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This is an individual assignment that should be no longer that 2,000 words. It must be submitted through SurreyLearn no later than 4pm on Monday 11th January. The assignment should be a critical reflection of the knowledge and skills you have developed over the course of this module specifically and your MBA more generally.

There are 4 broad purposes to this assignment:
• To help you develop a rigorous approach to questioning;
• To help you identify areas for change and improvement;
• The help you to respond to new challenges;
• To help you apply learning in one context to other situations and circumstances.

In producing this reflection, you are expected to integrate theory and experiences in a way that offers useful and valuable insights into your development on the MBA programme. In a reflection such as this we would typically expect to see:
• A clear framework through which the reflection is carried out rather than some abstract and unstructured brainstorming or naval gazing;
• A clear explanation of where you started from as an MBA student in terms of both knowledge and skills;
• An honest assessment of the key areas in which you have developed well and areas in which your development has been less successful;
• A strong evidence base for all positive and negative conclusions reached;
• A clear sense of where you should go next in developing as an MBA student.



It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting on this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively” Gibbs, 1988


In this assignment we want you to reflect on your experiences on the MBA to date, how you have developed as a result of those experiences and what that tells you about the next steps you need to take in the MBA programme. Reflection is not a self indulgent act of navel gazing but rather than significant tool to better understand and hence improve our own performance.


To start a reflection you need something to anchor the reflection on – for this assignment you need to start by answering the basic question of why you are doing an MBA. For example, you need to think about:

  • Why this MBA and why do it now?
  • Where do you want the MBA to take you? A new career, more promotion in an existing career, more money etc
  • What do you need to be equipped with by the time you have finished your MBA? What do you need to know? What do you need to be able to do?
  • How will you know if you have been successful?


Having answered these questions, we want you to think about how far along that journey you have come in three dimensions: Learning, Knowledge and Practice.


Learning: what kind of learning skills did you come into the MBA with? How appropriate for MBA level learning are they proving to be? In the learning experience, what is going well and what is going less well? Do you have the higher level learning skills you need to be successful? Are you being critical and analytical? Do you synthesise? Can you differentiate between important and interesting? Have you learning skills, approaches and strategies changed since you started? How do they need to change before you get the end?


Knowledge: What do you now know that you didn’t at the start of the programme? This is not about making a list of all the things you know but about answering more fundamental questions – what do you know about organisations? What do you know about the work of managers and leaders? What do you know about the world in which all this happens? How are they linked together? Where are the gaps? How are they going to be filled?


Practice: What can you do now that you couldn’t do when you started the MBA? What have you become better at? What is it like to work in groups? What is your contribution? How do you manage your time and the tasks you have to do? How do you manage working with people you like and people you might not get on so well with? On the basis of your experiences in the classroom, in assessments, in business projects, what will you differently next time? What is missing from your skill set and how are you going to get it?


So we have an anchor, we reflect on the journey we have taken so far and the final element of the assignment is to create an action plan which is going to answer the fundamental question – what am I going to do next?


To do this task effectively, you need to have some theory, models and concepts to guide your self-analysis. Some suggestions as to what to look at are:

Kolb’s Learning Cycle: http://academic.regis.edu/ed202/subsequent/kolb2.htm

Gibbs Reflective Cycle: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/disability/service/Using-Gibbs-Reflective-Cycle-in-Coursework.pdf

Bloom’s Taxonomy: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

Schon’s Reflective Practice: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/pte/module2/rp.htm

John’s model of structured reflection – see pdf

Rolfe’s Reflective Model: http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Public/LISS/Documents/skillsatcumbria/ReflectiveModelRolfe.pdf


You could also look at the literature around single and double loop learning (http://www.afs.org/blog/icl/?p=2653) and open and closed loop learning that Jon Teckman talked about from Matthew Syed’s book.




Module code: MANM337
Module title: Understanding, Developing and Growing the Business
FHEQ level: 7
Module Co-ordinator: Professor Andy Adcroft
Other contributors:  
Number of credits: 15
Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module availability: Semester 1
Overall student workload: 150 hours:

33 hours contact

67 hours guided study

50 hours independent study

Date of production/revision of the descriptor: 20 January 2015
Assessment pattern
Units of assessment Weighting towards module mark (%)
End of module group assessment: Report 50
Individual end of module project, 2000 words 50
Alternative assessment:

An individual assignment will be developed for students who may need to resit the group assessment. This will be a presentation on a case study.

Qualifying condition(s)

A weighted aggregate mark of 50% of required to pass the module





Module overview

An MBA graduate needs to not only understand the different disciplines of management but also needs to understand how those disciplines fit together to give the business a purpose and coherence. This module begins that process of integrative understanding by considering the fundamental question: how do businesses work? In this module we will integrate theory and practice across a broad range of disciplines such as people management, organisational behaviour, operations management and strategy.



Module aims

This module aims to:

·         Introduce a range of management issues pertinent to understanding how different elements of a business fit together to create a coherent organisation;

·         Critically review the relationship between theory and practice in the management of organisations;

·         Systematically analyse organisations from a process rather than a functional perspective with the emphasis on integration;

·         Allow students to reflect on their own experiences of management in relation to both theory and applicability across a variety of organisational and industry contexts



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

·         Critically discuss and communicate their understanding of key elements of management disciplines such as operations, strategy and people management through the relationship between theory and practice (C, K);

·         Articulate a range of management issues and problems from practice on the basis of systematic analysis and evidence (C, K. T);

·         Identify a range of solutions to management problems and provide a coherent process through which robust decisions can be made (C, K, T);

·         Demonstrate an understanding of the key internal and external forces which influence and determine how businesses behave and perform (C, K);

·         Present complex ideas, informed by theory and practice, in a concise and engaging manner (C, K, T, P);

·         Work effectively as a group member in a situation where there is no formal authority structure (T, P).

Key: C-Cognitive/Analytical; K-Subject Knowledge; T-Transferable Skills; P- Professional/ Practical skills


Module content

Indicative content includes:

·         The business environment: the challenges of technology and globalisation

·         The contemporary business

·         What is strategy and why it matters

·         Understanding organisations

·         The challenges of managing people

·         Operations in the contemporary business



Methods of teaching/learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Give students the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the relevant theory and business practices and problems which are pertinent to understanding how contemporary organisations behave and perform. The emphasis of the strategy is very much on the notion that people learn best when they work things out for themselves and so active participation and the sharing of experiences and perspectives will be central to the classroom activities.

The learning and teaching methods include:


Interactive workshops which will examine a range of theories and examples, some provided by the tutor and some by the students, and the interaction between them. These workshops will be based around a range of activities including mini-lectures, discussions, case analysis, presentations and group discussions.




Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Two things. First, theory – understanding of a range of different theories of organisational behaviour and performance. To do well, students will have to understand the strategic underpinnings of organisations and how this then relates to a range of internal and external issues and the management challenges raised by them as businesses develop and grow. Second, practice – the ability to apply management models and theory to case studies and examples in order to develop robust conclusions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         A 2500 word group report which, through theory and evidence, identifies a management problem in an organisation and possible solutions;

·         A 2000 word individual reflective report which identifies, through theory and evidence, the key management skills and knowledge developed over the course of the module and semester..


Formative assessment and Feedback

This module adopts an enquiry based approach to feedback where the emphasis is on providing resources to students which allow them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses in order to develop learning strategies which will allow them to improve their performance

  • Prior to the group assignment, time will be spent discussing the assignment and feedback process;
  • A detailed marking scheme which provides guidance on how marks will be awarded for each element of assessment. This marking scheme has benefits for both staff and students. For staff it allows for consistency of marking between markers and for rapid and rigorous marking. For students it makes it absolutely clear what is expected of them. Students will receive a mark for each element of the assignment which they can reference to the marking scheme for detailed individual feedback;
  • Generic feedback which explains what students did well and did less well overall. This will take two forms. In the first workshop after the presentation, time will be spent explaining the key learning issues from the assignment and, once marking is completed, students will receive detailed generic feedback via SurreyLearn including a statistical breakdown of marks so that they can place their own performance into that of their cohort;
  • Examples of excellent practice – students will be provided with examples of assignments which achieved marks of 70 or higher in order that they have a number of points of comparison for their own work;
  • Action Plans – students will be encouraged to produce action plans which demonstrate that they have engaged with the feedback resources and which identify their strengths and weaknesses and form the basis of a learning strategy for the end of module assessment.



Reading list

Required purchase


Essential reading

Capon, C. (2009) Understanding Organisational Context: Inside and Outside Organisations, Prentice Hall

Recommended reading

Hernes, T. (2009) Understanding Organisation as Process, Routledge

Handy, C. (2007) Understanding Organisations, Penguin

Background reading

Maund, L. (2011) Understanding People and Organisations, Nelson Thornes

A range of academic journals including Strategic Management Journal, Human Relations, Management Decision, British Journal of Management



Personal Statement

My goal is to acquire a Master degree in business and aid my country by connecting and representing the UAE on the global stage by creating communication and connections with advanced civilizations via a job either with the airlines or the government.


Operations Duty Manager                                                                                                                                                        2009-Present

Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE

  • Became the first UAE national in this position working hand-in-hand with other managers from around the world
  • Control the operation of all Etihad Airways movement at Abu Dhabi International Airport such as check-in counter, transit, aircraft dispatch, and aircraft weighting and balance

Airport Duty Manager                                                                                                                                                                    2005-2009

Abu Dhabi Airport Services (the ground handling company), UAE

  • Responsible for handling all foreign aircrafts and airline companies which included following their procedure and communicating with the airlines in order to support their flights.
  • Dealt with foreign airlines such as BA, KLM, and Lufthansa where I was required to translate and adapt international regulations to UAE specifications.

Air Loadmaster                                                                                                                                                                                1993-2005

UAE Air Force, UAE

  • Represented the UAE forces to French, Italian and British forces
  • Served as part of NATO forces working side-by-side with other forces supporting and handling each other’s aircrafts
  • Aided the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates and such charity organizations handling their supplies and dealing with them during the 2003 war in Iraq


BA Hon Business Studies (International) – In Progress                                                                                                       2012-Present

University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

University Foundation Programme                                                                                                                                        Feb-Aug 2012

David Game College, United Kingdom

High School Diploma                                                                                                                                                                       2008-2009

Abu Dhabi Externals


Travel: I appreciate learning about other cultures in order to broaden my horizon to world philosophy

Aviation: I am passionate about aviation and thus have built my career in this business



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