Diploma in Organisational Leadership
The residential week for Module 2 was a scary prospect. The first thing that we had to do was an exam on the Wednesday morning (the exam was on Module 1), then it would be into the lectures for Module 2. This would be my first formal university exam for over 20 years.
Between the first two modules my life had changed substantially, I had finished working for Samsung in Korea and started a grand tour of the USA with my family. This meant that my study patterns had too, changed substantially. After Module 1 I had good intentions of spending an hour a day studying, I had managed this for the first month or so but this went out the window when we started touring the USA. The lack of study was somewhat made up by the contact I had with the study group, they were most helpful.
The entire class had split up into study groups, generally these were split up on geographical lines, there were at least two in the UK, plus Europe, the USA and the study group that I was part of – APAC and India. We communicated via Whatsapp, Slack and Google hangouts. Each of these e-communications tools was good but no one of them covered everything, my personal favourite was Slack. The APAC study group shared out attempts at answers to previous exams, and had two live conferences to discuss our thoughts about our answers and approach to the exam. I found these live chats most useful in helping formulate my thoughts about the application of the theories to real life situations and how I would approach the exam.
To ensure that I was properly prepared I arrived in Oxford on the Monday morning and spent the next two days studying, either by myself or with other members of my cohort. On the exam day (Wednesday) I duly turned up at the business school and got dressed in the requisite clothing, it was a bit like getting dressed for a ball. I sat the exam and managed to write down some sort of a reasonable argument for each of the three questions. I approached the exam like the engineer that I am, three questions in two hours, first 15 min read each question and draw/write the applicable models (5 minutes per question), next 15 min bullet point the argument and conclusion (5 minutes per question again) then 30 minutes per question of frantic writing, all while trying to force myself to be slow so my writing was legible. Two hours later the exam was over, my fingers were throbbing and hand was stiff, however I had just about written all I had planned, two of the questions had the final couple of points bulleted not written out. I was happy with my approach and now all there is, is to see if I am happy with the mark.
The exam halls were fabulous old buildings, I would have loved to have posted a couple of photos of them but we were not allowed to take anything electronic into the building. The atmosphere was electric as we were sharing the halls with many other students. Some were wearing carnations, I was later told that white represented students sitting their first exam, pink for those students partially through their course and red for those students sitting their last exam. I suspect that information was correct as late that evening I noticed several groups of students that were wearing red carnations and were exceptionally drunk.
One other thing that I noticed about the exams was the invigilators, whom I remember as being very very scary people, somehow this time they were not nearly so scary.
After lunch it was straight into Module 2, I have to take my hat off to Dr. Pegram Harrison, he did a fantastic job of keeping us engaged through the afternoon, I have even remembered some of the things that he taught us about strategy. Then it was drinks dinner and bed, I was sleep deprived and relieved, so I slept like a rock.
For this module, we had dinner at Nuffield College, once again Gemma had selected a great meal, the company and conversation was great. I found that as a group we are getting to know each other far better and are being far more open, this is making the whole experience very enjoyable.
I am looking forward to Module 3 and the prospect of the second exam is not nearly as daunting as the first. My main worry is how am I going to get sufficient study done as I am off swanning round the USA.
Once the module was complete, I meandered round Oxford taking in the whole vibe of the place, had a lovely meal with one of the other students and then went to catch the bus to Heathrow. There was a bit of an issue, it had gone up in smoke and the whole bus station was closed. I had to catch the next bus, but it was going from the next bus stop down the road. It was a 15-minute walk, but I made it in time, and checked into the Pod Hotel in Terminal 4 at about 10:30 pm. The Pod was very basic but it was clean, cheap and I had no transport issues getting to my early flight the next morning.
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