Personal Reflection on Learning (MBA Essay)
Undoubtedly, personal evaluation is important for any learner, especially when acquiring a specific complex of knowledge. Evaluation and reflection on one’s progress in knowledge acquisition helps to assess personal growth and suggests possible ways to improve learning skills or reconsider professional orientation. Therefore, self-reflection plays a pivotal role for any learner. To a great extent, personal refection is essential for students who are planning to obtain a strong leadership position in their future careers; hence, personal reflection plays a crucial role for me. Personal reflection helps evaluate, analyze, and direct learning outcomes; therefore, careful observation of the learning experience and related components of the curriculum should be included in personal reflection. As long as the need for personal reflection is increasingly important, the following paper provides a reflection on my success and challenges in the learning experience as well as fulfillment of my educational expectations.
Key Learning Points
To start with, it is necessary to admit that my key learning points are leadership in various business contexts, innovation, competitive intelligence, and the basic financial literacy. Leadership is the strongest learning point and the most essential organizational factor. The lack of a strong leader in an organization limits its potential in knowledge, technology, services, and other competitive advantages, especially under the pressure of fierce competition. Also, my U.S. Navy background taught me about the profound value of leaders, who are organizational representatives with multiple responsibilities. That is why my choice of leadership in the organizational context is important because I lacked this knowledge during my military service. At present, organizational leadership is still essential for me as it enables me to fulfill my ambitions in business and public initiatives. Innovative leadership is also valuable. Thus, successful performance in the contemporary business environment presupposes the use of technology; the interconnection between leadership skills and innovation is apparent.
Additionally, competitive intelligence is an important learning point. The dynamic environment of the modern business implies a need to collect accurate and timely information regarding target audience, competitors, market trends, etc. Therefore, competitive intelligence planning skills make a significant contribution to professional and personal growth. In addition, the methods of observation and data collection are applicable to various spheres. Eventually, financial literacy has immense importance since successful business performance is impossible without the knowledge of the basic financial concepts. Nevertheless, I consider financial literacy the least critical learning point.
As for concentration, my learning is mainly focused on decision-making, leadership styles, and self-assessment. Decision-making is one of the central responsibilities of a leader, but my military background fostered a different understanding of leadership in that regard. Military service presupposed strict discipline and involves mostly top-down distribution of responsibilities. Therefore, I need to learn other approaches to decision-making from the position of organizational leadership. Hence, I consider leadership and management the most necessary learning dimensions.
Comprehension of a wide array of leadership styles is also useful, as business performance, especially in a non-profit segment, requires deployment of multiple styles of leadership. Self-assessment and self-awareness should not be neglected as well because a leader is supposed to be aware of his/her own standpoints and organizational orientations. This knowledge is valuable for me, and I must admit that I have acquired it to a sufficient extent. As for competitive intelligence, I managed to master this course since the collection of competitive data is increasingly important for business performance in the contemporary world.
Taking into account my Capstone project that is devoted to the proposal of nonprofit business, planning of the competitive data can become one of the central driving forces. Thus, acquisition of this knowledge was also my internal motivation.
Knowledge Relevant for the Future
Taking into account my concentration and rationale for leadership learning, it is necessary to admit that this knowledge will be needed in the future. First of all, executive and innovative leadership is the top priority for my future professional performance. I am strongly convinced that leadership is the key factor for any entrepreneurship. Therefore, the ability to bear multiple responsibilities and guide others in their performance will be much needed in my future entrepreneurial performance. Innovative leadership is closely linked to executive performance and change management because innovation is not always recognized as a benefit for an organization, and the personnel tends to resist it. Furthermore, initiation of innovative processes should be started by the leader. In such a way, remarkable leadership skills can also be useful for innovation. Leadership is an effective managerial tool, and it is much more practical than any other attempts to align an organization with a specific model. Potential for communication, guidance, and decision-making facilitates business performance and company’s development. That is why I consider managerial, executive, and innovative leadership skills as the knowledge that will assist me in the future. Although my knowledge in business strategy planning is limited, my organizational and leadership abilities can facilitate developing any public initiative in the future; hence, I can safely rely on these skills and knowledge.
The Most Valuable MBA Component
Among various components of the MBA program, I found faculty input to be the most valuable for me. First of all, I was looking for a credible source of academic knowledge, and learning material through the faculty input appeared to be the most attainable and feasible way for comprehension. I need specific knowledge in a particular academic field, and the faculty input supplies me with the comprehensive learning material. As a consequence, my entire experience of participation in the MBA program heavily relies on the initial acquisition of the faculty input for obtaining the basic knowledge and guidance through a particular course. Moreover, the faculty input presents clear, explicit, and acquirable information, which is evidently helpful for my learning.
In addition, the learning style demands provision of simple but to-the-point information based on distinct facts rather than descriptions or examples. The faculty input is applicable to my learning style; therefore, I value it more than other components of the MBA program. In addition, the faculty input does not require an independent search for information and learning material and provides all the relevant knowledge, skills, and useful information. Overall, the faculty input meets my expectations about the MBA program and simplifies my learning and work with the other components of the program.
Most Helpful Courses
The courses that contributed to my professional and personal growth to the greatest extent include Leadership and Change Management and Innovation Leadership and Management. As it has already been mentioned, leadership is considered as the most valuable organizational asset, and I am eager to use leadership skills in my future entrepreneurship. The knowledge of leadership is particularly useful for performance in nonprofit businesses, which is the sector largely dependent on deep commitment. Hence, courses in leadership and management helped me to understand the value of organizational leadership and effective ways of its deployment to a real-world practice. Additionally, change management is closely attached to leadership as leaders always initiate organizational changes for optimization and enhancement of performance even though worker are usually reluctant to accept change. The knowledge of fundamental leadership strategies and change models will assist me in responding to potential challenges in the future.
Innovation leadership is similar to change management in multiple ways. Therefore, learning innovation leadership was also valuable for my potential entrepreneurial performance. Nevertheless, innovative leadership is a relatively new branch of organizational leadership, and its contextual understanding influences my initiatives along with consideration of up-to-date trends and involvement of technology. There is a preexisting belief that innovation facilitates business, but little is known about its exact application and methodology. For that reason, I value Innovation Leadership and Management course as a unique source of empirical knowledge.
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MBA Course That Did Not Work
However, not all courses were effective and attainable to an equal extent. Unfortunately, Financial Modeling appeared to be the least useful course for me. I took it to supplement my primary learning directions, but this course proved to be ineffective. I did not find any relation of financial modeling to real-world business governance and confused many terms learned in the course. It is possible to assume that my preexisting skeptic attitude towards financial modeling played a negative role. The course could have facilitated my learning style, but my initial reluctance to study financial literacy was a determining factor of my failure in the course. I have a general understanding of financial concepts; however, I am not sure that this knowledge will be somehow applied to my future business performance. As it has been mentioned before, I did not consider financial knowledge to be essential for entrepreneurship and nonprofit business and thus focused my learning on executive leadership and management. Finance is an extremely narrow field; hence, it did not even fulfill my learning expectations. All in all, Financial Modeling course did not work for me due to its inapplicability to my expectations, my personal prejudices regarding the course, and absence of internal motivation to master the course.
In spite of the fact that the MBA Program is entirely satisfactory, several recommendations still should be offered. First of all, a larger number of case studies and life discussions could be an effective facilitator to learning involvement and theory acquisition. My learning style suggests that precise and straightforward information facilitates comprehension and memorization, but discussion and case analysis will enable students to apply critical thinking as often as possible. The program does not include an independent course for that purpose. Since critical thinking is an interdisciplinary skill, it has to be developed by any professional regardless the chosen occupation. Discussion and case studies, which were insufficient during studying most of the courses, could have contributed much to that aspect.
The second recommendation suggests that the program has to attach innovative culture to various aspects of learning and its outcomes. Leadership in innovation is a purely business-oriented branch, but innovation and technology are far more complex phenomena, and their relation to leadership is not ultimate. That is why the MBA Program should include more cross-disciplinary material in this regard. Innovation and technology are penetrating multiple spheres and should be devoted particular attention in order to foster the culture of innovation in future professionals.
The third recommendation is related to leadership learning. It can be inferred from my experience of acquisition of leadership skills that there is a lack of knowledge in cross-cultural leadership and dealing with cultural diversities. The process of globalization intensifies diversification of organizational workforce, and any leader is supposed to address this issue with a specific complex of strategies that can satisfy the representatives of diverse cultures and enhance their corporate performance.
Personal Key Learning Outcomes
I am particularly interested in leadership, and my persistence in obtaining the related knowledge and skills was surprising even for me. The key discoveries about me as a learner can be described as an extreme willingness to obtain very specific information and skills while neglecting other supplementary courses. As a result, I managed to master courses in leadership and management but failed a course of financial modeling. Consequently, I can assume that my future entrepreneurial (as well as any other) practice will be based on strong executive and empirical leadership, whereas financial modeling will be a specific task of employees trained for that purpose. Practical approach to business and decision-making will comprise my organizational leadership, and my devotion to leadership skills will be observed in my future career, as well. Taking these points into account, I can conclude that I have become a good decision-maker and will work on that quality further in my professional career. Decision-making helped me to gain distinct achievements as a learner, and I am intended to utilize this skill in running a nonprofit business. Overall, my personal key learning outcomes characterize me as a leadership-driven, practical, and decisive practitioner and learner.
All in all, the program has had a considerable impact on my learning and leadership experiences. Primarily, I realized the value of leadership and became strongly motivated to focus on the acquisition of leadership skills and knowledge. My expectations regarding executive and organizational leadership were satisfied as I obtained all necessary knowledge needed for my public and entrepreneurial activity. Hence, the program boosted my personal and professional growth as a leader as well as proved that strong leadership is one of the most valuable organizational assets. Nevertheless, I failed to combine the study of leadership with financial literacy, thus neglecting the latter. This evidence suggests that personal prejudices and underestimation can play a significant role in decision-making. Even though the knowledge of financial modeling might not be needed for my future career, I realize the importance of that aspect in organizational and businesses senses. Eventually, I recognized innovation from new perspectives, so I have a deeper understanding of its importance in business, social processes, economy, etc. This knowledge has already influenced me as I decided to adopt an innovative approach in my Capstone project.
To conclude, the paper has provided a meaningful account of my personal reflection as a learner and potential practitioner. The paper has identified my key learning orientations, which are Leadership and Change Management as well as Innovative Leadership and Management. It has also described my valuation of these courses and established a related rationale based on my background and learning style. It is worth saying that not every course was equally comprehended. In fact, Financial Modeling has been reported not to work for me in comparison with other courses. That can be explained by my preexisting belief that financial knowledge is useless for my future entrepreneurial performance. Also, it should be admitted that the faculty input was the most valuable MBA Program component. Overall, I should say that I managed to acquire the majority of the courses, especially those that are focused on leadership and management skill acquisition.