‘The big thing for me – and many of my fellow participants on the programme – is the idea of ‘planning to plan’.

Chris Jarvis, IT and Data Protection Manager, YMCA shares his experience of the Developing Management Practice programme at Henley School of business

How did you come to be on the programme?

 ‘My boss is doing his Masters at Henley, so he enquired about programmes, and recommended this one. I looked at the overview online, and to be honest, I thought it might be a bit too ‘bookish’ for me, but actually, nothing could have been further from the truth!’

So what else surprised you about the course? 

‘I remember being pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t alone in the challenges I faced, or in my limited grasp of some of the basic aspects of management. The course is made up of two parts – 3 days plus 2 days – and although it’s brilliantly structured, it’s a really relaxed start. Looking back, I now appreciate how skilled Debora and Denise – the Programme Directors – are at making the group feel comfortable. The content of the programme is superb, and I couldn’t fault the delivery. The visiting speakers were excellent, too.’ 

What do you feel you gained from the programme?

 ‘The infinity change loop exercise stands out for me as being a point at which I really started to think about the impact my role might be having on other people. And I was also struck by the online questionnaire prior to the programme which gave me an assessment of my own strengths and areas for development, reinforced by exercises during the course. These proved to be impressively accurate and consistent! Getting that confirmation of your own strengths gives you great confidence. And knowing what you need to develop gives you a clear focus on self-improvement.’ 

As a result of the programme, what changes have you made at work? 

‘The big thing for me – and many of my fellow participants on the programme – is the idea of ‘planning to plan’. I now routinely diarise preparation time, and it’s really helped me to focus on what’s coming up. I now have a much clearer sense of my priorities, and I am definitely much more productive. I even diarise ‘fermenting time’, when I physically leave my office building and give myself time to look at the bigger picture.’ 

So, in your view, what makes Henley different?

‘Firstly, the Programme Directors. Right from the first hour, you just know that you’re in safe hands; they are so highly skilled, and they make learning a pleasure. And the whole environment, with superb accommodation, enables and enhances the whole experience.’

Finally, what would you say to anyone thinking of going on the DMP Programme?

‘I’d say: “Don’t think – do it!”’

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