All entries for April 2012

April 25, 2012

Follow–up on Reading and Note–making

Follow-up to A1_Portfolio_Reading and Note–making from Natalia's blog

Dear Han-na

with a huge delay, I would like to continue with my blogging on the progress in reading and note-making.

As for the action points, for the next 4 weeks in this exam term, I would like to set 3 specific action points which I hope I will find useful for my revision.

1. I will choose one subject on which I want to practise Mind mapping. I have also downloaded into my pc a mindmapping programme.

2. When revising, I prefer creating my own notes from the lecture slides. I will choose one subject where I will use Cornell Note-Making method. I know that this is mainly for taking the notes in the lecture, but I think it might also be beneficial for creating revision notes - especially the summary at the bottom of the page. Or I was thinking about adjusting the system, eg. creating the summary after each topic.

3. My revision requires lot of reading. Therefore, I would like to improve my reading skills. In the notes we were given after the workshop, there are several hints for increasing reading skills. In particular: take regular breaks, print the materials off, don't multitask, after the reading, make notes of what you have rear and vary what you read. I believe that not only will such practices have a positive effect on my reading speed, but also it will speed up my revision in overall.

Thank you Han-na for reading the entry. The update on my progress will follow soon.


April 18, 2012

Follow–up on Career planning

Workshop Tutor: Fiona Kent

Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points



Dear Fiona,

Unfortunately, the interview was postponed from April 11 to April 17. Therefore, I couldn't have updated you about how the telephone interview went.

As far as my second action point regarding the preparation for the interview is concerned, I decided not to leave anything to chance. I watched the videos with interviews that Charlie Cunningham recommended me. I found them really interesting, especially the interviewers' comments on applicant’s performance. I learnt quite a lot about the nature of such interviews.

I also googled information regarding the possible questions I might be asked at the interview. I found it helpful because I tried to reply to each of them on my own. With such preparation, I felt during the conversation more relaxed and confident. When you prepare the possible answers, it is easier not to slip into a trap.

For example, one question I was asked was which subject at Warwick I have enjoyed most so far and why. I responded, that business planning - an integrative project based on teamwork was a challenging experience. He asked me which role I played in the team and what I think my strength was. I described him my responsibilities and told him that I like to challenge - improve things - to question new ideas so as to make the most of them. He found an opportunity to ask me a tricky question - don't you think that such approach to brainstorming can be sometimes frustrating?

Well, to be honest, I was surprised by such question. Luckily, one of the question I googled was similar to this one, so I knew that I have to turn it into something positive. I said that when a person knows his or her strengths, it is necessary to know when it is appropriate to use them. So I agreed that it might be frustrating, but I also pointed out that I am driven by achievements and that I like getting things done. When being short of time, I consider - is it worth to challenge the idea? Do we have time for it? Are those 3% of improvement more valuable compared to the progress of the overall project?

I think, such answer was quite diplomatic and it does not show my strength as a weakness. Am I right?

To conclude, the whole interview lasted more than 30 minutes and I had a good feeling about the way the interview went. I was told that I was articulate and my responses were well structured and meaningful. So now I just have to expect the worst and hope for the best.

Thank you Fiona for reading the blog, I tried to meet all the action points I set during the workshop. So now I guess I am going to start writing the final entry for the whole Warwick Skills Portfolio.

Thank you again for following my posts and all the best!




April 01, 2012

Follow–up on An introduction to emotional intelligence

Workshop Tutor: Samantha Tarren

Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points


Hello Samantha!

I apologize for the delay in my blog entries. Unfortunately, I was unable to progress with my action points and follow-up posts as quickly as I wished.

As far as my last entry is concerned, I was analysing the importance of non-judgemental listening. I referred to Stephen Covey and his 7 habits of highly effective people. Since this last post, I have been trying to implement the active listening in day-to-day situations.

Having done the workshop on coaching, I found this area of self-development interesting. I have read a lot about coaching, its advantages and disadvantages and outcomes. Self-development as such is one of the main areas in which I can imagine myself in 3-4 years from now. Unlike mentoring, coaching is all about listening to other people so as to ask the right questions. What I started to do is the same thing. When talking to people, I try to listen more carefully. I pay more interest to their actual problems, and it works.

To demonstrate this on an example, couple of days ago I went with a friend of mine for coffee. She was going through a bad life situation, which she though is a vicious circle. I have known her since primary school, so I can say when her problem is real. In such situations, there is not a lot we as friends can do, but I tried to somehow help her to find a way out of it. Sometimes, asking right questions is enough. I have to admit, analysing things is what I am good at. So I wanted to let her to see the problem from different angles. I let her to do the analysis just by asking the questions such as: What can you do? Is there anything else you can do to make it better? Is there any other obstacle you haven’t thought of? What would be the first step you would take if you decided to change it? And so on, and so forth… After an hour, I saw that she was glad that she had someone who listened to her and that she had a change to talk about it.

However, I have to admit that active listening is sometimes tiring. It requires us to pay more attention and put more effort in the conversation than we usually do. It steals from the energy that we usually put into our problems. But it is only a matter of finding the right balance, isn’t it?

As for the summary of the blog on Emotional Intelligence, I feel that through writing about my perception of emotional intelligence, I learnt couple of important things.

First of all, I found out that meditation and mindfulness is not a cup of my tea. I tried, but it didn’t work. I learnt that every person has different ways of relaxing. In my case, running and exercising in overall is the way I should be maintaining the balance between work/studies and relax/life.

Secondly, I wanted to attend the workshop on Time-management. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to but at least, I read Getting Things Done by David Allen and successfully implemented a number of techniques which improve the time-management, such as to-do lists, ecalendars, eat the frog and 2 minute rule.

Lastly, I focused more on active listening. Having attended your workshop and 2-day workshop on coaching, I have a good base for improving such soft-skill. There indeed is a long way to go, but as it is said, the beginning is the most difficult part.

Thank you Samantha for following my blog. Again, I apologize for taking longer time for finishing the blog, but sometimes being reflective requires a bit deeper analysis. I hope I referred to all the things you expected me to and I look forward to writing the final blog for the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award.

All the best,

Follow–up on Understanding your personality type

Workshop Tutor: Mary Sage

Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points


Hi Mary!

I apologize for such a delay in my last follow-up. There was one last action point to go, unfortunately, the one that takes longer time to put in action:

3. According to ESTJ, I sometimes give less attention to my intuition - I will try to act more spontaneously/to trust my intuition.

You have to agree with me that this goal might sound easy but there is a long way from having said to having done. Since the last follow-up, I have been aware that I have to pay greater attention to the decision-making process.

Interestingly, what I found out is that when it comes to making decisions, I used to leverage the pros and cons, I tried to analyse all the aspects and impact of that decision, and also, I usually try to gather all the data related to the decision. Not only was this process more time-consuming, but also, in many cases, it influenced the final decision in such a way that I over-think a problem with an obvious solution.

One of the most common examples is a test. During the last mock exam from Financial Management with multiple-choice questions, I caught myself questioning the first instinct, hunch. When preparing for the real exam, I found out that in many of the questions where I thought the answer is correct, the first – unchanged answer was indeed, correct. In 5 out of 15 questions, I changed my answer in a way that I replaced a correct answer with the wrong one. And that was only because I was questioning my first answer even if I had been studying hard for the exam.

So I was thinking when I do such mistakes in exams, what is the result in a real life? That’s when I told myself to stop analysing and over-thinking every single step (and some friends of mine can confirm that I did it a lot). Changing the way we think is a long-term process, that is for sure, but it can be changed. When solving a problem or dealing with a situation, every time I ask myself: left or right, black or white, yes or now – decide now, don’t hesitate because it will make no change, it will add no enormous value. The exact opposite – it will keep you wasting your time, your valuable time that can be spent on other – more important things. The way people think can’t be changed in a second but It seems I made a good start, what do you think?

Dear Mary, I want to thank you very much for the time and effort you put into reading my blog, I think I covered all the action points I set for myself in the fist post. I enjoyed working with MBTI personality questionnaire, I feel I have learnt a lot about myself and I look forward to writing a bit more about it in the final blog!

Thank you and have a nice day!

Follow–up on Career planning

Workshop Tutor: Chris Manley Fiona Kent

Heres a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points


Dear Fiona and Chris,

Here is the follow-up on my progress with the action points I set in the last blog.

Since your workshop, I have been working so much on improving my CV. As promised, I got my CV checked in the C&S Centre. I thought that attending the workshop on how to write your CV provides you with enough information but the opposite is true. The 20 min session, which I had with one of the advisors in the Centre, got far beyond my expectations. I thought that my CV was strong enough, but I found out that there is a lot that can be improved so as to make the CV flawless.

Ioanna Iordanou, the advisor in the C&S Centre, she pointed out during the session that my CV was well-structured and easy to read. However, she also suggested that due to having a number of important experiences, I should change the structure of the CV. The original CV was based on a timeline which was good, but it does not let the CV show the competencies and qualities of the applicant. So Ioanna showed me how to base the CV on competencies. I switched the timeline to the right-side and added the description of the most important skills and competencies that I gained from each work-experience. Now, the CV looks better, the layout is clearer and it presents my work-experiences, educational background and strengths in a more professional way.

As far as the second action point is concerned, I have decided to change it slightly. Due to having one application successful, I was offered a telephone interview. Therefore, I have decided to focus on the preparation for that conversation. I went to C&S Centre again to gain some advice on what to do and what don’t during the interview. On March 16, I spoke to Charlie Cunningham. He gave me several valuable pieces of advice which I am definitely going to implement in the preparation for the interview. The interview takes place on April 11, so I’m planning to go through company websites, skim their annual reports, google some information about the company and Charlie provided me with some resources regarding the types of questions I might be asked during the conversation and some videos which I think will be useful for the prep.

That’s it for now, thank you for reading and I will get back to the blog with updates after the interview.

Wish me luck and have a nice day!


April 2012

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Most recent comments

  • Hi Natalia, We were checking details for the WSPA certificates today and realised that you haven't w… by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Hi Natalia, A full, reflective and detailed, excellent final entry on this workshop. It's good to re… by Han-na Cha on this entry
  • Dear Samena, Thank you for your comment. Finishing my WSPA is a great satisfaction for all the work … by on this entry
  • Dear Natalia A brilliant final blog entry for the WSPA, providing an honest reflection on your learn… by Samena Rashid on this entry
  • Hi Natalia, This is a really good summary of your action point, showing a detailed and reflective ap… by Han-na Cha on this entry

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