The education structure in NTU is quite different from the one we have in NSYSU. In the UK we had one subject at a time. In other words, for four weeks we were working mainly on one module. I think this is a good approach to stay focused on one thing for a period of time to get more deep and continuous insight. However, it would require a lot of self-learning, too.
The first module we had after the induction week was International HRM which we had twice a week 6 hours a day. At first, it sounds overwhelming to sit in one lecture for 6 hours a day. But don’t be discouraged! Actually, it is not that bad as it sounds. The whole lesson is divided into two sections: morning and afternoon. Both morning and afternoon, sections consist of a one-hour lecture and two-hour workshop. And there is an hour break between morning and afternoon sessions. Like in most of the modules all students from the programme attend the lecture together where you might have different professors from time to time from that particular module and then students divided into three-four smaller classes to make workshops more interactive and efficient. The main idea of the workshops in this module was to work in a team, and, in order to make it more realistic like in the professional settings where most of the time you cannot choose people you want to work with, every student was assigned to a particular group where there are no two students from the same university. They also tend to make groups more diverse. I think it makes learning more interesting and exciting.
During workshops, we were working in a group of 4-5 people. Even though I have a lot of experience working in international groups, it was still challenging this time. Well, I guess, it is never really easy because we are all from different backgrounds and cultures, with different beliefs and values, have different circumstances at a different point in time, and have different experiences. And I have never worked in one team with students from Nigeria, Myanmar, Kashmir and India. That was totally new experience for me. And I learned a lot, it helped me to improve my cultural awareness and communication.
In this module, 80% of the grade were based on the group assignment, and only 20% on your individual report. Therefore, it is very important to get along with your team and to start to work together as earlier as possible because everyone has a different schedule, and most of the work would need to be done outside of school hours. During workshops, we worked in groups with case studies using our own experience, and knowledge we received at the lecture. For the final project, we had a consulting project, where we had to analyse the company, find issues (hint, company does not have problems, they have challenges or issues) or gaps, and based on the theories and academic literature provide solutions and suggestions. It is very important to show that every member participates and contributes as you will be evaluated by ability to work well as a team. Your goal will be to persuade the committee that you are the best consulting team to get this job. You will be competing with another team at the formal meeting, and at the same time with the rest of the teams. Remember to be professional.
What this course taught me is it is very important to develop listening skills. You have to be patient and a good listener, not just hear but listen. Communication is the key. This module will also require you to build organisational skills and time management, as you only have less than 4 weeks to learn and accomplish the task. Don’t waste your time on distractions, absorb everything that lectures provide.
As being chosen as a team leader I got also a very valuable lesson for the future. After the assessment, I reflected on what had been done well and what not and what I could do differently as a leader. It is very helpful to avoid mistakes in the future at work. So my suggestion for the future students who will come to the NTU use this time to go out of your comfort zone and try your leadership skills or build them if you have never tried, don’t be afraid to make mistakes now because it is just training before you step in into a real job. Don’t miss this opportunity!