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MGT Consulting Project - Final

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MGT Consulting Project - Final

  1. 1. Management Rebranding Management Consulting Project Client: Dr. Joe Wallis MGT314 - Ms. Linda Mcloughlin By Muhammad Danish Azad - 44334 Ibrahim Foda - 42861 Hassan Ibrahim - 43609 Alaa Jomoa - 42112
  2. 2. 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary.......................................................................................................................................3 Methodology.......................................................................................................................................................4 Findings.................................................................................................................................................................6 Trends/Patterns:........................................................................................................................................6 Causes of problem:....................................................................................................................................7 Culture:........................................................................................................................................................7 Beliefs:.........................................................................................................................................................7 Perception of the marketplace:....................................................................................................7 Recommendations:.........................................................................................................................................8
  3. 3. 3 Executive Summary The management major is a firm foundation for a broad range of future business careers. However, to many, it suffers a lack of attention as opposed to other majors ranging from misconceptions about what it teaches to its intricate value. This report encompasses the attempt to identify the trends regarding the major, the underlying beliefs and perceptions that cause these trends, and some recommendations on how the situation could be dealt with. The report follows a simplified framework based on Heifetz and Linsky’s (2002) adaptive leadership change model to better encompass all the parameters of this project. Thus, the report is broken down into Observation, Interpretation and Intervention. Firstly, the Observation (methodology) stage entailed, interviews with the client, in depth interviews with three focus groups (MGT201 students, management majors, non-management majors), and observing the current situation and trends. During the client interview we identified that the need is to view the management major as a popular major and attract more students. “Getting on the balcony” helps us perceive the roots of the problem, identify players and underlying forces causing the trends. The Interpretation (findings) stage included making multiple causal connections in the observations, analyzing the data, and categorizing it to show how they play into our current situation and shed light onto what could be done to reach the desired state. Interpretation has revealed causes including the culture and values that is projected by the major, beliefs/perception about the nature of the major, and assumptions of the career opportunities it brings.
  4. 4. 4 The Intervention stage talks about recommendations that can be applicable on basis of our understanding of the problem. This also discusses elements of the change intervention process that should be kept in mind to ensure successfully achieving our desired state. Some recommendations include revamping the MGT201 course, which is the first exposure of SBA majors to management to be a more practical approach to help clear misconceptions. Additionally, some initiatives that could be pursued by The Management Initiative are also suggested on basis of our research. Methodology The methods used to gather and analyze information about the management department involved observation as the first stage. Observation was useful to notice student’s interaction with the faculty in the management department. The first leadership capacity required for any change initiative is Observation (getting on the balcony). This stage involved data gathering, talking to all the different stakeholders, noticing trends while keeping in consideration insights provided by Dr. Joe Wallis. Furthermore, as the client requested, we avoided surveys in order to gain more in depth responses that we could use to enhance the management department. Also, as requested, we focused more on the students and their reviews. Our first interview with Dr. Joe Wallis discussed the current situation in management and what is the desired outcome of the management department in the coming years. For instance, a more flexible and friendlier interaction with the students and faculty is what he is aiming for. In addition, he also desires to attract more female students and diverse backgrounds. The current situation described by the client, frames the management as a formalized and generalized major that doesn’t attract
  5. 5. 5 students with limited perceived value. The desired state defined by the client encompasses the new informal spirit of management that inspires leadership, communication, creativity and produces well-rounded individuals. A basic understanding of the current situation easily shows that it is an adaptive problem. This is for the reason that, the problem is difficult to identify, requires change from different angles, and involves changing culture and values, hence, changing the hearts and minds of people. Also, solutions entail testing and usually applying solutions takes a long time. Due to that fact and our client preferences we chose in depth interviews of three main focus groups: MGT 201 students, management, and non-management students. For instance, we were given ten minutes of Prof. Ahmad Al Assadi’s Management 201 class to conduct a group interview discussing the student’s point of view in relation to our project. The drive of the group interview was to collect sufficient and reliable data about their experience of the first management course. Moreover, the purpose of in depth interviews of management students was to learn about they think they are learning, test their awareness about the opportunities available for them in the workplace, and if they feel challenged for being a generalist major. In addition, the interviews with non-management students were for the purpose of learning the perception about management on a college level scale, their point of view about the major, and why it is not a popular choice as opposed to accounting or finance.
  6. 6. 6 Findings After conducting the research and the Observation stage, the results will be used to interpret the change process of the Management department. The Interpretation process will be based on our observation we will try to link them to their causes and their multiple sources, to gain a deeper understanding of the problem so we can be adequately prepared to move on with the appropriate interventions and actions. The student population is not yet aware of the areas which the Management major covers and what job opportunities are available for them in the market. The perceptions students have about the Management major are what discourage them to enroll in the major. Through our close observations and monitoring of student behaviors and student enrollment, we came to notice that the Management department needs to improve its reputation. While conducting our research we saw many trends, patterns, and some beliefs towards Management as a major. Trends/Patterns: 1- Students tend to enroll in more quantitative majors, as they are seen as more valuable and have more job opportunities. 2- Universities tend to build a stronger image for majors which students seem to be more attracted to. 3- Students who enroll in Management majors are often ones who are aiming for an easy major simply to get a degree and join the family business. 4- Reputation of the Management major is falling, due to the misinterpretations of the true essence of Management. 5- All majors evolve, but the Management major is seen as going through a complete transformation. All fields are covered in Management 1- Risk
  7. 7. 7 management, 2- task management, 3- project management, 4- sustainability management, 5- management consulting) 6- Events and campaigns organized in SBA are usually administrated by quantitative majors rather than qualitative majors. Causes of problem: Culture: As noticed during our interviews with some students from SBA, we saw that student's perceptions were affected by how culture, values, and tradition played a role in the major they pursued or chose to enroll in. Some of the cultural perceptions would be: 1- Parents encourage their children to enroll in majors such as: - Finance, - Accounting, - Economics, - Management information systems, and exclude Management from their priority list, 2- Students tend to follow the footsteps of their guardians, rather than pursing what they truly want, 3- Basing major on the value perceived by the culture they are surrounded by, (Management will take you nowhere), 4- Looking at the major as a course, rather than looking at the essence of the major. Beliefs: Through our research and observations of SBA we realized that students have certain beliefs of why they wouldn’t enroll in a Management major and why they would enroll in any other major. Some of these beliefs are 1- Management will take them nowhere in their careers, 2- Management is all about behaviors, traits, and skills; nothing to do with a true career, 3- Management is not a complete major, 4- Management major is seen as boring and theory based, thus not practical for the real world, 5- Enrolling in a qualitative course leads to the destruction of your future career, no benefit seen in qualitative majors. Perception of the marketplace: The marketplace is highly demanding nowadays and students tend to choose the most popular majors which are seen to be the essence of
  8. 8. 8 the marketplace. The perceptions we saw through our interviews were: 1- There is no industry that calls for management majors for example banking for Finance, 2- Finance and Accounting are the majors which pay well in the future, 3- Individuals with quantitative degrees are seen as more valuable, appreciated, and recognized in society, 4- Management majors will find a difficulty finding job opportunities and getting hired. Recommendations: Observation, Interpretation and then comes Intervention. Intervention is where we come in to advice our client on what to do and how to achieve the results, they are looking for. In our case we will be dealing with change, with change comes resistance. This resistance may be caused by habits, cultures, beliefs and many other reasons. The are ways to push change, by creating a problem in the status quo causing the players to believe that change is the best option at that point. While pushing change, you need to create a productive stress level. Having a productive stress level Students demand less theory more practical work Preparation for the real world. Improve overall image and reputation Increase variety of courses offered Perceptions individual students have Limitations in Faculty members Accumulated costs of improvements Concerns with attracting students
  9. 9. 9 is between the limit of tolerance and the threshold of learning. The atmosphere of change will “require requires disturbing people—but at a rate, they can absorb” (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002, p.3). To help change you also need to identify the players, the spectators, victims and the cynics on a matrix of energy and attitude (See Appendix 1-4). We need convert the resistant or passive stakeholders into partners for the change (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002). Our field of play includes all the stakeholders that may affect our adaptive change initiative and the underlying stakeholder behind the primary ones. In our case these stakeholders include professors, deans, heads, the department, students with underlying actors such as parents of students etc. Identifying and understanding all the forces/actors of the process while managing the stressful change environment will help carry on the following recommendations to our desired future goals. The first management course you take on The American University of Sharjah is Management 201. This course either attracts students or repels them. After interviewing students we found that Management 201 was pushing students away and giving them the wrong image about management as major. Unlike the three hundred level courses where it starts to become more practical, management 201 was all theory and memorization, that made students believe that the major is dull and not interesting. After discussing this issue with our client, he agreed that the problem is related to this course, which made us come up with a few recommendations related to this problem.
  10. 10. 10 One is to relate the course with real life firms to help the students relate the material to the course. By doing so, it will show the importance of this major. Another is to provide project work that includes dealing with these firms, by interviewing the company and learning the theory by actual work. This will help the students gain interest in the course and the topic in general. The players in this solution will be the professors and the students. The students will be the most affected because this will be new to them, the professors will have to find a way to implement this change while teaching the material in a different more interesting way. The professors may resist the change and argue that teaching the theory and building bricks of the course. By showing them the results of the new recommendation, it might persuade them to use the technique. Otherwise, the dean will have to add some stress to this issue, either by forcing a new syllabus on all the management professors or create some sort of awareness. The first step that the management department took to solve this issue was creating the major club. They created a club called The Management Initiative. This club hosts events and grabs attention for the major. They took a step forward but they still need to do a lot a work. We recommend that the club give speeches to students by students that are studying in this field and share their experience. Through these speeches, the students (players) will change their perception of the major. Changing the perception of the major is the most important aspect to achieve that will help attract new students. The club should also give some sort of incentives for the students to attend the events they create either by giving out rewards or showing improvements. Another important step they can take is to contact companies and have students visit and actually learn through shadowing senior positions in the
  11. 11. 11 company and watch how management is implemented in real life away from all the books and theory they do in class. The biggest way to grab attention or interest is through the professor, which has the key role in this case. He/ She can create a lecture that students will be interested in or create a lecture that students will fall asleep in and not grasp the information being taught. In this scenario, the best way is to make sure that the professors are interested in the topic. They have to enthusiastic about the course they are teaching and include the students either through class activities. Professors are the main cause of a student liking or disliking a course that is being taught. Through the attitude and through the ways of teaching that can make the course interesting or make the course horrible for the students. The perception of the major in terms of what it prepares one for in the market place is also an area of concern according to our research. Students often tend to find management unfavorable stating that it is generalist major and lacks the competitive functional edge provided by other majors but this is a misguided perception. While management may have a relatively general focus, in the dynamic business world of today this can actually be an advantage not a drawback. Employers are looking to hire well-rounded employees with high adaptability, leadership potential, and teamwork/communication skills thus we more than often find fresh graduates working outside their major’s function because employers often care little for that and more for the 21st century skills (Bissonnette, 2010).
  12. 12. 12 In response to that, it is imperative to communicate this reality to new SBA entrants as part of communicating the value of the major. A recommendation to achieve this feat could be the inclusion of course projects, especially at the 201 level which include students interacting with employers and the outside business world. An experience doing projects in the business world provides exposure to what the market is really looking for in its candidates. Such sort of exposure also targets the misconception of students that management majors do not have jobs in the market/industry that require their specific expertise for e.g. like finance is required for banking industry. Real world exposure needs to be integrated in the management major as means to highlight the significance of the expertise it teaches as well better prepare its students.
  13. 13. 13 References Bissonnette, Z. (2010, November 3). Your college major may not be as important as you think. The Choice - The New York Times. Retrieved from http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/major/ Heifetz, R. A., & Linsky, M. (2002). Leadership on the line staying alive through the dangers of leading. Retrieved from http://www.actmissouri.org/wp- content/uploads/2014/08/Leadership-on-the-Line-Staying-Alive-Through-the- Dangers-of-Leading.pdf
  14. 14. 14 Appendix Appendix 1-1 : Non-Management majors: Appendix 1-2 - Management Major: Student # Howwill MGT helpin Do peoplehave misconceptions Is yourmajor undermined by being Howcouldthe perceptionbe changed? What is your perceptionof MGT after takingsome courses? Haveyou taken MGT courses? What do MGT majorslearn? Is MGT Useful?Student # It can be good general info. MGT 201How to deal with all types of firms. Team workskills. No, general understanding and communication. 1 Not interesting and boring. MGT 201About theories and procedures. No, general knowledge 2 Very interesting and diverse. MGT 201 MGT 360 MGT 301 MGT 303 How to run a business and manage it. Yes, vital fora firm, provides strategies and insight; leading a firm to success 3 Highly diverse and has influence in the marketplace. MGT 201 MGT 360 MGT 406 MGT 301 MGT 302 Study of workplace,HR, strategies, and the environment in firms. Yes, development of skills, not gained in other majors. 4 Less demand than other courses, a lot of fun, but some topics can get boring. MGT 201 MGT 360 MGT 406 MGT 301 How to lead, succeed, and have an influence on followers. Yes, as MGT has many areas in it (ProjectMGT, Risk MGT…) 5 Other majors are more interesting and appealing to students. MGT 201 MGT 360 How to manage a company. No, as MGT has no place in the market. 6 Too much theory and extremely repetitive. MGT 201 MGT 360 MGT 301 How to be an effective manager and influence followers. No, as everything taught in MGT is learnt through experience. 7
  15. 15. 15 yourfuture career? aboutwhat is learntin MGT? considereda generalist major? 1 Will help with joining family business, help run the company. Yes, as they view it as a theory based major with a lot of memorization. Yes, as companies underestimate the abilities of MGT students and prefer other majors. Brining awareness, showing important accomplishments of MGT majors. 2 It is a major which requires a whole brain. Yes, they think it is just easy and based on theories. Yes, as MGT coversmany areas and should be more accepted as a major, By showing the importance of MGT major in the real world. 3 Develops leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking. Yes, they think MGT majors learn about business in general, rather than skills which lead to success. Yes, it is a generalist major, but it makes me a better-rounded individual. Evidencefrom employers that they are looking for MGTmajors and better- rounded leaders. 4 People should be able to know how to manage people and companies Yes No More awareness of the core elements of a MGT major. 5 Manage people better and have the skills required for leading. Yes Yes I don’t know 6 It will help me obtain top-level positions. Yes, they think it is easy. Yes showing off the skills we gain from being a management student 7 It is useful, gaining skills. No essence in the major. Yes Events and MGT clubs Appendix 1-3 - MGT 201 Class: (Dr. Ahmad Al. Assadi)
  16. 16. 16 Student # What is your impressionofMGT as a fieldofstudy beforeMGT 201? Howwill MGT courseshelpyour career? Why wouldn’tyou enroll inMGT asa major? 1 Very crucialmajor Provideme with required tools to understand behaviors. MGT major 2 Focuses on how components of an organization function. Teach how to work in teams and how to deal withpeers. Because financeis more interesting. 3 How to manage a company. Maintaining high efficiency and effectiveness. MGT major 4 Thought it wouldbe an interesting course. Learnt many things related to MGT that I had no idea about. MGT major 5 Very demanding and interesting. Understand managerial situations better. I would take MGT as a major. 6 How all members of a firm are involved. Better perform in workenvironment. Not interested in MGT 7 MGT is a course to help employees and managers Accomplishing organizational goals. Finance is my aim 8 Very interested and excited. How to manage a company. A lot of memorization 9 Taught me the basics of MGT How to deal with and motivate employees. MGT major 10 Easy and not much studying Manage projects and improved teamwork. CAAD student 11 Managing a business and waysof managing Understand managers position better Heavy material 12 Easy commonsense course Help withsteps and procedures Markets require specialists in Finance and other majors 13 General knowledge Help in problem solving Depends on what each individual is passionate about 14 A big bundle of complicated theories Acquire required skills Never crossed my mind 15 Interesting new field Important in all careers CAAD student 16 Less theory Applying different strategies MGT major 17 Interesting field Deal with other co- workers MGT is too much for 4 years
  17. 17. 17 18 Simply owning a company Dealing with different people and how to motivate people More interested in numbers 19 Wasn’t sure How managers should deal with people Other interests 20 Interesting Help withworking with family business I would take MGT as a major Appendix 1-4 – Energy/Attitude Matrix ENERGY A T T I T U D E Spectator Player Victim Cynic - + HIGH LO W

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