Pre-programme prep continued: LBS Sloan Next Steps..

Following on from my written piece on my ‘intended’ preparation work, this article covers the main tasks of note that MUST be completed by a Sloan Fellow prior to starting on the course..

next steps

At this point it is probably a good idea to point out that as I was a British Citizen already living in the U.K when I enrolled onto the Sloan programme, I have not had to go down the U.K visa application process, and therefore I can’t advise on this area. However, if you do need some advice then I will be  more than happy to put you in contact with one of the many fellow Sloan candidates that did go through this process. Contact me via email or LinkedIn and I will be happy to help.

So of the main tasks given by LBS that are needed to be performed other than obtaining a U.K visa, we can break these down into two main groups: 360 degree feedback and traits questionnaire, and pre-course study material.

360 feedback

360 Feedback and traits questionaire

You will receive access to these around November time..

The ‘5 Step Traits’ questionnaire is simply a quick quiz asking how you sit on various items. Your answers to these questions will create a personality profile that you will use to identify any personality areas that you would like to develop while on the Sloan programme, so it is advisable to answer these as honest as possible. Other than having to honestly assess yourself, there is nothing to be concerned of here.

The 360 degree feedback process is a little more involved. You may have already completed a 360 feedback as part of your organisational performance assessment. I hadn’t, and so this was a new experience for me. The crux here is that you are relying on your fellow colleagues and other stakeholders (clients etc.) to fill out a feedback form for you. To add an element of complexity, the feedback is anonymous and so you wont know who has and who hasn’t completed the feedback. You will need a minimum of seven responses in order for the feedback to be valid, and up-to twenty. I would suggest pick as many people as possible, and try and pick people who are more likely to complete the feedback, thus to minimise the risk of you not having enough respondents.

online learning

Pre course learning materials

You will received these around Mid-December, meaning that you will have around three weeks to complete them…

Plagiarism, this course is fairly straight forward, and very useful, it covers how you need to reference researched materials in all of your assignments to ensure that you don’t get disqualified for using other peoples’ work. I fully expect to go back and use this course as reference material (no pun intended) throughout my study year to ensure I stick by the rules. This course doesn’t take long (approx 2 hours) and is very straight forward.

accounts

Accounting, OK so this is also an area where I can’t really give much feedback, this is by far the most time consuming course to complete, but I didn’t actually complete it! This course takes approx 12 to 15 hours to complete, and there is a minimum pass mark that you must achieve. I didn’t take this course, because there is also an option of an accountancy competency test, if you pass this brief  test (approx 30 minutes), then you are done, happy days.

Before moving on, it is worth me saying that I haven’t had much exposure to accounting in my professional life, and I attribute my pass grade to the fact that I had spent the last financial year compiling the accounts for my business, but also from the knowledge gained from the accounting module in the London School of Economics MBA essentials course. So my advice here would be to jump on an online accounting course ahead of time (I’m sure that there are many out there that are free – try Coursera.org if you are stuck). This will likely mean you also pass the aptitude test, and won’t need to take this damned pre-course over Christmas when you are probably spending quality time with your loved ones before you fly to London for a year.

If you already have an accountancy background, well all the better.

Data analysis, this course is not mandatory, but it was quite brief and light so if you have a spare hour or two you may as well go through it. This course is fairly straight forward, and goes through the principles of data collection and statistics, covering the terms used (mean, median. mode, standard deviation etc.) and what they mean (again, no pun intended).

So in summary, nothing to be too worried about here, your main concern will be ensuring you get enough respondents for your 360 degree feedback, and that you pass the Accountancy aptitude test.

Preparation for Programme Initiation..

This is post describes my intended preperation activities and research materials leading up to the start of the LBS Sloan MSc in January 2019.

countdown

With the summer now well and truly gone, I am looking at approximately three months until I start my full time studies. Something that has been on the horizon for seemingly so long is now approaching very quickly. So what do I intend to do in the next three months to best prepare myself?… Below is a brief summary.

Sloan programme ‘next steps’

LBS has laid out several activities to be completed prior to the start of the course, these vary from 360 degree peer assessments to completion of academic study material to ensure all students are up to speed with basic financial accounting  methodology etc. prior to programme start. I cover this in a little more detail in a later blog entry: Review #1: LBS Sloan Next Steps..

 

accounts

Processing my company’s annual accounts

To help me get back into the groove of how a companey balance sheet functions, I have taken the responsibility of book keeping from my accountant for the financial year of 2018. This has proven quite a fruitful (if a little time consuming) exercise.

study

Extra curricular academic study

I will be making use of online learning organisations such as Coursera.org, Getsmarter.com and Udemy.com to improve my knowledge in areas that I feel I could be stronger, or areas where I have a particular interest in working post programme completion. Some of these I have discovered myself, and others have been recommended to me by others who have taken a similar journey to me. Once I have completed each of these courses I will give a brief summary of their content, while offering feedback on how I found each of them.

The courses that I intend to complete (or I have already completed) are thus:

Found on Coursera.org:

  • Managing the Company of the Future. Created by LBS.
  • The Maneger’s Toolkit. Created by Birbeck University of London.
  • Global Energy and Climate Policy. Created by SOAS Universtity of London.
  • Our Energy Future. Created by the University of California San Diego.

I have covered the content of the above courses including my feedback on them in a later blog entry: Review #2: Coursera.org, online management and energy courses

Found on Getsmarter.com:

  • MBA Essentials: Created by LSE.

Found on Udemy.com:

  • An enture MBA in 1 Course: Created by Chris Haroun.

 

reading

Reading literature

I plan to utilise my long commute time (circa 2.5 hours of travelling per day) by reading several books that have have been recommened to me or I have piqued my interest. Once again I intend to give a summary and feedback of these books once I have read them:

the hard thing about hard things

Book 1: The Hard Thing about Hard Things. By Ben Horowitz. This book has been recommended to me by a close friend who is now a VP for finance in a succesful startup company within the Silicon Valley. He has used this book as one of his primary reference guides to help him in his current role. This book is writtened by a seasoned start up guru who has many battle scars from the dot.com bubble aftermath at the turn of the century.

high output management

Book 2: High Output Management. By Andrew Grove. This book was also recommended to my by my close friend as per Book 1 above. This book I am quite excited to read as it has quite a reputation of being a very enjoyable and informative read.

fastforwards

Book 3: Fast / Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future. This book was given to me after attending a open house lecture at LBS earlier in the year. Both the lecture and the book were created by LBS’ deputy Dean; Julian Birkinshaw. The lecture was very fresh and informative, and I am looking forward to finding out what he has to say in this book.

start with why

Book 4: Start With Why. By Simon Sinek. This book is a bit of a widlcard in that I have selected it based on reading many online reviews rather than it be recommened to me by someone I know directly.

holiday2

Holiday!

There is an old English proverb that goes something like: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull lad’.

By the time I reach the first week of December, I will have worked right through the calender year of 2018 without a single week of holiday. I have stolen the odd day here and there, but in order to save enough money to enable completion of my fultime studies in 2019 I have been unable to taske any time off from work. This has certainly left me quite emotionally drained at times, and has enforced me to be self aware enough to not behave irrationally when faced with problems in the work place. These same problems when faced by a well rested and non-fatigued Nick Rubick would probably be minor hurdles both physically and emotionally, have sometimes brought about quite an amplified emotional response from me, quite contrary to how I like to project myself.

I have thus been extra frugal this year to afford to send myself away on holiday for a few weeks before the start of my course. I hope that this will help refresh me and put me in top form ahead of my programme start in January. This gives me something to look forward to as a reward for my hard work leading upto this point in time. However it does give me even leass time to complete all of the activities described above…

Wish Me Luck!