Leadership & Organization – First course: DONE!By Linkoping University Aug 19, 2013 12:00PM UTC
My first course, Leadership & Organization is over. And that still feels quite good, even though it was 3 weeks ago! Not that I didn’t like it. No, I really liked it! But I wasn’t used to study that hard. I admit, I’m that kinda guy that study the last week before the exam and still manage to get an OK-grade. So that was a bit new to me: constantly studying for one and half month.
For the first four weeks, we had to read and study a book: On Leadership by J. March and T. Weil, a dozen of scientific articles and a few case studies. Actually, we can say that the course was based on four great novels: Don Quixote, War and Peace, Joan of Arc and Othello. These literatures are also the basis of the book we had to study. So in each novel, dilemmas related to power, the balance between privacy and public duties, the conflict between power and innocence, between diversity and integration, etc. In short: leadership issues.
Per week, we had 4 to 6 hours of lectures (you sit, listen and take notes in a lecture hall where a teacher explains in more detail, a concept mentioned in the literature) and 4 hours of seminar (where the theory is connected to practice within group work). The rest of the time was self-studies. In other words: read and understand by yourself (and then discuss in group, to broaden perspectives). You wonder why learning concepts if there is no exam at the end of the course?
In Sweden, they are not crazy about the concept of ‘learn-everything-the-previous-day-of-the-exam-and-forget-all-of-it-the-day-after”. So the grading system is not based on learning by heart, but on the understanding and the relevance of your critics on the literature. For this first course, we were examined on our active participation in seminars, writing series of minor papers and a final paper (lasting two weeks to write).
Then, every two weeks, I wrote a minor paper. Although it takes a while, I find it much easier and more effective than an exam. Finally in the last two weeks, we had no classes (either lectures or seminars), but we had to write a final paper in pairs, constituting 50% of the final grade. This work was supposed to be inspired by a book of our choice out of a small list.
Given that physical presence is not required to do this work, it allowed me to go on little trips, while continuing to work with my partner (oh thanks Skype and the Internet). Mario and I chose to read “Pour Your Heart Into it” byHoward Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. I have to say, I liked it a lot! In two weeks, we had laid our paper (topic: Can organizations sustain core values and yet be innovative?) We were rather proud of it and we presented to the rest of the class on the last day of this first course.
This course was very well-structured, the teacher (Marie Bengtsson) was really available, talented and passioned. The class was very dynamic and involved throughout her concepts, issues and other discussions. In short, I really liked this course! Even if I don’t like to study to much, it paid off and I got a good grade…is it a sign?
Programme webpage: MSc Business Administration – Strategy and Management in International Organisations at Linköping University