MALIC Graduation 2016 – a great success for RKC, YSJ, and all of you, our students!

17th November 2016 – amazing graduation in York

It’s that time of the year again – graduation time! I’ve set out from Switzerland on Tuesday 15th, eager to meet with our newest graduates and my friends from YSJ. Graduation is really a time of celebration, and you can feel it in the air – everyone is excited.

Somewhat relieved that my ePassport still granted me access to the UK (sorry, could not help it, but I promise this is the first and last #Brexit reference), I rushed towards York and eagerly waited for Wednesday’s ceremony.

As luck would have it, I missed the “unofficial official” photo in the Quad, a tradition for MALIC graduates and the teaching team – I was promised I would be photoshopped in but until that version is produced, here’s the real one!

MALIC Graduates 2016

A few people missing from the photo – but look at those smiles!

Graduation in the Minster cannot really be described – and although video does a better job than just words, it still does not fully allow you to make an idea of the atmosphere, unless you have been there and lived it – in which case, you are working with memory rather than imagination. Here are our brave MALICs on center stage – really really well done guys!

So sorry for those who could not make it this year, and in particular our MALIC programme prize AND dissertation prize winner, Jelly Offereins!

What an occasion! The frames of the Minster, all gowns and hats, in an wonderful mix with the British warm humor. A special thank you to Radu, Irene, George and all the others at MALIC; it has been a journey of hard work, ups-and-downs, a great learning experience, an academic journey and a practical study indeed, so many good tools to use in the daily work. To all of you; thank you for these years! ~ Else

Graduation day was special, many thanks. It has been an interesting journey, and well worth it! ~ Etienne

Looking for the future MALIC graduates!

The MALIC teams on both sides of the channel are extremely excited to be able to accent new applicants again. We would love it for you to have a look around the programme website and see whether you could fit MALIC in your life – you will not regret it. Frank, a MALIC Alumni, recently wrote to a prospective student who wanted to get some first-hand feedback on MALIC:

I can only say that the course is wonderful and what makes it meaningful is that you can apply each course module to the work environment you are currently working in or another of your choice which simply makes the course far more interesting and relevant from the outset. As I said I did not do the course for further advancement in my career as I was already at a senior level within my profession as an election management adviser and considering I am a freelance consultant I was not looking for further advancement. What I can tell you is that this course gives you the skills to look at situations within any work environment with objectivity and clarity and allows you to analyse situations in a much clearer and structured manner. That is not to say that the course participants do not already have these skills only that MALIC fine tunes them and improves them enormously. ~ Frank

What are you waiting for? Applications are open!

Why an Online Master’s in Leading Innovation and Change?

As many of our readers are asking what makes our Online Master’s in Leading Innovation and Change stand out from the rest, I prepared a short video to explain the most important reasons for joining this programme offered in an exclusive partnership between Robert Kennedy College and the York St John University.

If you have any questions about the programme, feel free to get in touch with our educational advisers. You can apply online by clicking here.

MALIC Residency April 2016 in York #malic #malic2016

It seems that every time I write a blog post I am either on a plane, a train, or other means of transport, but somehow this is the best time to write about and reflect upon the recent events. Reflective thinking is important not only for our students, as an invaluable tool for learning, but for everyone really, whether a MALIC student or not.

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Cross-cultural exchanges

At the end of a week charged with exchanges and thoughtful discussion, I am coming to terms with the fact that these 20 brilliant individuals I finally got to meet in the flesh after one or two years of online interactions are now going back their own separate ways, richer in experience, friends, and understanding of what the next stage, the dissertation, requires them to do. We have ended the week in a round-table discussion of their initial thoughts on the dissertation – some have a clear idea already, some are still looking for it. Sure, there are leadership, innovation and change issues everywhere, from government agencies to pharmaceutical commercialisation companies, and although their heart tells them what they’d like to do, we also need them to be pragmatic about it.
The group is a great mixture of geographical locations, from Colombia to New Zealand and Japan, and Zambia to … Glasgow, all in all 15 countries. But above all, an amazing variety of backgrounds, with school directors, health and safety professionals, IT security consultants, creative directors, and healthcare professionals to name just a few. at the risk of repeating myself, just an amazing group.

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Impressions from the MALIC residency

We have used this time together to collect some of their thoughts on the programme, on their experiences both online and on the residency, and we will be posting some of their thoughts as soon as the videos are ready.

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In the meanwhile, catch-up with the atmosphere via Twitter from the students directly – thanks for contributing guys and gals.

Stay tuned for the interviews, and as Erich says, see you in the Minster in 2017!

MALIC: Renewed partnership between YSJU and RKC

Perhaps you have already heard of the York St John MA Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC). One of your business contacts may be a MALIC, or perhaps you are one yourself. There are many MALICs out there – a network of more than 600 professionals who all have one thing in common – they have obtained their degree from York St John University, online. To be more precise, in a blended-learning delivery, with a one week residency in York or Zürich, by virtue of our exclusive partnership with YSJU.

Partnership agreement between YSJ and RKC continues

I am very excited to report that we expect an increase in the number of MALICs: true to their common mission, YSJ and RKC have recently met at the highest level in order to renew their commitment to deliver MALIC at a global level, reaching people all over the world and allowing them to study while continuing their (most often full-time) jobs. Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of York St John University, and David Chesser, Chief Operating Officer, met with Prof David Costa, Dean of Robert Kennedy College, Stefano Costa, CFO, and Prof David Duffill, Deputy Dean, and officially signed the agreement.

YSJ - RKC - MALIC Signing

With graduates in over 100 countries, MALIC is one of the largest global Master programmes, and we are very excited about being able to increase these numbers and thus do our little bit in improving the overall quality of leadership in the work place.

Reflection session

Reflection session during the September 2015 residency in York

Whether it is at one of our York or Zürich residencies, or at graduation in the most impressive York Minster, it is always humbling to meet our students in the flesh – CEOs, senior managers, junior managers, serial entrepreneurs, vice-presidents – and yet they all went back to school, with a deep desire to improve and learn. For that, hat off!

YSJ Graduation Day with RKC students

Why MALIC?

Sometimes I ask my students, when they start their first module, what made them join the programme. For many it was the desire to understand why projects fail, how to be a better leader, how to deal with a difficult boss, or simply because they never had the time to go to school before life took over! And one of the most rewarding experiences is to receive, every now and again, an email that talks about life after MALIC (although sometimes it is also about life during MALIC).
“One of my critical learning points was the MALIC program was instantly transferable and immediately relevant, the course has had a dramatic impact on how I operate within different cultures. My appreciation and awareness of how people respond, react and need empathetic leadership styles in varying cultures has been tremendous.” – Simon
“Besides being a farmer I teach in AICAT (Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training). We bring 700 agricultural students from the Asian countries over for a 10-month, hands-on experience. I teach Agro-economics and Agro-entrepreneurship and from day one of my studies [in MALIC] I began using my newly gained knowledge, such as Schein’s Cultural Understandings and Kotter’s Eight Stages of Leading Change. The best part of the online experience was the interaction with other students. Same books, same articles, same questions but such diverse answers and understandings from fellow students; culture galore on the RKC forums.” – Eyal
 “My study at RKC has deepened my insight into the different antecedents of innovation and successful change that need to be strengthened in my work and working environment. It has boosted my concern for people. It has enabled me to respect others’ perspectives, even seek contrary or novel views and value the contributions people can make no matter what their status in the organisation.” – Pius
Don’t think it is all milk and honey though – studying online is challenging, albeit rewarding. You need strong time management skills and discipline, but with proper support achieving an academic degree while working is doable. You get support from us, as academics, and from our amazing StudentCare team, but we found that, perhaps most importantly, the best support comes from your peers, your colleagues who are experiencing the same challenges and conversations. Eyal and Pius, above, have met at the residency in York after taking a few classes online together, and I’ve never seen a bigger hug than these two big guys shared.

So, one might say we have done well so far – we will strive to do even better, and perhaps, who knows, if you are not a MALIC yourself, the time has come to become one! With a new, modular approach, in which you can build your programme in a module by module approach, there has never been a better time to learn! If you want to learn more about MALIC, have a look at our MALIC website and request a catalogue – our admissions team will also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Graduation in York

Are you ready to write a Masters’ dissertation?

It’s Sunday afternoon, and as I sit on the train taking me to Geneva airport, I run through a mental list of things to do during the week. I am headed to York, and more precisely, to York St John University.
I am not the only one headed there – thirty more individuals, from all corners of the world (South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, UK, Australia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ecuador, Chile, Malaysia, Croatia, UAE, the Netherlands, US, to name just a few) are headed the same way. They are all students in the MA Leadership, Innovation and Change, affectionately known as MALIC, that we at Robert Kennedy College have been running with our partners York St John University so successfully over the past 4 years. One of the RKC students arriving in York this time around is the 600th one to do so since 2011!
Monday morning, 9am – hellos and good mornings all around – recognising some faces from the online profiles – being surprised by others, who are bigger, smaller, younger, older, funnier or more serious than their online personas led me to think.
Monday morning hellos

A week of exchanges and meeting new people

They all have one thing in common though: they are here to learn, and to achieve what for many of them is still a dream for now: a British Master while keeping down their full time jobs in their countries. They are here to work on their dream – the team of lecturers from YSJ are going to take them on a learning journey throughout the week, from the very basic to the very complex issues, with a focus on developing their dissertations. One can see, and sense, a certain anxiety in the air – it is the uneasiness of dealing with the unknown, of not knowing what we do not know. By Friday that will be replaced by a different type of feeling, perhaps expectation and perhaps slight apprehension, for by then they will know more about what they do not know, and realise there is much more to learn still!
Thursday afternoon, 4:30pm – a short debriefing session – the team had shared on Monday their hopes and fears – how many of those have been realised or avoided? …and we are almost through.

Hopes and fears

Hopes and fears

There have been four days of learning, discussions, group work, group fun, and group interaction. Interviews, facilitation, data analysis, coding, socialising and after-hours – these guys (and gals) have spent 4 days that have brought them so much closer than any online experience could. Some speak about that – it feels alone studying online – we want more video conferencing, more interaction – we want more real! Yet they also agree that we have to work within the contraints of what our lives allow us to do while keeping an income and taking care of a family. Perhaps as technology evolves, we will be able to make online education even better – but that is for another day.

Friday morning discussions

Friday morning discussions

Friday morning – we have been building up towards this. Around each table a group of students and a tutor discuss their dissertation ideas, looking for that all elusive “perfect research question”. There is no such thing in reality, and each idea is different. “Our role, both as tutors and peers, is to expose any hidden assumptions and risks that you may not have seen,” I tell them. We keep coming back to our mantra “focus, focus, focus” – “be pragmatic, pick something that is doable, even though you may not be able to save the world” – that too is for another day!
As always, the week has passed by in a haze of ideas, questions, emotions and names and faces that have become more familiar now. I’ll be recognising them as they pass across the stage in the York Minster on graduation day, looking all proud and excited in their graduation gowns. Until then, I have graduation 2015 to look forward to, with 120+ students set to come – how exciting!
Graduation in York

Graduation in York

YSJ’s graduation ceremony must be (and I’m trying to be objective here) one of the most memorable experiences ever – I’ve lived a couple of them so far from the tutors’ “bench” – I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like as a graduate! I may just have to do a degree with YSJ myself just to get that side of the story too!

Graduation in the Minster

Graduation in the Minster

It’s Saturday, and I’m back on the plane towards Geneva, finishing writing up my week’s journal – reflection, as they’ve all been told during this week (and told, and told, and told again), is a crucial part of learning – some have promised to take up the habit of reflecting and journaling – we’ll check on that at graduation. They have come here from all over the world, thirty individuals, and they are leaving York as a group, richer in friends and knowledge and motivation. Are they ready to write a Master’s dissertation? Time will tell, but we are confident they are.
See you at graduation guys!

Master of Leading Innovation and Change Graduations in York Minster, 2013

Graduation 2013 - photo courtesy of York St John University

Graduation 2013 – photo courtesy of York St John University

Fervent readers of this blog will have noticed the relatively long silence from yours truly – no good excuses really, but here I am, back with news from York, where this year’s graduation saw the second batch of the Master of Leading Innovation and Change graduating in the absolutely impressive setting of the York Minster. More than 40 graduates from Robert Kennedy College have attended this year’s graduation, from all over the world, and have been cheered on by hundreds in attendance as their dreams to have a Master’s degree have come true.

Seeing all of you walk on that platform and shaking hands with the Vice Chancellor of York St John University, Professor David Fleming, I was getting goose bumps: such an accomplishment for you, but equally for us, and boy are we proud of you. Let me say that again. We are immensely proud of all of you, and to be honest I am already rubbing my hands in anticipation for next year’s graduation!

Here are some more photos from the graduation ceremony, and I am hoping to be able to post a short clip soon too.

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Congratulations to you all, and we hope to hear of even greater things from you in the future. Hats-off to our new Master of Leading Innovation and Change graduates !

Graduation 2013, hats off! - photo courtesy of York St John University

Graduation 2013, hats off! – photo courtesy of York St John University

 

September 2013 MALIC Residency in York

Almost two weeks have passed, but memories are still fresh!

September 9th, 2013 – a day like any other really, except I got to meet for the first time “in the flesh” 49 extraordinary people, all on the same day, and all in a single room! Granted, the room was not too big, but the energy and excitement as we got to know each other, shaking hands or finally pulling those virtual hugs into the real universe, was unbelievable.

These forty-nine “students”, seasoned managers, board-room veterans, serial or aspiring entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, were representing all five continents (sorry Antarctica, we’re still waiting for your representative!), and a staggering thirty (30!) countries. It is difficult to describe in words, and even more difficult to imagine, the richness of the interaction and the dynamics of such a special group. A biased population, for sure, driven by the desire to grow better.

MALIC Sep 2013 York from Dr.David Costa on Vimeo.

As the week progressed and we delved deeper into matters pertaining to research ethics, and quality of research, we also took great care to nourish and develop social relations, in places traditionally suitable for debate, such as pubs, restaurants and cafés, and to be honest, for me this is almost without exception the most interesting part of such a residency – discovering the people. As big a supporter of online education as I am (being actively involved in it!), the added value of face-to-face interaction, for even the briefest of times, to me is invaluable. And Tim agrees!

Students for students: Tim's advice for the residency from Dr.David Costa on Vimeo.

For more advice from current and past students, visit:

https://blog.college.ch/tag/students4students/

It would not be fair to leave out the exceptional team from our partner York St John University, who have done an amazing job of catering to all our needs, academic or logistic, and have done so with style. George and Irene, Sarah, Leanne and Natalie, thank you!

Dean’s List: Pius Ughakpoteni

Pius Ughakpoteni is both an RKC graduate and a student. He was so happy with his studies in the MALIC programme that he enrolled in the Leadership and Sustainability MBA where he is now. Looking forward, he has been accepted to Middlesex University in London where he will obtain his doctorate. All of his studies come together in his work for the Niger Delta Development Commission where he has worked for several years.

Pius 2Kelly Boler: Tell us about yourself. Background: work, life, family.

Pius Ughakpoteni: I obtained a B.Sc. (Management) from the University of Calabar, Nigeria, in 1991. Thereafter, I went into journalism and had an extremely satisfying career. A providential detour took me to the public service and culminated in a blossoming public relations career.

In 2011 I took a momentous decision to go back to school for a Master’s degree in Leading Innovation and Change, MALIC, without leaving work. I started the MALIC studies at Robert Kennedy College on September 1, 2011.

It was a highly challenging adventure, as I studied alongside carrying out my duties as a member of the management cadre in the Niger Delta Development Commission and running a nuclear family of almost 10, but coming to RKC ignited my longstanding desire to reach the pinnacle of education. Hence, since October 2012, I have been doing an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability, also at RKC, which coursework I should complete by the end of 2013. Moreover, with the MALIC, I have been admitted for a Doctorate degree at Middlesex University, London.

KB: You are an Assistant Director in the Niger Delta Development Commission. What do you do there?
PU: The Niger Delta Development Commission is an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria created to bring about change in the well-endowed but highly beleaguered Niger Delta region, and facilitate its speedy, even and sustainable development. As Assistant Director in the Corporate Affairs Department, I work with the Head, Corporate Affairs, and other colleagues to position NDDC in the minds of its different publics as an organisation that delivers projects and programmes which meet their needs in a cost-effective, timely and transparent manner.

KB: Has your study at RKC helped in your work?
PU: Absolutely! My study at RKC has deepened my insight into the different antecedents of innovation and successful change that need to be strengthened in my work and working environment. It has boosted my concern for people. It has enabled me to respect others’ perspectives, even seek contrary or novel views and value the contributions people can make no matter what their status in the organisation.

KB: What was the best part of your experience doing the online degree?
PU: Beyond the extremely fruitful online and extra-curricular discussions with fellow students, I cherished the very helpful feedback I received from RKC faculty on my various mid-term and final assignments. In addition, memories of the face-to-face meetings with some fellow students as well as RKC and York St John University faculty at the Residency will linger for long.Pius and his family

KB: Describe your favorite local food.
PU: It is starch and banga soup. Starch is a solid, favorite food of mine that is prepared by mixing a solution of cassava starch with a little palm oil and stirring it while over heat until it changes from fluid to solid state. Thereafter it is eaten by skillfully cutting it in lumps which are dipped, one after another, into banga soup. For me, the soup has to be densely populated with pieces of dry fish and cow head.

KB: Are you reading anything right now?
PU: O yes, of course. For a few weeks now I have been reading Dr. David Costa’s The Portable Banker. Today, I also started re-reading Research Methods for Business Students by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill.

KB: Do have any favorite books about innovation that have influenced you?
PU: Well, I have found Managing Innovation and Change: A critical Guide for Organizations by King and Anderson very useful. It is succinct but deep and loaded.

KB: Who are your heroes in the working world?
PU: I admire people who, by sheer determination, dint of hard work, and faith in God, surmount obstacles without being discouraged and work their ways to the top.

KB: What is your motto?
PU: With God in you and you in Him all things are possible, provided you work hard and smart.Pius and wife

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