Subject Code: MBA600
Assessment Title:Assessment 3 – Reflective Essay
Students and required to reflect on the learnings gained from undertaking the capstone subject and assessments. In addition, students are to look back at their MBA course as a whole and identify the specific skills developed that will assist them in becoming effective practitioners in the workplace.
Learning is a persistent change in performance or potential that results from experience and interaction (Driscoll, 2005). Reflective learning is the process of stepping back from the experience and reflecting on how skills, attitudes, mindset and behaviours have evolved.
Students should write a reflective essay of 2,500 words (+/-10%) that covers the following:
The reflective essay should include discussion of learnings from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Additionally, insights from undertaking assessments and research, capstone lessons as well as group activities from this and other subjects over the duration of the course. Specific examples should be cited to support and justify all points
Assessment 3 – Reflective Essay
The purpose of this reflective essay is to assess and evaluate the skills and learnings gained from the capstone subjects as well as the overall MBA course, which will be useful for becoming effective practitioners in the future. While continuous experience and interaction lead to a change in performance and potential in regular learning, reflective learning, on the other hand, allows us to revaluate the mindset, attitude and skills by detaching from the experience itself. Over the entire MBA course, we engaged in several core capstone subjects that primarily focused on four skills and several other additional learning. The essay summarises the learning and capability acquired from the four essential capstone skills while also reflecting on the consultancy research process. Further evaluation of the skills developed over the MBA course has been presented in a reflective manner, along with a similar approach to how these skills might help in my future career endeavours.
Summary of reflective capability and learning and four essential capstone skills
The four essential capstone skills discussed during the first week of the MBA course was presented to us as learning outcomes of the course, consisting of multiple components for each of the skills. The first capstone skill acquired during the course was the ability to critically assess the wide range of theories that were discussed during the MBA course and identify the connections between each of the theories. The next capstone skill that was discussed in the MBA course was the improvement of performance and gaining competitive advantage in the workplace by applying the advanced knowledge of the course into real-life scenarios. The third capstone skill acquired was independent research skill. Researching skills is necessary for solving complex business problems (Ramlall & Ramlall, 2016, p. 19). Finally, the last capstone skill involved discussing and implementing skills, knowledge and theories for effective management functions and practices. When evaluated carefully, it can be noticed that all these acquired capstone skills are somewhat different than traditional skills that are offered during professional courses and are more focused on my personal reflective capacity and learning.
The first capstone skill comprised of six other major components that helped me improve my reflective capability and learning as well as develop competence and knowledge about these components. With the help of low cost or differentiation, I was able to determine the source of competitive advantage for an organization. Similarly, a business analytical tool known as Porter’s 5 Forces helped me understand competitive rivalry in a more clear and concise manner. In addition to this, market and industry risk could be identified using the SWOT and PESTLE analysis while the VRIN model of assets provided a resource-based view of the organization (Shtal et al. 2018, p. 16). Finally, the Business Model Canvas was used to understand the distinctive capabilities of the organization while the Balanced Scorecard targeted the performance of strategy to be used in the organization. As for the second capstone skill, Industry Research and Competitive Differentiation was acquired, which would provide me with the opportunity to change industry profitability (Thompson, Strickland & Gamble 2015, p. 121). Moreover, Leadership and Resource Endowments and Financial Performance Analysis focus on distinctive capabilities and commercial feasibility of change of the organisation (Adomako 2018, p. 1850026). The third capstone skill involved utilizing the MBA subjects and specializations for researching the key strategic problems of Australian and New Zealand companies with the help of their Industrial Classification Codes. This skill basically focused on solving the complex business problems through the use of research as well as the acquired knowledge from the subjects taught during the MBA course. The final capstone skill retouched some of the previous business tools, along with some new ones to plan management strategies and practices for the organization. These tools included Business Model Canvas, SWOT and PESTLE, McKinsey 7S Model and many more. With the help of these analytical tools, I had gained the capability to reflect on the company’s management practice and implement necessary strategies for future growth and development. To summarize, it can be stated that all four essential capstone skills not only increased my knowledge, competency and understanding of the business aspects of a company but also enhanced my reflective capability and learning required for my future professional endeavours.
Learning from the capstone subject and consultancy research process
Apart from the four essential capstone skills, the MBA course also consisted of several core capstone subjects that helped me gain advanced knowledge about various business and organization aspects. A reflective approach has been made in this section of the essay to assess the learnings from the various capstone subjects and also from the consultancy research process. The first capstone subject discussed in the MBA course was People, Culture and Contemporary Leadership which addressed the key concepts in managing human resources. In a business organization, employees are considered as assets and human capital for which human resource management is necessary to use them effectively for various business operations (Chrobot-Mason, Ruderman & Nishii 2014, p. 45). With the help of this capstone subject, I was able to grasp the key concepts of human resource management, which would be necessary for real-life scenarios. Another such subject was Governance, Ethics and Sustainability, which discussed the role of the management board for evaluating the implemented strategy in the organization and risks associated with it. As a student of business studies, I would require in-depth knowledge about business strategies to ensure growth and development and this subject helped me learn the core concepts about corporate governance and how to achieve sustainable strategies. The third core capstone subject was Financial and Economic Interpretation and Communication, and through it, I acquired the ability to assess performance, liquidity and financial position of the company (Petersen, Kushwaha & Kumar 2015, p. 45). While finance and business economics are essential aspects of an organisation, the ability to communicate effectively helps to propagate the flow of information within the organization. With the help of this subject, I was not only able to utilize business analytical tools for determining company performance and financial position but also use my professional communication skills to share the information with my peers and company board members. The fourth capstone subject was Dynamic Strategy and Disruptive Innovation which assisted me in developing corporate strategies, create value through innovation and apply my dynamic capabilities to ensure growth and development of the organization (Teece, Peteraf & Leih 2016, p. 14). The next subject is very much intrinsic to all types of business organizations and industries as it deals with Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Psychology. This subject deals with the impact of business strategy on consumer behaviour and how much change in behaviour might affect the market share of the organization (Rimkute, Moraes & Ferreira 2016, p. 25). The sixth and final capstone subject was Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence and Diversity. It included appraising the cultural differences in the workplace and manage a culturally diverse workforce. In a highly globalized world where national boundaries are no longer a limitation for people to work in their desired fields, business organizations must be prepared to manage a culturally diverse workforce without any form of discrimination in the workplace (Rothaermel 2016, p. 123). For this reason, attending this subject in the MBA course prepared me for such diverse workplaces and also provided me with the knowledge to blend in such an environment. During the course, I learned that it is through mutual respect for each other and open communication culture. I could work effectively in a diverse workplace environment. All the core capstone subjects provided me with the theoretical knowledge and perspective of working in real-life situations which were later further enhanced practically with the help of group activities and workshops conducted during the MBA course.
Skills developed over the MBA
Over the entire MBA course and learning through the various capstone subjects included in it, I was able to acquire and master the four essential capstone skills that would help me in my future professional career. When discussing the core capstone subjects, I was able to gain necessary business knowledge as well as major analytical tools that would help me assess the financial, economic and strategic position of the organization. Moreover, the source of competitive advantage and distinctive capabilities of the organization has helped me critically assess the diverse range of theories associated with business studies. A deeper insight into the subjects included in the MBA course and attending the various workshops and group activities also provided me with first-hand experience and practical understanding of the various business operations. While it is true that theoretical knowledge forms the basis of understanding about a certain topic, practical perspective and experience is also essential, especially in today's global world. Due to such intense globalization in almost all large companies, working in a culturally diverse workplace is quite common and must be practised by students of business studies (Thomas 2017, p. 156). In recent times, business schools focus more on the practical experience of students as compared to the theoretical knowledge to make them prepared for the real-life scenarios in the future when working for real organizations.
As the theoretical knowledge and skills set acquired from the capstone subjects has already been discussed in the essay, it is also necessary to assess the practical activities that I participated in during the MBA course. One of the most effective practical activities engaged by me was workshops where each of the students were asked to provide a 5-minute formal presentation about their own choice of business theory or tool. In addition, this, each student also had to reflect on their own key strengths and weaknesses that they were able to identify. From my own perspective, I was able to improve my own presentation and communication skill due to this workshop. Moreover, when researching about the selected topic, I was also able to enhance my investigative and research skills and also improved my areas of weakness. The main sources that I used for acquiring my information on the subject included news releases, financial statements of various companies, white papers and research articles official company websites and even government publications. Apart from the workshops, I also participated in several group activities where the students and the assessors engaged in brainstorming about several business-related topics and conducted a session of Q and A. This activity not only improved our insight on the topic but also encouraged us to openly communicate with each other and get used to a diverse workplace environment. One such example can be provided during one of the weekly sessions when a conflict of interest occurred due to miscommunication between two other students. As the students in the course all belonged from varying cultural and racial backgrounds, communication was a major issue. However, with my knowledge acquired from People, Culture and Contemporary Leadership and Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence and Diversity, I was able to get into the root of the problem and step in as a leader and sorted out their disagreement (Ang & Van Dyne 2015, p. 213). The ability to manage people from diverse cultures through emotional intelligence and situational leadership has helped gain the first-hand experience about this topic (Prause & Mujtaba 2015, p. 13). As a matter of fact, I would be able to perform well in managerial positions for my future career endeavours as well.
Future career endeavours
Based on my current level of knowledge and learning about the various aspects of business studies and valuable insights from my reflective analysis, I can estimate some of the skills, knowledge, attitude and experience that might assist me in my future professional endeavours. Although these are only rough estimations without any specific outcome, there are high chances of such implementation in the future due to my accurate derivations. As for the theoretical knowledge and lesson acquired from the capstone subjects, these would act as my base source of knowledge when working for any business organizations in the future. Some subjects, especially on leadership and cultural diversity, would help me work in a diverse work environment while maintaining harmonious relationships with my peers. Apart from the theoretical knowledge, I would be able to use my acquired skill sets, behaviour, attitude for making quick improvements in a job position in the future. Even the communication and presentation skill gained by me from the workshops would help me maintain an open communication culture with my peers and superiors. Even the personal experience gained from handling conflict situations and acting as a situational leader would help me to act more effectively and efficiently in managerial positions in the future.
To summarize, it can be stated that the entire MBA course has not only provided me with a theoretical understanding of the business studies, but I was also able to gain first-hand practical knowledge about skills and lessons required in the business and corporate sector. Some of the most critical skills that I was able to gain from the overall MBA course included professional communication skills, time management skills, presentation skills, leadership qualities and management of human resources. All of these skills are highly demanded in the business and corporate sector by organizations. Moreover, due to the diverse workplace culture in global organizations, my acquired knowledge of diversity management as well as emotional intelligence to better understand people would support my future endeavour in managerial positions. Based on reflective learning, I was also able to identify my areas of expertise as well as areas where I lack adequate knowledge. However, given enough time and an appropriate action plan, I can work on the weak areas and develop the skills that would help me in future career aspirations. Finally, it is evident from the reflective essay that I was able to utilize the entire MBA course as well as the capstone subjects and skills that would act as a backbone to all my future real-life professional endeavours and help me achieve growth and success with more effectiveness.
It is quite evident and conclusive from the reflective essay that I was able to acquire both the practical and theoretical knowledge and perspective about working in a business organization. The reflective, as well as analytical and capstone skills acquired by me, would not only be useful in my future career endeavours but also help me manage employees when working in a managerial position of a business organization. The various capstone subjects and skills acquired during the MBA course and practical activities have helped me build the necessary behaviour, mindset and attitude to gain professional success and help my organization gain the competitive advantage needed to maintain sustainability in the market. In addition to this, the reflective learning and assessment of these skill sets and knowledge have also helped me to identify my own areas of strengths of weaknesses. While the areas of weaknesses should be rectified using an appropriate action plan, my strong areas need to be maintained through regular practice and continuous learning process.