Newest programmes by Robert Kennedy College (RKC) – All you need to know about Bachelor’s in Business Administration

A bachelor’s programme is a stepping stone in the field of specialisation in which one wants to build their career. Bachelor’s degree is a degree awarded by a college or university in the subject of choice upon completion of undergraduate studies.

A bachelor’s degree enables you to gain advanced knowledge of the subject, learn new ideas, enhance employability skills, boost earning potential and provide networking opportunities. Obtaining a bachelor’s is usually the first step towards achieving a higher academic degree like a master’s or doctorate.

 A bachelor’s degree is usually the first step towards achieving a higher academic degree

While a bachelor’s degree can be pursued soon after finishing high school, it has become increasingly common for people to undertake a programme later in life as well.

Traditionally one had to go to a university to study bachelor’s degree. But in the modern context, earning a bachelor’s degree online has become much easier.

RKC has pioneered business and legal education online for over 24 years, allowing thousands of professionals from every continent to achieve new heights in their lives and careers. Today you can benefit from our latest bachelor’s in business administration programmes.

Robert Kennedy College offers the following two bachelors programme in business administration:

  1. Diploma in Business administration
  2. BA (Hons) Business Administration

Diploma in Business Administration

The diploma programme offers fundamental knowledge and understanding of business administration and management. This programme is suitable for someone looking to advance their career in any industry, equipped with advanced business intellect to help improve businesses and their operations.

Five reasons to study Diploma in Business Administration:

  1. The Diploma is delivered in partnership with the University of Cumbria, rated in the top 10 in the UK for developing business leaders and ranks 14th overall in the Top 50 universities for business.
  2. The course can be studied entirely online to graduate in just nine months. 
  3. Enhance your employability with strong problem-solving aptitude, practical business knowledge and skills and applied leadership.
  4. No traditional examination system, but one learns through real-life case studies, essays and assignments.
  5. Gain entry to the next step in your career: study Bachelor’s BA (Hons) in Business Administration.
 The course can be studied entirely online to graduate in just nine months

The programme consists of the following six Level 5 modules. Each module is worth 20 credits:

Organisational Behaviour

Services Marketing

Culture and International Business Systems

Corporate Social Responsibility in Practice

Global Economics 

Operations Management

BA (Hons) in Business Administration

BA (Hons) in Business Administration is a bachelor’s degree programme offered by the University of Cumbria, UK, ranked 8th in the world (Times higher education impact rankings). The programme is provided exclusively to the RKC’s diploma graduates who have gained a solid foundational knowledge of business subjects.

University of Cumbria, UK

The programme is delivered online and can be completed in as little as 12 months.

The bachelor’s programme consists of four modules. The Level 6 modules total 120 credits, including a 40 credits independent business project:

Business Psychology (20 credits)

International Marketing (20 credits)

Global Business (20 credits)

International Human Resource Management (20 credits)

Business Independent Project (40 credits)

Upon successful completion, an internationally recognised British Honours degree is awarded by the University of Cumbria.

 Upon successful completion, an internationally recognised British Honours degree is awarded by the University of Cumbria.

The bachelor’s programme serves as a solid base to launch and spearhead a career in business. Apply online today and become part of a professional network of business students. Chat live on WhatsApp with our education advisors to learn more about the admission procedure, eligibility requirements, fee structure, payment plan and upcoming intakes.

Advance your career with a master’s degree in the modern job market. Here are FIVE reasons you should study for a master’s in 2023!

Today’s job market is highly competitive and challenging. To prove your metal, one has to exhibit why you outshine in the crowd of thousands of job applicants. Higher education has increasingly become necessary for anyone seeking career advancement. And in today’s dynamic environment, just a bachelor’s degree may not suffice to get the top jobs. A master’s degree in your specialization will help expand your knowledge base and experience required to make your next career move or get the promotion.

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The benefit of a master’s degree to you in 2023

Everyone has their reasons to pursue a master’s programme. Here are some popular ones:

1. Shield against recession and job cuts

Once you equip yourself with master’s degree knowledge and skills, you level yourself above the rest of the employees. The employer will choose the employees who are better qualified and experienced should the situation of job cuts arises. One can better their chances of sustaining their jobs and ensure job security by creating value for the company.

One can better their chances of sustaining their jobs and ensure job security by creating value for the company.

2. Building a vast professional network

While studying for a master’s, one of the benefits is that you get to interact with like-minded professionals. One gets to know people from different cultures, intellects, and business acumen from across the world. The connections you make are made from the standpoint of mutual learning and growth, which usually are impossible to make at the workplace due to competition and professional jealousy. These connections last forever. 

3. Potential of earning a higher salary package

Depending on your field – a master’s degree usually means the potential of earning a higher compensation package. Being a master’s degree graduate, you can negotiate your pay package on your terms. Employers recognise the value you bring to the table and are willing to offer compensation dollars ($$) accordingly.

4. Better probability of promotions

Having a master’s degree betters your chances for that promotion at work by raising your bar to the top candidates running in the competition. So, if you are aware of any arising opportunity for promotions at your workplace in 2023, start your application for a master’s degree now.

5. Advanced knowledge

You maybe are the head of the department running the show for the company in sales, finance, supply chain, marketing, commercial law or artificial intelligence. One feels the need for new ideas to run a business efficiently and increase profitability by implementing new/better business processes. Beyond a point, one needs to learn management and leadership skills to be a better manager and effective leader. Such knowledge can be acquired by furthering your horizon with a master’s degree.

I can extend another reason for you to start a master’s programme in 2023 with the special fee promotion. You can now join a master’s programme with a deposit of just 500 CHF. Also, benefit from discounts up to 2,100 CHF. You can connect with our education advisors on WhatsApp for a live chat to learn about the application process for intakes starting in January 2023.

What is your reason for starting a master’s in 2023? Share in the comment section below, and get started with the next steps now!

#DILO (A day in the life of) a RKC’s master’s student

As a former Education advisor, if I had to pick one of the most frequently asked questions by prospective students, it would be “How many hours do I need to study?”  

The vast majority (if not all) of our students are working and leading hectic professional lives. Some are motivated and have already decided to undertake a master’s, while others contemplate the unknowns of an online programme. In my experience, two things affect their decision the most.   

First – finances, and second, being able to strike the perfect work, study, and life balance. While I cannot completely help you with the finances (partially yes – check out the discount offers currently being offered on our online MBA, MSc, and LL.M programmes), I thought what I could do to help was to bring some facts to light about the other unknowns – what does a typical day in the life of an online master’s student look like?  

Today, we’re looking at overview of one of RKC’s student typical day who is taking MBA Learsership and Management, offered in exclusive partnership with York St. John University.

An Introduction  

Which programme did you choose and why?  

I am studying MBA Leadership and Management. I chose it because I am a finance professional but work with the Operations unit which oversees the running of the office. And leadership and Management skills are required be able to manage people.

The Study Plan   

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

The course is conducted online. I mostly study on weekends and sometimes week days in the office when everyone has left. I usually listen to lectures and make my own notes from them. In total, I put in more than 10 hours a week, as I also have to do research and listen to the videos over and over, alongwith reading relevant text books.

 What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

On weekends I would study early mornings and also late evenings. On weekdays, I preferred studying late evenings after work in the office when everyone would leave. I usually stay back for at least 2 hours.

In total, I put in more than 10 hours a week

How much time did you devote for each assignment?  

Quite some time you need to do proper research and also understand your subject matter for you to be able to get a pass mark. So I had to drop out some social commitments and devote more time to my studies.

Travelling and Communication  

Did you travel for work? How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

I am studying online so travelling did not impact me.

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

There was a module that required a group interaction and my fellow students lived in two different time zones. But we were able to agree on a time that we could meet. Time differences did not affect my interaction with my professors as they always responded to me in time and they could be reached whenever need be.

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

A typical day for me starts early at about 5:30am on weekends with me going to our OnlineCampus listening to videos and reading the online materials. On week days it also starts at 5:30am and getting ready for work. I usually work till 6:00pm and after I finish, would study for 2 hours, sometimes more in the office.

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

The best advice I can give to students is

1. Find a time in the day for up to 2 hours that you can concentrate on just your studies

2. Reduce social activities especially if you are working and studying at the same time

3. Try to ask a lot of questions to your professor if you don’t understand the instructions given for an assignment. I had to retake a module because I misunderstood the instruction.

4. Find a fellow student within the course you are doing, with who you can discuss few topics for better understanding.

5. Learn to submit assignment 2-3 days before the deadline. You might get unexpected internet challenge uploading your assignment at the last minute and miss the deadline by few minutes which will make you get a capped mark.

 

Guochang used reading tools, as Acrobat for reading, Zotero for note…

All right, so this was a sneak peek of a typical day in  life as a master’s student. I hope you find it insightful and informative and that it gives you an idea of what to expect when you enrol for our master’s programmes. Watch this space as we have many more interesting insights always! 

Art of overcoming writer’s block – 5 easy ways to conquer the fear of writing assignments 

Have you ever encountered writer’s block? Ever felt evasive when it comes to academic writing? Or procrastinate until the last-minute submission deadline?  

Do not worry. You are not alone. I have encountered writer’s block more often than I thought I would.  

What are the main reasons one feels anxiety about academic writing or writing in general?  

There could be several reasons for fear and anxiety. Here are some of the common causes:  

1. I am not a good writer 

This, hands down is one of the foremost causes of anxiety about writing. Not having confidence or faith in one’s writing skills can have a long-standing effect on a person. Having writer’s block could be misunderstood as the inadequacy of flair of writing. Sometimes we tend to compare ourselves with our fellow students or colleagues who seem very natural and good at writing. One may believe that no matter how much effort and hard work they put in, they can never attain perfection or good scores for the assignment.  

2. Writing is not my cup of tea  

It is expected that one refrain from practising things that we do not excel in or require additional effort. Writing may seem outwardly difficult (maybe impossible) and thus a time-consuming task. It can be challenging to stay motivated when an assigned task seems difficult!  

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3. Language resistance  

You will inadvertently feel uncomfortable writing in English if English isn’t your native language. One may not have adequate vocabulary built to express their ideas and thought processes.  

4. Lack of time  

We are all busy multi-tasking and juggling work, family, and studies simultaneously. There is always stress and fear if you will be able to finish and submit the assignments on time. And the situation could get worse if you are a procrastinator (like me…) who would always run out of time on assignments.  

Do you run out of time on submitting assignments? Photo credit: Canva.com

5. I lack knowledge 

There are high chances that you experience writer’s block if you are not well versed with the topic of the assignment or do not have a clear understanding. You will feel the pressure of necessity of correctness and formality inhibiting. You may seem lost trying to figure out where to start writing, lack original ideas and fear critical judgement if quality work is not delivered.  

While it may seem to be a grave issue, there are simple ways with which one can conquer the fear and anxiety of writing.   

Here are 5 simple ways:  

1. Follow 3 R’s of writing  

For effective writing, the first and foremost step is to follow the 3 R’s – Read, Research, Reread. When submitting assignments, one needs to be a pro on the topic. Knowledge is power. Read as much as you can from different sources. The more you research and read, the easier it will be to present your thoughts and ideas on the assignment topic. Visit various resources to solidify your thoughts before starting.  

2. Mind-mapping  

Once armed with the power of knowledge, practice mind-mapping. Start writing down ideas, create an outline and write bullet points. If you are more of a visual’s person, draw a flowchart of your ideas right from the introduction to the conclusion of the assignment. And then proceed to elaborate your thoughts on each of the points.  

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3. Start early  

Never add another stress point to an existing stress mix. If you feel you run out of time, always give yourself leeway and start well in advance of the assignment submission deadline. This will provide you with more time to read and research and brew your ideas.  

4. Practice makes perfect  

To overcome one’s fear, sometimes the best remedy is to face it head-on. Practice your writing on other subject related ideas and get in the habit of formulating and practising presentations. In due course, you will feel comfortable and develop positive writing experiences.  

5. Just start!  

Turn away from any distractions that are stopping you from accomplishing your goal. Simply start writing, no matter what and get yourself started on writing. When you achieve this first step, congratulate yourself and jump to the next step.  

I hope these easy five ways will help you overcome writer’s block. I know there are many other methods that might work or have worked better for you. Which method did you use?  Share some of the tips in the comments section below. 

The Subtle Art of Saying No

Ever wondered why we tend to say “yes” to people when we really don’t want to? Blame it on human psychology or human beings being social animals. We find it extremely difficult to say no to anyone.  

We adore attention and feel gratified when others admire us, trust and look up to us. But when this takes the form of constant requests and more work for yourself, you detest being the go-to person. People want to say yes because they are afraid, afraid to disappoint others. We feel personally responsible for letting others down if we decline their proposition or their request for help. During these troubled times, with businesses being in jeopardy, everyone is overwhelmed, constantly working, and juggling work and relationships. Everyone is over-extended, and it is not the best soil to grow ideas or make sound business decisions.  

Are you saying a “good yes” or a “bad yes”?

What begins as an intent to help becomes a bad “yes” – simply because you do not have the productive capacity or knowledge to complete the task. Such a “yes” is bound for failure. When there is so much asking around in an organisation and collaborative overload, one should focus on moving to good yesses and good nos to avoid failures.  

How to say No?  

You have decided that you are going to turn down someone’s request to undertake a task. Now comes the even more difficult part: actually saying “no”! How do you effectively communicate your decision?  

Begin with a positive statement by appreciating the opportunity extended your way, that you were considered worthy enough to do justice to the job. But present your “but” in a way that shows you have carefully considered the proposition and convey the “why” of your decision. Let them realise that you did not decide to say no lightly, that the “no” was not because you are lazy, un-zealous to learn, or simply being difficult.  

Saying no can be an onerous process but trust me, it will prove to be more productive for yourself and the business. Base your decision on this checklist:  

1.    Do not let fear decide  

If you fear that saying “no” will stress your work relationship, remember that saying “yes” when you cannot deliver the results will stress you and the relationship even more. If the working relationship turns sour just because you said “no”, then it was never meant to be. Let it go.  

A decision taken under duress leads to stress on oneself and on work relationships

2.    Evaluate the proposition  

I know from personal experience when we are new to an organisation or a job, we are eager to learn because knowledge is power. Gain that power but keeping in view the quality you are gaining. Ask yourself what ‘value addition’ can you get from this task. Ask questions such as why, when, and what is needed for the task. Doing due diligence on someone’s request is respecting them and yourself.  

3.   Remember what you want to be known for  

What may seem like an opportunity to learn for you could become an opportunity for others to learn a thing or two about you. When you say “no”, back it up with legitimate and fair reasons, tell them why the proposition is not worth your time or effort or simply that you do not have that kind of time to invest in this project. You already have enough on your plate. When the other person: your boss, your client, your colleague, hears your side of the story, they will understand your situation, and you will become known for your work ethics and values. You will be known for authenticity and for being a good decision-maker. Everyone will respect your decision when you say “no” the next time because they will know there is a genuine reason behind it, and it’s just not a lack of interest or laziness involved. They will even bring better propositions to you that you will find difficult to turn down. They will try to please you and not the other way round.  

When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results.

4.    Deliver results  

The only consideration that should drive your professional decisions should be results. When you say “yes” to someone’s request, you commit to executing and delivering results. You do not want to be in a position where you realise later that either you cannot, are not allowed to, or should not do so. Do not bite more than you can chew. Do not be hard on yourself thinking that you are being difficult. Convey that you are making a good business decision.  

5.    Provide options  

While it is not easy to say “no” to someone who had high hopes on your saying “yes” and was relying on you for completing the task, remember that people come to you because you are a problem-solver and are resourceful. If you cannot do the job yourself, give them other options on how to complete the job or provide solutions to resolve the issue. It will save your time and help build trust with team members that learnt something valuable when they approached you.   

You can also choose to defer the project instead of completely shutting it down. Offer them a plan where you can join the team at a later stage and be more valuable once the project’s gone past its conception stage.   

6.    Don’t be afraid to say the ‘C’ word  

The majority of the time, bosses try to use influence to get things done. Little do they realise that when they use power, they lose influence.  

Photo credit: Canva.com

Every employer has a budget, and the more he can get done without expending his budget, the better (the lesser the merrier, in this case). This is one of the most frustrating and de-motivating situations when you are asked to deliver more results and but are not “C”ompensated for that extra work. You might say “yes” to the extra load now and then, just to be nice or on the pretext of learning something new, or simply because the boss asked you to do so, but this will eventually burn you out. Be firm to tell the work is simply beyond your pay scale and justifies an extra dollar or two.  

It is a misconception that you must be a “Yes Man” or a “Yes Woman” to be successful and boost your career. Remember Jim Carrey’s movie – Yes Man? The film is a classic story where the protagonist is encouraged and made to promise to answer “Yes!” to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself. After a series of interesting events in his life, he realises that the covenant was merely a starting point to open his mind to other possibilities, not to permanently take away his ability to say no if he needed to.  

So, are you the go-to person at your workplace? Do you always end up saying yes? How do you strategically say no? 

Attribution, to avoid retribution: referencing and citations for academic writing

In my previous blog, I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective abstract for academic papers. Continuing further in the same direction, this week I would like to discuss referencing and citations. As I mentioned earlier, writing an abstract is not rocket science, and neither are referencing and citating.  

Now, referencing is an important academic practice. But it becomes even more important when you are studying at University level. It is thus imperative to understand the correct way to reference and cite your sources in your master’s degree assignments, academic papers, or dissertation. This blog is your one-stop shop about what, how and where, style guides, and examples of referencing and citations.  

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Let’s begin! 

So, first things first, what is the difference between referencing and citations? 

While undertaking your masters’ studies, you will constantly hear from your professors to reference your work and cite the sources of your research and ideas.  

Referencing 

As the name suggests, referencing refers to the source of work that you used in your paper. The readers should be able to find and read for themselves the original source of information that one has read or considered in their academic piece.  

Citations 

Citations, on the other hand, are brief mentions of the author or the external source used in writing the paper. A citation is, in other words, an abbreviated reference. While both inform the reader of the sources of information used, there is a fine difference between a reference and a citation.  Here are some key differences between references and citations: 

Scope  

A reference is a complete record of the source that has been sought or cited in the paper.  

A citation is disclosing the source within the main body and thus is also referred to as an ‘in-text’ citation. It provides just basic information such as the authors’ names, year of publication, and perhaps the page number if a sizeable quote is provided.  

Placement  

References are listed at the end of the document, on a page having its own title (“List of references”, “References”, “Works cited”). 

Citations are presented within the body of the document where we speak of the ideas or results of the source we are citing..  

Format  

References provide the reader with information such as the authors’ names, the publication date, the title (of the book or article), page numbers, publisher and place of publishing, etc. 

A citation provides less information, such as the last names of the authors and the publication year, such that it does not disrupt the reading flow. 

Both references and citations give credit to the authors whose ideas have been discussed in your work, in addition to supporting or criticizing an argument. This is additionally critical to avoid plagiarism in academic writing (topic for another blog!). 

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Different styles of referencing and citating 

Different academic disciplines prefer specific referencing styles. In business programmes (such as the MBAs, MSc’s), you will often be asked to use Harvard or APA styles, whereas in Law programmes (LLM, LLB) you will most often be asked to use Oxford or OSCOLA. You should always check the programme handbooks and assignment briefs, and in doubt, with your instructor what referencing style they expect for the assignment or academic paper you are writing.   

The references should be regrouped on a new page at the end of the paper. This list gives the complete information to identify and locate all sources used in the paper. There should be a corresponding entry in the list of references for all in-text citations that were used. References typically follow an alphabetical order of authors’ last names but under certain styles the order of appearance will rather be used. 

Among the different styles used by different disciplines, here are the 6 most frequently used styles in writing academic papers, each with a very specific purpose they fulfil: 

  1. APA (6th or 7th Edition) 
  1. Harvard 
  1. Oxford (OSCOLA) 
  1. Chicago 
  1. Vancouver  
  1. MHRA  

The style guides specify the kind of information and how it should be displayed for different types of sources (books, articles, websites, images, ebooks, etc.) – ensuring consistency across not only your work, but across the entire field of study that uses that style. 

At first look, these may all seem complicated, and daunting, but there are tools that can help you manage your sources, references, and citations. 

Graphical user interface, application, Word

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For example, Word has a tool called “Citations & Bibliography” which allows you to enter your sources in a database (“Manage Sources”), to insert in-text citations that are automatically updated if needed (“Insert citation”), and to generate your list of references (“Bibliography”) according to the specific style you need (“Style”). 

External tools also exist, such as Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, or CiteThemRight – which have pretty much the same functionalities – managing your references with one of these tools will save you a gigantic among of time and effort, so by all means, pick the one that works best for you and run with it. 

Examples 

I promised you some examples, so here goes: 

Harvard / APA styles 

In-text citation 

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2019), or Saunders et al. (2019), when the author’s names are part of the sentence, or (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2019) or (Saunders et al., 2019) when they are not. 

Reference list entry 

Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for business students. Eighth Edition. New York: Pearson. 

Oxford style (OSCOLA) 

In-text citation 

OSCOLA uses numeric references, with the full reference given in a correspondingly numbered footnote. So, in your text, you would simply put a superscript number by inserting a footnote1 and then the footnote would contain the reference as: 

Mark NK Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019). 

Reference list entry 

Saunders MNK, Lewis P and Thornhill A, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019) 

Note the difference between the footnote reference and reference list entry – in the footnote, you give the author names in “firstname, lastname” format, whereas in the reference list you give it in “lastname, f.” format. 

If this looks complicated, it is! 😊 Which is why I reiterate my advice to use a reference management tool – whichever one works for you. 

Hope this prepares you well for writing your academic paper or assignments.  If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques for referencing and citations.  

7 ways to improve your Critical Thinking

One of the things that I dislike about corporate culture is the many different terms that get thrown around to describe a logical and an otherwise common-sense action. Many managers and companies like to create new terms and abbreviations for actions and rules they have incorporated. However, the thing is, the more popular terms like ‘critical thinking’ are still around for a reason – they work.

The word ‘critical’ might have a negative connotation, and you might wonder – “What is the point of thinking negatively?” But where ‘critical thinking’ actually helps is in understanding all the flaws in an argument or a decision, counter or correct the process, and finally arrive at the stated objective. 

Critical Thinking is: Independent Thinking + Information Analysis = Arriving at a Judgement

What do critical thinkers do?

They think, they question, they do not accept everything at face value, using their ability to reason and to solve problems through logical reasoning. This is why most employers would be keen to employ critical thinkers because they are the catalyst that will propel the company forward. 

So, what can you do to become a more critical thinker? 

Ask questions
  1. Asking questions – Don’t be afraid to question everything, don’t take anything at face value. Ask:
    1. What are you trying to achieve?
    2. How have you arrived at this conclusion or decision?
    3. How would I know what you have told me is accurate? Show me the proof and explain it to me.
    4. What might you have missed out or overlooked?
  2. Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups – One of my majors during graduation was physics, and one of the things I disliked was the proof of every theory started with “Assume…..”, which is why we used the headline of this point as our motto during physics class. But leaving our childish assumptions aside (because who are we to question some of the greatest scientific minds ever), in our mundane lives assuming things will just make an ass out of you and me (ass-u-me). So, question all assumptions. 
  3. Self-reflecting – Critical thinkers must be able to reflect on themselves. Ask yourself if your beliefs are based on logic or emotions. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and analyse your decisions or belief, recognising if you have any bias and if it played a role in your decision-making process.
  4. Listening – When you discuss something with someone, don’t get ahead of yourself and start thinking, but listen to their point of view. Only once you hear and understand their point of view can you have enough data to analyse and evaluate, and offer alternatives if required. 
  5. Understanding the motive – Understanding the motives behind the source of the data you are basing your decisions on is essential because the data will always be skewed towards the source’s beliefs. For example, in the US media, the same story on President Donald Trump or President Joseph Biden will be covered in a completely different way by Fox News and CNN. That is why you have to question what you are being told. 
  6. Researching – Today, we are blessed with endless sources of information, and all of them easily accessible. Do your research taking advantage of all these sources of information and use your critical thinking to arrive at the best decision possible. 
  7. Keep an opened mind – So, you looked at data from multiple sources, applied critical thinking, and arrived at a conclusion. But still, going into a discussion with the assumption that you are right is wrong. As mentioned in point number four, if you assume you are right and are not listening, you will fall into point number two.

Learning to develop your critical thinking skills will go a long way in helping you analyse data and arrive at the best decision possible more often than not. Comment below if you know any other way in which we can develop critical thinking skills, we would love to hear from you!

Analyse data to arrive at decisions

Our online master’s degree management programmes help you become a better leader, and master’s degrees, in general, will help you in developing your critical thinking skill. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our education advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and information on discounts we might offer.

Can Corporate Social Responsibility help in developing society?

Star Trek is the best tv series ever made! That is, at least in my opinion. I have watched almost every single series of Star Trek several times. It makes me happy. You might be wondering why I have started off talking about a tv series, and the answer is that it shows us what humanity can achieve—our unlimited potential as a species.  

Commander Spock and Captain James T. Kirk, played by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, pictured here in Star Trek: The Original Series

But the reality is we are lightyears away from achieving even a fraction of this potential. And I am not just talking about the challenges we faced in 2020 (which doesn’t seem to be improving in 2021). Even before the pandemic, our global society was struggling and teetering on self-destruction. Poverty, global warming, population, crime, natural disasters, fake news, illiteracy, unemployment and untrained labour, and healthcare are just some of the challenges we faced even before COVID-19.   

Society has been struggling with questions such as – how can we ensure healthcare for all? How can we ensure economic development and technological progress that benefits humanity?  

Typically, we would just bump this responsibility onto the government, the United Nations, or to some NGO. And while the lion’s share of the responsibility does rest on them, the fact is, if we need to achieve anything, we all need to work together – citizens, government, companies, NGO’s, everyone.  

United Nations

To simplify things, let’s say our goal is to ensure economic progress and social justice for all while preserving our environment. What is the responsibility of a company in this? Well, companies’ success depends on people – employees and customers. If employees have job security and job satisfaction, they will work hard, be loyal to the company, and invest in its success. Likewise, if people have the money and an understanding of the company and its products and services, they will invest in the company. Therefore for a company to truly succeed, it must contribute towards the development of society as a whole. 

Typically, a company would view corporate social responsibility (CSR) as something they have to do to keep the government happy and maintain a positive brand image. These are just some of the side benefits of an acceptable CSR policy. If properly executed, CSR could be an excellent tool to develop society, benefit all company stakeholders, and contribute to the company’s growth while minimising the impact on the planet.  

How a company implements CSR will depend on several factors such as location, government, industry, etc. The COVID-19 vaccine has just hit the markets worldwide and was developed in record time by several pharmaceutical companies. Consider the pharmaceutical industry as an example to highlight what companies in this sector could consider when developing an effective CSR doctrine.  

Pharmaceutical industry is big business
  • Offering safe and quality medication to as many people as possible. 
  • An effective pricing strategy that can benefit all players involved.  
  • Ongoing support to patients. If the company can show that they are not just interested in the sales of their medication but is also committed to the patients’ recovery and wellbeing, they would have earned the customers trust and loyalty.  
  • Having effective human resources, training, and safety policies that ensure all employees are taken care off. 
  • Compliance to all laws and regulations of the land (both local and global). 
  • Defining ethical business practices (read our previous blog on Business Ethics).  
  • Reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.  

Hence, for a company to have an effective CSR doctrine, they should contribute to being an economically efficient, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable development. While ensuring growth and profits by encouraging innovation, reduce costs, fostering a sense of ownership among all involved in a project.  

An effective and well thought out Corporate Social Responsibility doctrine can spark innovation that will drive your company onto new heights.  

Do you consider CSR to be a driver for positive change in society, a spark of innovation for the company, or do you think CSR is just another thing a company has to do not to be shown in a negative light by its competitors? Comment below, we would love to hear your views! 

Our online master’s degree management programmes help you become a better leader, and CSR is an integral part of it. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our education advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering in these particularly challenging times. 

How to declutter your life and get more organized

It has been on my to-do list since as far as I can remember - to declutter my life and get more organized. While I do get organized occasionally, it does not usually last for long. It is more of an effort than being a habit or a blessing to be born with.  I believe one wins half of their battles, personal or professional, if they are organized. Other attributes, such as better time management, efficiency, etc., are correlated and codependent. 

Better time management and efficiency are co-related

Moreover, this is one of the most common advice our current students and alumni give to the prospective students: to be organized right from the beginning of the master’s programme (please follow our #DILO series for more alumni experience and advice).  

“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.”  

Christina Scalise  

We usually see clutter as a tangible physical item around us. However, clutter exposes a much deeper issue than what you can see with naked eyes. It stems from a mind full of unmade decisions. It may be seemingly small initially: clutter permeates every aspect of your life, affecting your personal and professional lives. One may feel overwhelmed, anxious and defeated even with simple things in life.   

Though it is not an overnight process, and the inherent procrastination will make it even more challenging to achieve, decluttering brings with it a plethora of benefits. It may require a great deal of motivation and inspiration.   

Here are some benefits of decluttering:  

  1. Less is more: Minimalism as a way of life. The fewer things you have, the fewer things you have to worry about.   
  1. Improves focus: With fewer things to manage, you will have improved focus on things that matter the most.   
  1. Save time and energy: While earlier you could be struggling to find time to finish even basic tasks, you will be surprised to have adequate resources to start the book you always wanted to read or hobbies and passions you wanted to pursue.   
Decluttering helps save time and energy
  1. Builds confidence: You will feel more confident when you are in-charge and in-control of your life.   
  1. Better decision making: Once you master the art of decluttering, you will become better with your decisions.   

Now, it is easier to preach than to practice. But I found some easy and effective ways to declutter life and become more organized overall. Here are five ways how:  

You’ll never get organized if you don’t have a vision for your life.

Linda L. Eubanks
  1. Have a vision: It is challenging to plan a journey if you do not know your destination. So, it is essential to set the ground right with an unobstructed vision for your personal and professional goal.   
Have a vision for a personal and professional goal
  1. Start small: Living in a cluttered environment brings a lot of stress and anxiety. Even after gathering all courage and motivation to declutter your life, it might be overwhelming to bring in the new change. Start by taking small steps and get accustomed to the changes.   

“Tidying is the act of confronting yourself.”  

Marie Kondo
  1. Be true to yourself: Everyone has some idea (and if not, they should!) of their strengths and weaknesses. Make a concerted effort to win over your weaknesses (and play to your strengths) and make sure weaknesses do not hinder the achievement of your goal.   
  1. Make a schedule/calendar: Create a daily schedule for yourself and note down your priorities. Cluster similar tasks and optimize them. When you are set in the routine, make weekly and monthly tasks’ schedules and write down everything. The calendar will help you stay focused and enables you to stick to your priorities.   
Create a schedule and set your priorities
  1. Be positive: It is essential to remain positive during the entire process of decluttering. As it is a gradual and ongoing process, do not lose your calm or give up. Stay focused on the benefits you would receive from decluttering.   

How do you declutter your life and become more organized? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Business Ethics – 4 steps to ethical decision making

Cutting corners, that is what we as human beings do. Now, that by itself is not wrong, finding a more comfortable, simpler way to get a job done is smart. But the line that separates ethical behaviour from unethical behaviour is narrow, and if you are not careful in your search for the smartest way to work, you could just end up crossing that line!

Before proceeding with the blog, I would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year 2021!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

What is ethics? 

It is merely the belief of what is right or wrong based on the individuals’ morals/values, which in turn might be dependent on the society or culture to which the individual belongs to. So, what does this mean? Simply put, ethics is very individualistic; what I believe to be right or wrong might be antithetical to what you believe to be right or wrong.

Having said that, as a society of human beings living in the 21st century, we generally have a consensus on what humanity considers ethical and unethical behaviour, as a result of which, laws are created to uphold and protect what we believe is ethical behaviour. Now, some of these laws might differ from region to region; however on the whole, most laws are put in place to protect the innocent and to uphold what society considers ethical.

Laws

Formal laws typically represent a consensus on ethical standards.

For companies and organisations, the laws and standards that are used to judge the ethics of an individual can be extended on a much grander and more detailed scale thus incorporating the ethics of society on a corporate level. So, if a company is known to follow the law, by implication, it is an ethical company. But that need not always be the case.  

Yes, laws can be looked on as a standard for companies to follow; however, they are just a basis for an ethical discussion. Because at the end of the day, the legal ethics will depend on whose eyes they are viewed from. For example, while stealing is considered illegal everywhere and therefore unethical, it is unfortunate and criminal that in some countries child labour is still legal and therefore ethical (at least from their point of view), even though a majority of the nations will consider it unethical (and in my personal opinion, it is).   

Ethical decisions

There are several factors, such as values, morals, culture, etc., that can have an impact on ethical decision making. For example, if you ask a group of individuals a precise and narrow ethical question, you might get as many answers as there are individuals answering the question because each person is influenced by their upbringing and life experiences.

There are also some circumstances when an otherwise unethical behaviour may be looked upon in a favourable light. For example, a town devastated and cut off from aid by a natural disaster might force some desperate people to contemplate unethical actions like breaking in and entering an abandoned home or store to scavenge items and materials required for survival. Is this behaviour ethical or acceptable? Maybe not. But until we are put in a situation like that, who are we to judge?!

The point is when we make a decision, all we can do is to make the best decision we can at that moment.

Ethical decisions in organisations

Most organisations today have a diverse and multicultural workforce. While this is undoubtedly beneficial, there are also a number of challenges to be overcome, especially when aligning decisions with ethics.  Not everyone is going to agree with the ethicality of a decision! Also, you don’t want an organisation where everyone thinks the same – “groupthink”.

So, how do organisations work towards overcoming these challenges? 

  1. Code of conduct/ethics – Organisations need to start a ‘written code of ethics or conduct’. It has to be a written, physical document that is easily accessible, prominently displayed (on notice boards, company intranet, etc.) in the organisation, widely circulated among employees, made a part of induction for new employees, and made a condition for employment. What a code of ethics does is outline what the organisation considers acceptable behaviour, giving a baseline of what is ‘okay’ and what is ‘not okay’. 
  2. Ethics programme – Set up training programmes for employees that will educate them on what the organisation considers ethically acceptable decisions. The best way to learn is by example, so ensure that most of the training is situation-based.  Show examples of decisions made in the past, the challenges the decisions makers faced while deliberating, their logical reasoning, and finally why they arrived at the decision they did. Make it into a case study to get an understanding of what the new employees think and the decisions they would have arrived at in the current work environment.
  3. Ethics hotline – Most organisations do not want unethical behaviour to go undetected for a long period of time. The longer unethical behaviour takes to come to light the greater the damage to the organisation. Most people do not want to be labelled a ‘snitch’; it is a good way to lose the trust of co-workers and get isolated within your organisation. It could also have an effect on your reputation, which will, in turn, have an impact on your promotions and future employment. But for the benefit of the organisation, unethical behaviour needs to be brought to light, and the sooner, the better. Setting up a hotline that guarantees anonymity, and gives protection to the whistleblower against retaliation will encourage reporting against unethical behaviour. However, the organisation also has a responsibility to investigate comprehensively and arrive at an independent conclusion to not only protect against false reporting but to protect all the parties involved.
  4. Leadership by example – We throw the term ‘work culture’ around quite often.   Work culture is corporate behaviour which is set or determined at the top and trickles down to the rest of the organisation, and ethics forms an integral part of this behaviour. Most people in any position of authority usually set an example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, which clearly send the wrong message to their underlings, and this is what usually ends up being the norm that is followed. There are very few leaders that are able to set the right, positive and ethical example because of the temptation to bend ethics in favour of greater profits. Actions speak louder than words and leaders have to set the example at the top for the organisation to follow.

These are just a few guidelines an organisation can follow to develop and encourage ethical decision making. What are the steps followed by your organisation to encourage ethical decisions? Any instances that you know of where companies have cut corners in their search for easy profit, and what were the consequences? Comment below.

Our online master’s degree management programmes help you become a better leader, and business ethics forms an important part of it. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our education advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.