Author: Dr. Rodney G. Alsup

MBA Students Can Provide Quality Program Feedback If …

Feedback is the lifeblood of a quality MBA program, the source of which is most often the curriculum’s own students and alumni. As a program improves and its reputation grows, the value of the degree also grows for all degree holders, even for those who graduated years ago. Unfortunately, when MBA students and alumni provide feedback, the quality is lacking, so they do not make as valuable a contribution as they could. Sometimes, quality is lacking because of the timing of the feedback request; or because respondents take too little time to prepare their response; or because respondents fail to recall the details necessary for providing quality feedback. MBA students and alumni can do many things to improve the quality of their feedback. For example, the most important element may be finding ways to improve their recall of events and activities in sufficient detail to be useful for providing feedback.

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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for MBA Students

As 2012 ends, many MBA students will take the time to reflect on the year and their many accomplishments while others will take the opportunity to look forward by establishing goals, which, at this time of year, is usually referred to as 2013’s New Year’s Resolutions. With this thought in mind, I take this opportunity to suggest a few resolutions for the current group of MBA students.

My suggested Resolutions are somewhat simple, and I believe they are easy to keep or to perform at least once. Most relate to things you can do to influence the perceptions others have of you, especially your MBA peers. While the MBA program environment is the focus of my resolutions, adopting and keeping any one of them may go beyond the MBA classroom and have a positive effect on other areas of your professional and personal life.

I recommend that you adopt one, some, or all of the following resolutions sometime during the first 90 days of 2013.

Can MBA Students Benefit From A Non-Attribution Policy?

When talking with others, we sometimes say, “Now don’t tell anyone I said ….” Such statements are a request for non-attribution. The request is just for the case at hand and incorporated easily into the conversation. On the other hand, group settings, such as MBA classrooms, pose a different problem. Can you imagine an MBA classmate during a class discussion prefacing a comment with, “Now, don’t say I said this but my company …?” That situation is unlikely because when a student with valuable real world experiences to share is concerned about attribution, he or she is usually unwilling to participate in an open discussion. Unfortunately, the result is a missed learning opportunity for the class. One way of addressing the concerns of students regarding attribution is for the MBA class or the MBA program to adopt a non-attribution policy.

MBA Students: Bookmark, Share, and Annotate Web Pages with Diigo

Bookmarking, sharing, and annotating web pages found during a productive web search is particularly troublesome for me, and I am sure this is true for many others, especially MBA students. Why? Because search technologies make it so easy to find large quantities of material that may prove useful to a project or search objective. In collaborative work environments, such as MBA programs, search is only one part of the workflow. Making notes and sharing findings is another critical aspect. With this need in mind, I am always looking for tools and techniques to help me manage what I find. One of the tools I discovered and frequently use is Diigo, a browser add-on tool and cloud-based information management service. Having used Diigo for more than two years, I can recommend this tool to MBA students and MBA faculty members. Click on the title to learn more about how Diigo can help MBA student live and work smarter.

MBA Students and Survey Tools

Sometime during their MBA program, MBA students learn the importance of data collection and the role data plays in decision-making. However, they are unlikely to learn much about the logistics of data collection, such as questionnaire design and the use of web-based survey tools. While learning the logistics of data collection may not be part of the curriculum of most MBA programs, it is important because logistical issues can make a significant difference to decision makers and the quality of the decisions they make. One way of learning some of the basics is for MBA students to begin using several of the available tools while they are earning their MBA degree.

Two tools with which I am familiar and use on a regular basis are SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. I use each for survey data collection and for standardizing data collection when manually collecting data from multiple sources, such as websites. Google Forms is free and SurveyMonkey has a reduced-capabilities version that is also free. Even though their names imply otherwise, both tools are useful for data collection when using either a questionnaire or a form.

MBA Student File-Sharing Tools Revisited

MBA students working together with one or more classmates in order to complete an assignment is a norm in most MBA programs. Working together successfully often depends on how well the group shares information. This usually means sharing a document or file of some kind, such as an MS Word document, PowerPoint presentation, PDF file, picture, graphic, or a spreadsheet. While MBA students working together may be the norm for most MBA programs, providing students effective and efficient ways of sharing documents is not. The answer for most MBA programs is to let students find their own solution, which usually means using email and file attachments. Much better solutions are available, many of which are consumer-focused, user friendly, and free.