*Late Week Eight and Nine (Chapter 5 Skill Builder 5-2, Personal SWOT)

Chapter 5 Reflection

Why did we read this?

The main ideas of the chapter were to learn how our traits now reflect the way we see ourselves. There are internal and external factors that affect the way we gain our strengths and weaknesses. I think it was interesting seeing it from a management point. I think the idea of multi-tasking was really interesting because a lot of us think that we can do it. But for the most part, a lot of us cannot, and that shows that sometimes the things we think are good for us can sometimes use improvement. It is a great self-reflection of seeing ourselves in a professional sense.

How do we do this?

We do this by thinking of traits that we find will be good for us. The chapter talks about time management and organizing, and that is important to have. We need to plan ahead, and doing things like SWOT analysis to see what we can change. It is important to focus on the things that will make you a better person, instead of just doing goals to check them off. It is a hard journey to learn about the reality of yourself, but it is needed.


Skill Builder 5-2: The Strategic Planning Process at Your College

Step 1. UMW Mission Statement –  Developing the Mission

  • What it the mission statement of your university/college or school/department?
    • The mission of Mary Washington is to provide a high-quality liberal arts education while creating students who are active in citizenship, have honesty and integrity, and accept diversity. UMW strongly promotes the relationships made between students and faculty and undergraduate research.
  • Is the mission statement easy to remember?
    • The mission statement might change a bit for next year because I know they are modifying if, but overall it is a clear message of what UMW wants. There are not really specifics on how t achieve those things like “diversity” and “citizenship”. It has all the keywords for a good mission statement. It does seem a bit random in the order of what they want in the mission statement, but it includes what is needed.
  • How would you improve the mission statement?
    • I would make it longer. It is one thing to say they want things like “accepting diversity” and wanting honesty. There have been many controversies that have happened on campus that it is hard to see the idea of inclusion being fully implemented. They do want to create a well-rounded student and not just a college graduate. The problem is that a lot of people on campus are able to live in ignorance of the things that minorities have to deal with here. Especially with the issues of white supremacy on campus, it is really scary for some of us. Also, the administration has not been fully open with us until recently. I do believe the president has a lot to deal with, so I hope more administration step forward. Overall, I think the idea of a liberal arts education is good, but that means having an open-minded perspective which is not always obvious on campus.

Step 2. Analyzing the Environment

*Conduct a five-force competitive analysis for myself and UMW

  1. Rivalry among competing sellers in the industry – The main competitors of UMW would have to be the other community colleges and colleges in Virginia. We are not as big as other schools like UVA and Virginia Tech. For the most part, UMW is not known by everyone in Virginia, so the name recognition is not the best. But the quality of the education is better than the number of people at the school. For me, it makes it more competitive because there are other liberal arts colleges in Virginia. So it does take more to be differentiated from other possible candidates for a job I want to apply for. There is high competition, but UMW has been a good rival to get a good education at a good price.
  2. A threat of substitute products and services – This includes all the other small liberal arts education colleges, as well as the big schools with more resources. UMW does have a unique image, so the threat is average. UMW is able to distinguish itself, but there are other models of colleges. For me, there are people who have more experience than me. There are people with more experience and more knowledge than me at this school.
  3. Potential New Entrants – This includes other programs showing up at other schools or community colleges for business schools. There is also the entrant of online schools because of technology becoming such an integral part of our lives. For me, other students who go to trade schools or online schools could be a threat to me getting a job.
  4. Power of Suppliers – The suppliers of organizations that supply money for the school (like Alumni Association) dictates how many people can be accepted and how many places they can change on campus. It also can dictate what departments are seen as more important. UMW is trying to get more loans to fix the facilities on campus, and they doing it with the Fredericksburg government and Alumni Association. Tuitions have been increased each year, and so the power of suppliers is pretty high. For me, what UMW does affects me as a student. It is very limiting on the choices I make as far as prices go.
  5. Power of Buyers – I think the people paying for school do not have much of power at any school really. The tuition keeps increasing, and there will be a big number of people applying to this college. I do think that there is a power in buying the housing and meal plans, but besides that everything seems pretty fixed. People want to get a college education, so people just have to do it.

Personal SWOT

Strengths

  • Passionate – I like to find passion in the things that I do. I put my heart and soul into the things I want to do.
  • Great Listener – I am attentive to others, and I make sure that the feelings are mutual. I make sure other people feel validated, and I can sense when someone just wants to be listened to.
  • Open-minded – I feel I have put myself out of my comfort zone to hear about the different perspectives of people around me. I think diversity is such an important part of society, so I feel it is a responsibility to learn more about the world around me.

Reflection: Overall, I think I have the strengths to try to be a good person. I feel like these skills are not necessarily something that can be measured, but it is important to be a balanced person. I know in the business world I need to have a confident persona, but I also need to show the teamwork skills needed to be in a company. I think these skills are what I would want from fellow employees, so I need to give off the same skills.

Weaknesses

  • Indecisive – I am not a quick thinker. Sometimes I think about what the other person would react too much, that I end up not being able to make a decision for me. I end up just being indecisive about simple choices.
  • Non-confrontational – For my RA job I usually mediate conflicts from a third party perspective. As far as a conflict that includes me I am not good at approaching. I always end of thinking of the other person, instead of thinking about myself. I try to soften the blow of what I am trying to say, and that could be a perception that I am weak.
  • Consistency – When I get really passionate about something I put all my

Reflection: I feel like I need more hard skills to learn like negotiating and conflict mediation. As women, we have to try to balance being a great strong women boss, but we also have to act modestly and not look arrogant when we are doing it. It is hard for me to take compliments, and I consistently say sorry all the time. My kindness may come off as a weakness. I need to learn more about my worth, and soon be able to

Opportunities

  • Identity – I feel due to being children of immigrants and being a woman of color I do have a unique perspective that I can bring to the business world. I eventually want to run for office, so I feel I can be a voice for the voiceless. I have the opportunity to pursue that.
  • Pursuing a College Education – It is really important to get a college degree in order to usually get a good paying job. I am able to even have the opportunity to go to a college and get an education. I am put in a fortunate situation to be able to be in America to pursue what I want to do. This allows me to get a comfortable job and a better chance at a job.
  • Meeting New People and Perspectives – I want to get into politics eventually, and I am able to meet all kinds of people at UMW. I think it is important to learn how to work and talk with different people because that will help me in the future. Also, people can possibly be constituents if I run!

Reflection: College is not only a time to pursue an education, but it also allows me to make new connections with different kinds of people. It helps with people skills and working together with people in teams. I do think it is important to make sure you are aware of the opportunities that are there when being in college. I also get to just experience what college is like, which is a privilege in it of itself. I need to make sure I remember that because soon I will be graduating.

Threats

  • Lack of Connections – I do not have outside connections for jobs in business because I am a second generation American. Other people in the business school here have those connections.
  • Intimidation – I do get easily intimidated, and in the business world you need to hold your ground. I do see it as a threat, especially when I try to go into the workforce. I am very easy to not feel qualified, so I need to hold my ground.
  • Competition – The competition nowadays is so tight. I think it will be very difficult to find a job off the bat. I need to work on my qualifications, so I need to practice competing against people.

Reflection: I realized a lot of students who are in the business school have personal and internship connections that they have a backup plan if things do not work out. I am a second generation American in my family, and so I do not have those resources. I do not necessarily have those family connections to get a job in a company. I also want to be politician one day, and I do think my identities are an obstacle for me. In my Women and Politics class, I have learned that women of color are represented in 7% of government officials. I do feel that I have to prove myself to a different degree than some of my classmates. I feel intimidated, so I need to be more confident in what I know. I need to be able to picture myself as a leader because I can do it.

Why did we do this Personal SWOT?

We did this activity for self-reflection on how we see ourselves in a professional sense. These are things we need to think about when we interview. It is important to list them out and to find the right wording of our answers. I also feel that at different times of our lives our strengths and weaknesses will change. That is why it is important to self-reflect. It is good to know what we need to work on, so we can improve how we are. We are always changing, so we need to change for the better.

How do we do this?

We need to make lists like this every once in awhile. so we can create goals. We can also see our progress of how we improved in the different areas of ourselves. SWOT analysis creates a pather that will be tailored for us.


*Determine the competitive advantage of your university/ college or school/ department.

The competitive advantage of our school is that we are a liberal arts education that is good for the price of college compared to other schools. I think it is important to note that UMW wants to show a well-rounded person with skills that can be used in all professions. The school also has a very quirky personality in the fact that it has a different vibe than other schools, and that is what the college thrives off.

The competitive advantage for me is that I am able to see the world in my own way because of my identities, and that allows me to be open to all opportunities. I think I have tried to be open-minded, and so I can figure out different situations with different people. I am able to differentiate myself because of the help of UMW giving a liberal arts education.


Step 3. Setting Objectives

What some goals and objectives of your university/college or school/department?

  • UMW goals: I think these are important, and this serves as a good basis on what the environment should be for the campus. It also seems good to be a basis for how the individual student should be to represent UMW well.
    • Integrity – The importance of personal integrity is reinforced by our honor code.
    • Dignity and respect for all individuals, always
    • Diversity in our community
    • Intellectual inquiry in the pursuit of truth
    • Responsibility and leadership to help create the environment we strive to achieve.
  • Myself goals:
    • Diversity – I do believe in learning more about people, and also learning more about what kind of jobs are out there. I might even want to venture out and do my own business.
    • Finish a Project all the way through – I need to have the goal of finishing what I started. I like thinking of ideas, but I am not good at managing finishing things until the last minute. I need to be hard-working throughout the whole project.
    • Personal Integrity – Something that I value is trying to do the right thing when it needs to be done. I like to have good things done to me, so I need to put that same energy into my environment. I think it is important to uphold the values I have.

Step 4. Developing Strategies

Identify your university/ college’s or school/department’s grand, adaptive, and competitive strategies.

  • For UMW:
    • Through a professionally-engaged faculty, we support ongoing research appropriate to the development of student abilities and faculty interests. We especially champion the participation of undergraduates in research.
    • Our size, enthusiastic and dedicated faculty, and historical commitment to fine teaching foster a culture where both undergraduate and graduate students benefit from genuine relationships with their faculty and multiple opportunities for active learning.
    • We fulfill our mission by fostering students’ intellectual and creative independence, facilitating their immersion in local, regional, national, and international communities, and by instilling the values of honor and integrity. Our graduates are models of adaptive learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, caring service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society
  • For Myself: I will try to be better at having the more concrete skills of competing and putting myself under pressure. I plan to apply for internships and do things outside of the classroom. I plan to use the skills I get from being an RA to help in the people skills department. It is all about connections in the business world.

Where would you place your program/ major on the BCG growth-share matrix?

I think my major in Business Administration is the Cash Cows. A lot of people go to business school to make a good income, and it helps ensure a better job. I think my American Studies major is the questions mark one. A lot of people do not know American Studies, so there is a lot left up in the air of what I can do with it. It covers a big range of areas, so the question is what. I concentrate on politics, so I can try to find something through there.

Image result for bcg growth share matrix


Step 5. Implementing and Controlling

How would you rate your university strategic planning?

  • UMW: I think they are trying, but there seems to be a dissonance between administration and students. Both parties want the same thing, but the people help pay or the school is not learning about all the things that should be discussed. For example, there are confusions of students about what goes into tuition raises to what the school is doing for our safety given recent events. There is a task force for many areas of school interest, so I think they are off to a good start.
  • Myself: I think that I am in the right direction. In order to feel more qualified and more control of my life, I need to plan accordingly and put myself in situations that I am not used to. I need to gain the experience to be good in the business and political world. I think that planning ahead for these things will help me in the long run.

How could it be improved?

  • UMW: I think UMW can include students and alumni in the process of what is going to happen on campus, and see if the students think it will be a good fit. For example, there are changes in the residential living department that were changed and most of the students did not see it productive. We can have a better connection with how the school works.
  • Myself: I do need to keep myself accountable, so I need to have concrete goals I can follow to achieve my goals. I can also write more of my resutls, so I can see a progression of how I am doing.

Apply it. 

What did I learn from this experience? How will I use this knowledge in the future?

This exercise was seen to help us apply to a strategic planning process to my college. It is important to know how schools work, and since I go to this school I need to know in what kind of environment I am putting myself into. I went to UMW’s Destination Day to speak on behalf of the school, and it was important to note that the freshmen were asking if I liked this school. In order to answer that question, I need to know the mission statement of the school. It is not just there to be an official writing of the school, and it should not just be something we brush off. Since we are a part of the school each person needs to show those qualities at the school also. We end up representing the school in that way.  It is important to do this article because we need to know what we are a part of, and we need to be able to put the mission statement into place.

How did we do this?

Along with doing this activity of SWOT, I need to be more informed of the issues at our school. I like reading the newspapers, but it would be cool to the different leadership organizations at this school. There have been some controversies happening at our school, so it is my responsibility to learn about these issues. I need to essentially “Walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”.

 

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