the importance of staying calm in a crisis. I’m lucky to live with people who are very adept at that (I think it comes naturally). We have no drama queens here and yesterday I was so glad about that. Even the police remarked on it. Today is a new day and we are being philosophical about it.

    11 Feb 2009, 07:38

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