Friday, April 29, 2005

The Structure of the MBA

The MBA in UniSA is structured along Terms or Study period.

As a full time student in Australia I have taken up a two year MBA. A Study period (SP) consists of 11 weeks. So in a year we have 4 SPs. There is a week of holidays between the SP and a 4 week break in the summer. Summer in Australia is Dec-Jan. Remember this is the southern hemisphere.

I need to complete 12 courses during the 8 SP I have in two years. This will mean taking alternatively 2 and 1 courses per each SP. Of course this allows me to have time at my hand.

Most of the MBAs in Australia are geared towards the part-time MBAs where a lot of working students come in. Some of the students here have more than 18 years experience and some are would be CEOs. This means that most of the classes or seminars as they call here are in the evening 6-9 PM.

The seminars or classes are once a week during the 11 week period. All the courses have weekly assignments in terms of a answering a question from a topic and presenting it or providing a critical analysis of a colleagues presentation. Some have case studies.

Interestingly UniSA does not totally subscribe to the Harvard style of teaching where you analyse more than 300 case studies in your MBA program. I am not sure if this is totally right. As I go into the program I can find that out.

My first course here is something called "Contemporary Management Perspectives". CMP is a thinking processes course. It provides a introduction to Systems thinking, Strategy and Quality management. It does not go deep into any of it.

Strategy we would learn in the Strategy course and same with Quality if we take up the Quality elective. However, Systems thinking is one course which does not come back again.

And I believe that it is a major "mental model" to have in your tool bag. As of one the authors, Peter checkland; explains it in his book Systems Thinking, Systems Practice; Systems Thinking is a meta-discipline. It is an approach to understanding the world using whatever other disciplines available at our disposal.

I find it very interesting and very relevant. In a way it does provide me a chance to get into this "elegant" science. More on that later.

Coming back to the MBA structure, I have three options.

1) The General Management Program
2) The Wide Elective Program
3) The Specialization
4)The Australian Business Experience.

The General management program consists of all the 12 courses and 2 electives. The elective program is about 8 courses and 1 from the next three and then electives.

The specialisation is 8 courses and the rest of the units in the respective area of specialisation. The specialisation avaiable are Marketing, entrepreneurship, HR, Finance and the Australian Business Experience. Strangely, there is no Strategy.

My discussion with one of students here resulted in the idea that if we have a few students interested in the Strategy specialization then it can put forward to the board for review. Lets see what can be done and it is sometime away.

The Australian business experience provides a kind of internship with an organization in Australia which may get you a job too.

So I have some 3-4 months to decide on which way I can go.

Any suggestions?


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