Certificate in Business Administration: "A student's perspective!"

There I was, minding my own business, when along came an email notification calling for people to sign up for a Certificate of Business Administration (CBA) with the University of Surrey.

“Hmmm, sounds interesting but I’m too old for this, I’m a National Director, I don’t need to do this”, I thought. Seconds later, I told myself, “I’ll do it!”

You might ask, “Why?” Well, it is never too late to learn, and as I am an advocate of continued professional development, and if I expect some of my Award colleagues in Gibraltar to do this as well, then I have to lead by example.

After the initial registration phase, it was time to travel to Guildford to meet tutors and fellow students; arriving there with mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement.

The start of the course, which would for the most part be online, entailed three days of face-to-face presentations, discussions and getting to know the tutors and fellow students. Over the course of the three days, it proved to me that you always learn something. This was certainly the case with information coming at you from the tutors and the other students, each having their own life experiences to share and helping to bring a fresh outlook to your way of thinking.

After the three days in Guildford, we all went our separate ways and shortly after we received the online reading material and the first group assignment. The reading material, supported by video presentations was easy to follow and was conducive to self-learning.

For the assignment, we worked in small groups of three/four, which included working remotely by cloud sharing a draft of the assignment and engaging in a number of video chats. Over a couple of weeks, we dealt with the task, which saw us acting as change consultants to a social entrepreneurship organisation seeking changes to their operating model. Having completed and submitted it, we each then received an individual assignment asking us to consider the learning gained from tackling the group assignment.

We await feedback on our first group assignment but have already received our reading material for the second group assignment.

My verdict on the course so far? Well, I have found it interesting, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable. The assignments place us in the position of being consultants, so this requires that we critically appraise situations, extract meaningful information, review possible options based on the theory we have learned, and then offer recommendations to the organisation. For all this, your own experience helps but the real value comes from working with your fellow group members, each from different parts of the globe and each with their own experience and points of view, to agree on a common recommendation. Much like the Award promotes teamwork and decision making as part of the Adventurous Journey section this is very much the same.

Although we have still some time before we complete the course, I have already learnt new information and found it a great experience; which makes me wholeheartedly recommend the CBA to any Award colleague.

Special thanks to Michael Pizzarello, the National Director of the Award in Gibraltar, for his contribution.