This semester has been very stressful so far. Many of the deadlines are in the same week and in addition to the projects and essays, we now also have to concentrate on getting our dissertation started.
The dissertation accounts for a big part of the degree so naturally everybody was quite nervous. Will the supervisor like the idea? Will they be nice or strict? How flexible are the deadlines and do they clash with other deadlines from the programme? As you know, I already had my supervisor meeting and now I am working on my first proposal. Although this proposal will probably change several times over the next few months, it is quite a big and important step towards finishing the degree.
Considering that we will be stuck with the overall topic and the research method we choose for the rest of the degree (until September), we have to be 100% interested in what we are doing. I decided to focus on Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) like Yammer and how they facilitate the formation of communities of practice. I am hoping to get access to data from an organisation that is already using Yammer in order to analyse how ESNs are used by different companies to coordinate their activities across their locations.
Many of my friends are currently busy with job interviews and assessment centres. Most graduate schemes already had their application deadlines in December. There are several steps that an applicant has to go through, ranging from simple things like uploading the CV and cover letter, to answering business-specific questions and psychometric tests and of course attending assessment centres and interviews. Preparing for the numerous steps is time-consuming but also fun as some of the schemes want you to be really creative and for example film a video about yourself.
Enough about work – here comes the fun part of studying in a different country. A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to Wales with two friends from the programme. Although the weather forecast was not the best, we were really lucky and enjoyed a sunny walk from Conwy castle to Llandudno beach. The scenery was amazing and we saw some sheep and even mountain goats. They were so close to us at one point that we got a little scared.
I also spent the past weekend in the Lake District. As you might know from my previous posts, I am a passionate climber and member of the Manchester University Mountaineering Club. To celebrate the annual dinner, 40 of us joined the weekend-trip where we went for a hike in the snow and did some climbing (unfortunately not too much due to wet conditions). The highlight however, was the three-course dinner itself, followed by a guest speaker and speech by our president. After the formal part of the dinner was done, a band started playing and we learnt how to dance to Scottish/Irish folk music. The ceilidh was good fun and a nice distraction from the stress and responsibilities that awaited me when I got back to Manchester.