Yesterday I returned to university for my mid seminar placement where we had lectures on our options and pathways for final year. I study Business Studies and have the option to finish with a specialisation so my degree would be Business Studies with Marketing etc. I was interested in taking either marketing or international business but after the lectures I feel slightly torn and disheartened.
Both options require group work in groups of 5 however groups are allocated in the international marketing option which worries me. In my first two years of studying I have had a number of problems with group work with people not pulling their weight meaning we have to pick up the slack. I spoke to my lecturer and was honest with how unhappy I was. Final year is worth 70% of my degree so it important that I do well in all my units as it will be the last push before I graduate.
My lecturer tried to assure me that there were processes in place that could eventually remove people from the group who weren’t engaging but I can’t help but feel unconvinced. The timescales of the projects we have to produce are tight and I think by the time these processes have been carried out we would be near the deadline anyway. We also have self and peer assessment but ultimately someone else’s grade does not affect my own. Last year we had people in our groups who barely contributed still come out with a strong 2:1 because the self and peer assessment forms can only influence marks to an extent. If everyone had worked hard we could have ultimately completed the assignment to a higher standard.
This is not to say I haven’t had some great group experiences. Some of the projects I have partaken in as a group have gone really well and I have worked with ambitious and determined students that are ready to work hard. This could happen again in my final year but there is always the risk that I could be put in a group with people who don’t care which worries me when the stakes will be high.
Whilst I want to be positive about going into my final year of education I also need to be realistic and determine what options will give me the best opportunities to succeed. Unfortunately from experience having four people in a group does not always mean four people are actually present and working hard and I’m worried it could make my final year of studies problematic.
We were also told about the final project/dissertation options we could choose and I am currently considering two out of the four. The first is a research project which is like a normal dissertation. If I were to do this I think I would like to do something about women and their opportunities in business or black women in the media and how they are portrayed. However I worry that this steers more towards a HR path as it focuses on diversity. We work on our dissertations for eight months so I think it is important to research a topic I am interested in as they recommend you spend at least four hundred hours on the project but I don’t want to look like I have scattered interests to future employers.
The other option I am considering is a consultancy project. This is group work but you are allowed to choose your groups which I feel a lot more comfortable with. The project involves identifying a problem within a business or institution and creating a proposal on how to resolve or better this issue. The brief is vague but it allows you a lot of freedom of who you choose for your client and what problem you focus on. I think this could be a really good option to take as it allows the group to apply theory to a real life situation and work closely with the client to try and better their situation. I need to find out more information about this project as currently I only have one other student I know who is interested and we need to know whether the workload is manageable in a pair.
In the next few days I will need to weigh up the pros and cons of each unit and see which pathway will suit me better. If you have any advice on how you manage your workload or how you cope with group work it would be greatly appreciated. I would also love to hear your insight on whether you think I should take the marketing or international option.
International may be a good option to take as I would like to travel around the world and find it interesting how cultures can affect how people conduct business. However with marketing it may be easier for people within the marketing industry to recognise my interest in the subject – although with that being said my course focuses on theory and strategy more than creative marketing elements such as social media and advertising campaigns which is what I am most interested in.
I would love to hear your thoughts!