This is going to be a quick, informational post for prospective students wanting to attend either the MSc in International Business (IB), MSc in Strategy and International Business (SIB), or MSc in Entrepreneurship and International Business (EIB) courses at Aston. The focus is going to be the group work you will have the opportunity to partake in during your time as a student. I am limiting my views to these three courses as I am not familiar with the structure of other programs, so I apologise if yours is not included.
When I came to Aston, I assumed I would be have to work in groups as part of my course. Being a MSc program at a diverse university, it only made sense that this would be the case. After studying for two months, I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the emphasis Aston places on group work.
From the very beginning, they make it known that group work will be a central theme of your entire program. It starts with the Professional Development Programme (PDP). This year-long module focuses on helping you develop skills that complement your coursework such as Team Working, Leadership, and Academic Writing. It concludes in Term 3 with either a Study Abroad or Internship experience, or additional courses.
One of the main functions of the PDP is to put you into what is referred to as a Syndicate Group (or Working Group). You start with a certain group in Term 1, and then change groups for Term 2. This switching of groups gives you the opportunity to work with new people, and challenges you to learn how to work in a new situation.
The PDP is your first taste of working with a group of people from all over the world. In my Term 1 group, we have two Germans, one French, a Bruneian, and one from Thailand. As you can see, it is a very diverse group, and something you will need to be ready for when you arrive on campus. I can assure you it will be a valuable learning experience when you attempt to complete a 3,000 word paper while trying to include everyone’s opinions and contributions.
In our compulsory course modules, we stay working within our assigned Syndicate Group from the PDP. However, when you choose your optional modules, you will be placed into different groups specific to that course. For example in my Management of Innovation class, I am working with an entire new set of students, all from differing parts of the world. This is where things get interesting. Each class typically has at least one group assignment, which means you will spend a lot of your time working with your different teams. It’s a challenging task, but I promise it is going to prepare you for the “real world”. The time management and interpersonal/cross-cultural communication skills you develop will transfer perfectly into your career.
If you plan to work in today’s globalised business environment, you are going to need to know how to work alongside individuals from all walks of life. While the group work may seem like a lot at times, it is a vital part of your development as a young professional. And I can say from personal experience that completing a project with a great group of people is a very fun and interesting process.
If you have any other questions about the group work aspect of the course please let me know!
Thanks for reading,