Two Plus Two Doesn’t Always Equal Four

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!

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10 thoughts on “Two Plus Two Doesn’t Always Equal Four

  1. I totally hear you on the concern of working in a group where some non-participating individuals ride the nice grades coattails of the true participants. That being said, I strongly recommend that you go in the direction that most closely aligns with your goals for after you graduate. Your lecturer knows the slackers happen and there is a process. In your working life you will find yourself grouped, perhaps unwilling, with others whose work ethic is a mismatch with your own. It is a fact of life. Look upon the group thing as training for how to manage people. You will need that skill no matter where your path leads you. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is such a positive way of looking at it! I think I need to accept the situation and remember my end goals and try not to get caught up in the negatives! Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Geez. You feel torn and disheartened, don’t make a decision while you feel that way. It is a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of your grade. I’d probably be wary of the group thing but that might just be me and control issues.

    Or, it might be my experience with picking up the slack when others have failed because my reputation depended on a job well done.

    All that aside, this writing tells me that you are so conscientious about all your options, knowing the best possible path with the best possible outcome, that you aren’t going to take any of this lightly. Whether you choose marketing or international business, you are going to do everything to the best of your abilities. Just like this piece of writing …

    Relax and choose. I will pray for you to have peace and success no matter what.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for such a nice comment! I’m going to give myself some time to think about the situation before rushing into any decision! I guess working with people who aren’t as motivated or driven is a part of life and I have to learn how to handle that rather than avoiding it! I hope you have a brilliant day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed this piece of writing, Ben, you are very good with words and you think every possible outlook very carefully. I have no particular advice on which subject you ought to choose, as I am not good at marketing and business myself, but I feel that working in a group is better than working alone while keeping the independent thinking to optimize your work choices. Good luck with whatever you do…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I guess you are right, it might mean I have to be tough on myself and others but working with others can bring many new skills and perspectives to the table!

      Have a good day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely understand how you feel about slaçkers. And you have some pretty wise comments already. So let me just add that the one thing you bring to any job you will have, is the concientiousness and authenticity you already display. There will always be slackers, take the course work that you love, so that enjoyment flows and overides any irritation about slackers. I am sure you will be a success, regardless of where your career takes you. Best of luck, and keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a really nice comment thank you! I was struggling with the situation but I feel like yourself and so many others have been supportive and kind! I think I have made up my mind but I will definitely keep you posted about my final decision! I hope you have a brilliant week, you’re comment has really improved my day! Have a brilliant week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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