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MBA Feedback

What do I do with it?


MBA assignment feedback is a stressful experience BUT it can also become a rewarding experience. This guide is dealing with how to approach the experience of receiving academic feedback and how to convert it from being a tough and challenging to becoming positive and rewarding.


What is the MBA assignment feedback?

MBA assignments are assessed against a set of benchmarks. These are situated within a marking grid. This document outlines the different types of quality of work that a student can produce and how it corresponds to a specific grade classification. The feedback is a summary of your academic performance against the submitted assignment. The feedback needs to justify the grade you got. The tutor is responsible for presenting the rationale behind your assessment. However, the length of feedback and how positive or constructive it is remains a very different issue. Indeed, this is the issue that generates great concerns as it makes specific assertions about your performance. Some tutors tend to generate jargon about the use of specific terms that you used or did not use. The tone of the feedback can be critical towards you creating the tendency to read every single word said over and over again. No matter how trivial this might sound, giving students feedback is a timely activity that can be burdensome for tutors. This is not an excuse for tutors not offering constructive feedback. However, you need to understand that there are constraints and grading 20, 30, 40, 50 scripts can be tantalizing. The first thing that you concerned of is the grade. Once you see it you do not want to read the rest! Any performance evaluation activity can be traumatizing. Our intention here is to provide you with some serious advice for how to deal with this experience in the best possible way and how to avoid pitfalls.


It is not about who you are really!

Tutors have a short period of time in which to capture their overall reaction about your work. The wording of the feedback is important but you need to understand that it is not representative of who you are and what to do. This can be a painful lesson that can take a long time. Hopefully you will remember it because you happened to read this help guide. Even though MBA tutors make remarks about your performance it is tempting to generalize their comments to you as an individual. Associating every single word with yourself can be threatening to your own self esteem and especially if you have not performed well. The assignment you produced is only one small particle of yourself and it is not the full picture. This is really difficult to understand though when you have spent many hours in producing your assignment. The point we seek to make is that by generalising your feedback to yourself you run the risk of making false assumptions. The majority of students will be in the 50s (lower second) or 60s (upper second) and a smaller number of students will be in the 70s (first class) grade classification. The tendency is to just go with the grade and hope for the best. However, this is a missed opportunity and you need to acknowledge it. Since the feedback you get is not comprehensive you need to identify how it really relates to you. This is the tricky bit. What does it mean that you have not produced ‘a clear and coherent argument’? What does it mean that you have not ‘demonstrated enough evidence of critical thinking’? This can be burdensome jargon. The feedback can become a useful experience only when it is being personalised within your own experience. This practically means that instead of looking at the grade per se you need to ask yourself if you really understand how it applies to your own personal development and performance. This might be the most critical point in your personal development and for converting a missed opportunity into a rewarding experience. But how can it be done? If you are not given enough information you feel that this is all that you have to work with. It is important to identify how the feedback you got can become relevant to your personal experience and unless this happens you need to become creative. If it means talking to your personal tutor then do this. If it means asking the tutor directly and for giving you more information then do this.


Academic feedback and your own personal narrative

We come to the most important element of this help guide. Tutors develop certain impressions about students and through their formal as well as informal engagement with them. You play an important role with how you manage the impressions you create to your tutor prior to submitting an assignment. By engaging with how you understand and develop the topic and presenting your own story to the tutor you are making a big difference to the type of feedback you are going to get. This is often neglected by MBA students. They are considering that the feedback they get is the feedback that only comes from submitting the specific assignment. How this is wrong! Whether you realise it or not tutors develop their own impression about you as a student. By developing your own personal narrative about how you associate with a topic you create an important space for dialogue that will be important for when the tutor evaluates your work. Even if your assignment is being anonymised tutors remember the content of the argument discussed in prior meetings. What does it mean to develop your own personal narrative? It means that you invest in developing some type of association with the tutor and depending on how the subject taught is of interest to you. Even if the subject is not of an immediate interest you can become creative in thinking how it can be of interest. By developing this type of narrative we do not suggest that you become arrogant in your conversations or dominating in your views. Instead, we suggest that your prior interaction with the tutor is somehow situated within the assignment and you make reference to ideas and views discussed with them. This means that you are already providing some type of scene to the tutor so that the feedback that you get can become more personal to you.

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