Reflections On My Personal Experience Of Cooperation With Project Mentor
Question One: Reflection on what l have learnt from the meetings with my project mentor, including the presentation that l gave to the project mentor.
On the first meeting my mentor emphasised the requirement to set achievable research objectives taking into account the word limit of the research report and the timelines for the submission of the RAP to Oxford Brookes University. From this emphasis, l have learnt that in every project whether it is an academic research project or a work related project there is need to set clear, specific, realistic and achievable objectives taking into account factors like the availability of resources, time and the reasons for the project.
The mentor constructively criticize my approach and structure to the research report and from this experience l have learnt to develop a better approach to the research report and l believe l then able to came up with a clearly defined structure that ensure the achievement of my project objectives. We also have a discussion on the sources of information that l intended to use in my research and from this interaction l have learnt that l need to carry out as much primary research as possible to enable me to sufficiently answer my research questions and achieve my project objectives.
On the second meeting the mentor reviewed my draft report, constructively criticize my evaluation and analysis of the information. From this meeting l learnt how to think in a critically way and how develop the ability to evaluate business and accounting information to ensure that l achieve the standard expected by the University Assessment criteria. This helped me to refine my draft report and reflect these key skills in the final report. I also learnt the importance of good time management to ensure that l meet the prescribed submission dates. The mentor reminded me on the need to stick to the planned time and to manage the time wisely.
On the third meeting l delivered my PowerPoint presentation to the mentor. From this meeting l has learnt that in future l need to develop my confidence and presentation skills. I have also learnt how to best summarise a huge report at the same time making sure that the summarised version reflects all the most important information. This is a skill that most strategic managers in the business world look for. I also learnt the need to be use formal business language in the preparation of the PowerPoint presentation. Based on the feedback that l receives from the mentor, l learnt the need to carry some extra work to further refine some areas and the overall research to ensure that all assessment criteria elements have been successfully met.
Question Two: To what extent do you think l have achieved the RAP research objectives you have set.
I think l have managed to achieve my research objective considering the word count limitation of the research report. In order to critically analyse the factors that were motivating employees within JSC, my research was based primarily on the primary data which l managed to gather using data collection techniques like interview and questionnaires for a sample of employees. I believe that these data collection tools effectively provided the relevant information in relation to the factors motivating employees within my organisation of study. I also apply motivational theories like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two factors theory and the goal setting theory to critically evaluate the findings from the interview and the questionnaires so as to gain a deeper understanding of motivation within JSC. I believe that these models effectively assisted me in having a deeper and better understanding of staff motivational factors within JSC after the completion of my research.
However, the information gathering process was very time consuming since the research was mainly based on primary data. The process was also stressful considering the huge amounts of primary data that l was supposed to gather and analyse, the tight time table for the completion of the report and the word count limitation of the research report. If l had adequate time and more words were allowed for the research report l could have come up with a more detailed report on all the factors that are motivating staff within JSC. I think that this limited my scope as l am of the strong belief that had l have more time and resources l could have identified more motivational factors within JSC and even further improve my understanding and analysis of the already identified factors. If I had more time and resources l could have used and applied more motivational theories to analyse and evaluate the results and this could have led to a broader and more comprehensive research report that adequately and sufficiently answers the research questions.
Notwithstanding having several challenges during the research, l was able to gather as much relevant information as possible and to come up with informed conclusions based on facts which provided answers to my research questions leading to the overall achievement of my research objectives. l decided to postpone my ACCA June exams to reduce pressure and focus much on the Research and Analysis Project. I believe that this decision has helped to have more time to concentrate on the research and analysis project and reduce pressure that could have negatively affected me in achieving the overall objectives of the research report.
Overall, l strongly believe that l has managed to answer the research questions and achieve the project objectives since despite having faced a lot of challenges l was able to gather necessary and reasonable information on the factor motivating staff within JSC. I also managed to come up the reasonable conclusions which fully addressed the research questions based on the information that l has gathered.
Question Three: How have you demonstrated your interpersonal and communication skills during the project work.
During the preparation of the research report I demonstrated my communication skills by coming up with a well-structured report written in an appropriate formal style. I tried to use formal language and provide clear explanations during the whole process of report writing. I believe that l managed to come up with a formal report that was well communicated, clear and understandable to the reader.
During the meetings with the mentor l was using non-verbal communication in the form of gestures and body language to clearly express myself. This assisted me in explaining complex ideas and helped me in communicating appropriately with the mentor. To ensure that l gain as much value as possible from the meetings with the mentor, l was actively listening when he was explaining and providing guidance throughout the project. The helped me grasp as much information as possible.
I made sure to show respect to the mentor throughout the whole project to ensure that the research project progresses in an ethical and professional manner. I demonstrated positive attitude by preventing emotions to compromise professional behaviour and allowing constructive criticisms to take place. This helped me to develop my ideas and have a deeper understanding of the facts. It also broaden my knowledge base and forces me to think in a more critical manner. During the meetings with the mentor l made sure to stay on focus by avoiding distractions such as checking my phone and avoiding doing a lot of tasks at the same time. This allowed me to be an effective listener and ensure that l obtain the greatest value from the meetings.
I had never delivered a PowerPoint presentation in the past. I was nervous at the start, but l think l later on regained confidence and delivered a clear, understandable presentation to the mentor. I used the appropriate writing style for the PowerPoint presentation that makes it more understandable and appealing to the readers. Throughout the whole presentation l was using body language and gestures to demonstrates and explain my ideas. This PowerPoint presentation further enhanced my listening skills, as a carefully listened to the mentor’s feedback as he was highlighting areas of the presentation that required further refining and development. However, l realise that there is need for me to continue practicing PowerPoint presentations so as to gain more confidence and further enhance my skills in the area.
I presented most of my findings on the motivational factors within JSC in the form of simple bar graphs and l believe this makes the results easily understandable to the reader and made it possible to trace some trends within the data. I made sure that the questionnaires were clear and understandable to the respondents though limited use of jargon and ambiguous words considering the difference in academic, professional and social backgrounds of the respondents. I also made sure to remain calm, formal and show higher level of respect and integrity when l was conducting the interviews with the JSC senior management. Since the interview were telephonic l tried to speak loudly and clearly to ensure that they could understand and hear me properly.
Question Four: Reflect on how undertaking the RAP helped you in your accountancy studies and/or current employment role
Completing the RAP has enhanced my report writing skills as l was able to gain a lot of confidence and guidance on how to come up with an appropriate formal report. The improvements in this skill will help me at my current job since report writing is a common feature of by job at the workplace. In most of the cases l will be tasked to prepare formal reports by the Chief Accountant and the knowledge that l have gathered from undertaking the RAP will enhance my skills and confidence.
The preparation of the RAP involved extensive typing skills in term of both accuracy and speed. Undertaking this research has helped me to enhance these skills which will be beneficial in improving my efficiency and effectiveness at the workplace when it comes to typing. ACCA is currently undergoing extensive reforms in the delivery of its exams and very soon in Zimbabwe professional level exams will be Computer Based Exams. I am due to take these exams soon. The typing skills that l have acquired in undertaking the RAP will make it easy for me to take these CBE exams and will further improve my chances of success.
One of the RAP Assessment criteria that l seek to achieve during the report writing involves demonstrating my ability to show a higher level of critical thought in my analysis and rigorous approach to the evaluation of information as recommended by the Oxford Brookes information pack on Report writing (Appendix 1 Page 54). The experience that l learn when l was trying to fulfil this assessment criteria will improve my ability to think critically so as to be able to come up with appropriate solutions to work problems. The ACCA professional exams that l am about to commerce also requires a higher degree of critical thinking and the experience that l obtained in the RAP will enhance my chances of success in my ACCA exams.
Undertaking the RAP, at the same time balancing social life and work has thought me a lesson on the importance of managing time wisely and appropriately. This experience has enhanced time management skills. These skills will are very same skills that are important at my current role as we usually work under very tight targets.
The RAP involves formal interactions with a wide range of people within JSC in order to get information relating to staff motivation. It also involves the conducting of formal meetings with the mentor. These experiences have improved my interpersonal and communication skills. These skills are very important at my current job as l interact with both the internal and external stakeholders of the organisation. The experienced will help further enhance my work relationships and enhance my ability to interact with the wider stakeholders in a professional and ethical manner.