Personal Transformations

Module description

This module aims to kick start your personal transformation process and help you prepare for your career and personal development by integrating practice into the MBA curriculum, promoting critical reflective skills as well as leadership and executive and professional skills.

Internationalisation: All topics are explored in a global context to reflect the variety of countries and cultures in which you may wish to pursue your career.  

Employability: You will develop a number of valuable transferable skills, including: self-awareness, cultural awareness, influencing, communication, networking (in person and via social media), negotiating, leadership, and the capacity for personal reflection on personal skills, competencies and experience.  You will also develop a number of career management skills which will enable you to make informed career choices and help you succeed in securing your next job.

External Engagement: Workshops are delivered by a wide range of practitioners and recruiting managers

Research in Teaching:  The module builds on recent research and scholarship in the field of Leadership, in particular Authentic Leadership Development and Situational Leadership Models.

Full module specification

Module title:Personal Transformations
Module code:MBAM943
Module level:M
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Alexandra Gerbasi - Lecturer
Module credit:10
ECTS value:


Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:

4 days

Duration (weeks) - term 2:

2 days

Duration (weeks) - term 3:

2 days

Module aims

Through an emphasis on experiential learning the module aims to equip you with the leadership, executive and professional skills you will require in order to redirect your career and/or develop into more senior leadership roles.  To support you in your personal transformation process you will be guided by your personal tutor and the MBA Career Adviser through one-to-one career coaching, career development workshops and seminars, mentoring and personal tutoring.

Through reflective experiential learning, you will embark on a journey of discovery, self-awareness and personal development. For inspiration, guidance and support a series of leadership lectures, seminars, workshops and facilitated group sessions will be offered.

The aim of the module is to enable you to

  • Acquire and refine key interpersonal and study skills to facilitate the return to study
  • Develop yourself, personally and professionally to facilitate your career development
  • Refine key executive and professional skills
  • Acquire and practice leadership skills
  • Make use of extensive career resources specially developed for MBA participants
  • Integrate feedback while applying for jobs
  • Develop self-reflection ability on personal, competencies and experience


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. articulate and evaluate a range of theories and perspectives on leadership and leadership development
  • 2. critically evaluate the potential impact of these theories and perspectives on leadership practice
  • 3. demonstrate a capacity for practical leadership
  • 4. derive lessons from the exchange experience that you will be able to implement in your own organisation by way of modelling new behaviours and demonstrating new thinking to others
  • 5. be able to undertake research within organisations as an observer or participant observer
  • 6. reflect upon personal resources and challenges
  • 7. acquire, refine and demonstrate evidence of study, interpersonal and professional skills
  • 8. act proactively and take responsibility for your own career and professional development, establishing good habits and practices for the future, as well as accessing effective techniques during your MBA
  • 9. further integrate the academic content of the programme with your and others’ work experience

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 10. engage in critical reflection and debate on one’s own leadership practice in the light of new conceptual and practical insights
  • 11. have gained a deeper understanding of the process of leadership in your own and your partner's organisation
  • 12. have developed greater insight into your own situated subjectivity and leadership style/practice
  • 13. have identified learning and leadership development needs and planned future actions
  • 14. develop the ability to practice reflection
  • 15. enhance the ability to learn from experience

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 16. undertake observation and give feedback
  • 17. apply inductive and deductive reasoning based on observational data
  • 18. give and receive feedback
  • 19. manage yourself in the achievement of goals – reviewing own learning
  • 20. use reflective process to ask questions and open up own thinking
  • 21. critically appraise your own actions through self-awareness
  • 22. reflect on your personal strengths and weaknesses, and integrate insights generated by self-assessment tools in your career development process

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching42Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Personal reflection and one to one development
Scheduled Learning and Teaching14Exchange visit 2 x 7 hrs
Guided Independent Study40Reading, Research, Writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short reflective essay to serve as a starting point to the personal transformation process: 'why an MBA and why now?'750 words6, 8, 19, 20Written feedback from academic tutor
Observation log from the Leadership Exchange500 words10, 11, 12Notes from Tutor
Career leader and oral discussion with MBA career advisorEnd of September in year 18,18-21Oral discussion with MBA Career Adviser leading to the a personal and professional development plan

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exploring Leadership essay (individual)502500 words1-3, 6, 13, 19written feedback from academic tutor
Leadership Exchange Essay 502500 words4, 5, 6, 10-12, 15-17written feedback from academic tutor

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Exploring Leadership essay (individual)Individual essay 2500 words1-3, 6, 13, 196 weeks after briefing
Leadership Exchange Essay Assignment 2500 words4, 5, 6, 10-12, 15-176 weeks after briefing

Syllabus plan

This module is delivered throughout the duration of your MBA programme


  • Kickstarting your personal transformation
    • Career planning
    • Self and career option analysis
    • Job search
    • Personal and professional development plan
    • Networking, locally and globally
    • Self presentation: LinkedIn and CV
    • Powerful applications: cover letters, application forms, assessment centres
    • Career coaching


  • Executive and Professional Skills
    • Effective communication skills
    • Professional and academic writing skills
    • Reading skills
    • Effective team working skills
    • Negotiating and influencing skills
    • Presentation skills


  • Exploring Leadership
    • Individual perspectives: overview of leadership theory; personality, identity and authenticity in leadership; when leaders derail.
    • Organisational perspectives: leadership and performance; leadership and power in organizations; culture, strategy and context.
    • Societal perspectives: leadership in and of communities; global and worldly leadership; leading for a sustainable future; emerging perspectives and enduring dilemmas; gender, power and toxicity; leadership and spirituality; re-routing leadership studies.


  • Leadership Exchange: Insights into the deeper process of leadership
    • Revisiting the reflective and worldly mindsets
    • Observation skills, participation methods, ethnography
    • Inductive and deductive reasoning
    • Anthropological perspectives on change management, leadership effectiveness and research
    • The ethics in action
    • Giving & receiving feedback; active listening
    • Creating valued contributions from research and consultancy


  • Your Personal Transformation
    • Interview techniques and practice employment interviews
    • Negotiating your deal
    • LinkedIn and B2B
    • Career coaching

Practice assessment centres and psychometric testing

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Assigned module reading:

Antonakis, J., Fenley, M., & Liechti, S. U. E. 2011. Can charisma be taught? Tests of two Interventions. Academy of Management Learning & Education,

10(3): 374-396.

Bass, B. M. (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision. Organizational dynamics, 18(3), 19-31.

Benjamin, B., & O'Reilly, C. (2011). Becoming a leader: Early career challenges faced by MBA graduates. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 452-472.

Casciaro, T., & Lobo, M. S. (2005). Competent jerks, lovable fools, and the formation of social networks. Harvard business review, 83(6), 92-99.

Casciaro, T., Gino, F. & Kouchaki, M. (2016). Learn to Love Networking. Harvard Business Review.

Cross, R., Cowen, A., Vertucci, L., & Thomas, R. J. (2009). Leading in a Connected World:: How Effective Leaders Drive Results Through Networks. Organizational dynamics, 38(2), 93-105.

Cross, R., Liedtka, J., & Weiss, L. (2005). A practical guide to social networks. Harvard Business Review, 83(3), 124-132.

Czarniawska, B. (2007) Shadowing and other Techniques for doing Fieldwork in Modern Societies. Copenhagen Business School Press: Denmark.

Goffee, R., & Jones, G. (2000). Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?. Harvard Business Review.

Haslam S. A., Reicher S. D., & Platow M.J. (2011) The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power. Psychology Press

Jarrett, Michael. (2017). “Four Types of Organizational Poltics.” Harvard Business Review.

Perrewé, P. L., Ferris, G. R., Frink, D. D., & Anthony, W. P. (2000). Political skill: An antidote for workplace stressors. The Academy of management executive, 14(3), 115-123.

Ragins, B. R. (2016). From the ordinary to the extraordinary: High-quality mentoring relationships at work. Organizational Dynamics, 45(3), 228-244.

Yukl, G. (2012). Effective leadership behavior: What we know and what questions need more attention. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(4), 66-85.

Plus a range of contemporary academic and professional journal articles which are accessible via the ELE.

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date