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Alexander Nowak

Degree:

Masters in Major Programme Management

Location:

UK

Industry:

Higher Education

Year:

2021-2022

By Alexander Nowak

Module One: A ‘Rigorous’ Application of the Temporary Organisation Design (TOD) Framework

Time. Task. Team. Transition.

After an incredible 96 hours (plus a 48 bonus Gateway) of living the 4 Ts of Module One, the MMPM13 cohort has wrapped up its first hybrid week of the programme. It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey; a steady building of anticipation and then relishing of the rush of application. Amongst the many frameworks we’ve tackled, is there a more fitting one to apply to a ‘week-in-review’ analysis and tip-sharing than the TOD? I think not.

Incredible colleges and colleagues

Time: tick, tock… tick, tock…

Make no bones about it, there simply isn’t enough of it! Whether it’s a countdown end to a coffee break or the fluidity that comes with stimulating discussion, time is clearly the most limiting of constraints. Not enough for readings and analysis, lectures and socials, logistics and, well, all that other ‘miscellaneous stuff’ that makes up life. Be prepared to operate on less sleep, more caffeine, but more fulfilment than you can imagine.

Task: to-dos and to-do

Step One: CTRL+A to your to-do list.

Step Two: Delete the selected.

Step Three: Add ‘be here now.’

During this very exploratory week, where possible (an acknowledged limitation for many), try to minimize your other commitments and focus on programme activities. Where you can, try to treat bonus free time as just that: a bonus. After this module you’ll have a much better grasp of how to plan and manage your task list for the remaining modules. It’ll be tough but you won’t be alone… and the community? Very understanding and supportive.

‘Roomies’ and ‘Zoomies’ matriculate!

Team: The reality of teams is far more appealing than the theory

The hybrid approach to this module’s delivery was certainly unique. We’re all accustomed to Zoom meetings, Slack chats, Teams discussions, etc., but in an academic setting where interactivity is stressed took some getting used to. Thankfully our Gateway Days were excellently led by Prof. Ventresca, who stressed participation and eased us into ‘collaborate mode’ even more rapidly. This approach further proved that our most valuable learnings will come from each other.

Transition: next stop, TBD

Everyone is undergoing some type of transition. Maybe it’s subtle, focusing on personal and professional growth in a broad sense, or dramatic, searching for whole new career opportunities and life-altering experiences. Either way, everyone is engaged and motivated, propelling a feeling of forward movement that resonates across the group. It’s that special undercurrent that’s made every interaction that much more enjoyable. Embrace it in both spirit and action.

More matriculation fun!

Tips: a bonus ‘t’

How else does one make the most of Module One? Here are four more random tips I’ve found invaluable:

  • Take care of your IT ASAP. It’s a complicated, if not complex, web to navigate (multiple puns and inside jokes intended) so don’t let any account or resources issues stand in your way. Reach out to IT, your college, and the SBS team at the earliest; they’ll get you sorted as fast as they can.
  • Refresh your recollection of the core readings (focusing on cases) in the days and hours before their discussion. Feeling left out due to not having seen the material for weeks is not a fun one (if you’re unsure which will be discussed when, contact your Professor).
  • Speak up! It’s not lip service being paid when folks at Oxford say they will challenge you and welcome your challenges. Module One is structured in a way that should get you questioning assumptions, biases, and applicability… our best discussions were the most heated.
  • Finally, say yes to everything! A motto of mine (#personalbias?), we have such limited time together it only makes sense to take the most advantage of it. Each opportunity brings incredible reward, from amazing dinners to city exploration to optional Owl/Lark sessions; take every opportunity to engage and connect with your peers.

Time. Task. Team. Transition: Take Two

Everyone’s expectations and experiences of Module One will be different, and hopefully future cohorts will benefit from the more traditional in-person delivery; until then, it’s not hyperbole to say that this first hybrid one surpassed this author’s and only cemented the decision to enrol in the MMPM programme as being the correct one.

Next up? Manage the 4 T’s as we write our first assignment… no small ‘task’ indeed! 😉

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