Personal Development Planning is an activity that will support and enhance my experiences as a student. I will use the Personal Development planning to review, build and reflect on my educational and personal development. PDP will create opportunities for me to think in the course of my development, in an organized manner. The PDP will help me to identify my path to my development and the steps I have to make to succeed (Davis, 2011). Some of the main concerns I will be addressing will be:
- What are my goals in life?
- Who do I want to become in the future?
- Are my ambitions and goals clear?
- Am I taking charge of my life?
According to Brondie (2009) and Noume (2011), the personal Development Planning process will help me have a variety of benefits that are essential for personal, professional, academic and social success. These benefits include
- Having a clear path and idea about my professional life
- Having confidence when making choices
- Identifying my skills attributes and qualities and using them to advance my life
- Empowering me for completion in the job market
- Enabling me to be able to have the confidence of discuss my skills, qualities and abilities with prospective employers
- It will enable me to have better planning and problem solving skills.
- It will also enable me to have positive attitudes towards my life and career.
As a postgraduate student, I am not only concerned with the degree that I will get after the studies. The degree program has also provided me with a variety of other learning activities that are going to enhance my life skills and professional careers (Brodie, 2009). Relating with people from different backgrounds has created a chance for me to enhance my social skills, leadership skills and qualities as well as enhancing my teamwork qualities (Switon, n.d). PDP is used for “planning, developing and reviewing personal and academic goals”. As a student who is studying in a foreign coutry that has a different culture, I will use the PDP process to
- Relate my learning with the S.K.A
- Enhance my communication skills in order to be able to relate with the other students
- Take advantage of the Master’s program
- Evaluate what I have been able to learn and how I can improve to be able to communicate effectively with the other students
- It will enable me to know the areas I need to improve
- Improve on my confidence and effectiveness as a postgraduate student.
- Increasing my study and professional management prospect
- Combine my academic and co-curriculum achievements and experiences.
- It will enable me to get more from my research activities
- It will also help me to work on my weaknesses and my threats as I also try to maintain my strengths in order to take advantage of the opportunities that will be available
- It will help me to have the ability of developing my c.v.
In order to have a proper PDP, I will examine the following stages of my personal development and expectation since I joined the University.
- Where and how I was when I joined the university
- Where I am currently
- Where I intend to be and how I will achieve my development goals.
When I came to the university, my professional life had been affected by various factors. Among these factors was family background, social and cultural factors of my home country as well as the political system of our country. My appointment as an operation officer had affected my progression as a marketer. This caused me to forget some important marketing theories that I had learnt when doing my bachelor degree. I did not have good communication skills, as my foreign language skills were very poor. This made me to find life at a foreign institution hard. This are common challenges faced by foreign students (Lowes, Peters and Turner, 2004)
To examine my current state, I will use the SWOT analysis.
Able to Socialize
Good communication skills
Good in time management
Strong teamwork skills
Orderly and good in planning
Get attached to work
Problem with presentation skills
Harvard style referencing
Working in my previous Bank in the AML department
Appropriate atmosphere of study at the university
Study in Britain.
Study with international student.
Switch in my professional career.
Increasing number of postgraduates back in my country
Competitive job opportunities
The SWOT analysis/matrix is a tool individuals use to examine their current position. It is also used in product development. I have used the SWOT matrix to identify my strength, Weaknesses, opportunities and threats. My strengths are areas that I perceive to have an edge over my colleagues. They are areas I do not have struggles in achieving. I will need to make sure that I do not neglect this attributes, as they are the ones that gives me an edge in trying to achieve my goals and exploiting my opportunities (University of Bristol,2011). I will use the opportunities available to me in order to achieve my developmental goals. In order to be who I want to be, I have to work on my weakness and manage my threats. I have to come up with ways of addressing my weaknesses that includes poor analytical skills, getting to much attached to work, my academic writing, being shy, poor presentation skill and referencing styles. I will use the following ways to address each of the problems.
How to improve
Poor analytical skills
- Asking questions
- Making no assumptions
- Not taking things at their face value
- Turning the information gathered in to knowledge
- Making sure I understand what I learn
Getting to much attached to work
- Proper time management
- Proper planning
- Paying attention in class
- Doing more research on writing skills
- Consulting with team members and other students
- Following the lecturers instructions
- Learn to appreciate and have confidence with myself
Presentation skills problem
- Using group work session to enhance my skills
Harvard style referencing
- Revisiting the lecturer notes on the writing styles and skills
I should also be very cautious about the threats that I face. Threats are those things that “threaten” my development plan. Threats include both the internal and external factors. In my case my internal threats includes my own personal life and homesickness. Internal threats are factors that I can personally control in order to increase the chances of achieving my personal and professional goals. The internal threats will require me to have self-control and discipline. The external threats are factors beyond me. They include the weather, competitive job opportunities and increased number of people pursuing master’s degree. To manage these threats, I will have to
My S.K.A analysis can be summarized as follows:
- Time management
- Office skills
- Decision maker
- Experience in my specialty
- Ability to do research
- Readers interested in my specialty.
- I hold a degree in accounting.
Skills that I need to work on includes
- Foreign languages
- Problem solving
- Presentation skills
- I.T skills
- Innovation skills
- Leadership skills
In order to improve these skills, I will use the knowledge I have gained in doing research as well as the trying to pursue further education.
Teamwork and presentation skills
Teamwork and interpersonal skills are regarded as essential competencies for achieving academic and professional success. Though many institutions do not address the two essential competences, our university has enhanced my development and knowledge on the two. The university has struck balance between academic excellence and teamwork. “Teamwork is where the task is divided with to realize multiplication of results” (Noume, 2011). In teamwork, “it is never about me but about us”. Teamwork enhances our development in presentation skills as well as enhancing our interpersonal skills (West, 2012). In the university, teamwork and presentation skills has been enhanced through cross-school activities and group assignments. Teamwork also enhances leadership skills. Both presentation and teamwork skills are essential and integral for professionalism and managerial activities at work. Teamwork enhances the success of projects by enhancing performance (Lee & Bailey, 2007). It is for this reason that the university places much emphasis on the development of teamwork and presentation skills.
I have been able to improve on my teamwork skills since I joined the university. I conducted a team roles personal inventory on my team skills and the found out that:
- Using my strengths, I can be categorized as a plant, resource investigator, a coordinator, a team worker or an implementer. For these roles, I scored 7,12,12,9,14 and 9 respectively
- Using my weaknesses, I could be classified as a non monitor-evaluator or a non completer. This is because I scored very few marks on the traits that determined excellence in these roles.
Using the teams’ role self-perception inventory, I was able to realize that some of my strengths included:
- Being imaginative
- Being a problem solver
- Good leadership qualities
- Good delegating skills
- Being cooperative
- Being a good listener
- Being a diplomatic listener
- Being dynamic
- Being able to avert friction
The inventory also helped me to realize that some of my weaknesses during teamwork are
- Poor analytical (judging) skills
- Being manipulative
- Delegating personal work
- Can provoke other
- Over optimistic
Though I will try to maintain my strength and use it for the development of my personal and professional career, I will also strive to work on my weaknesses. This will help me to help the team achieve more. It will also enhance my professional development, as project management tasks at my work place will be better (Lee & Bailey, 2007). I will also be able to relate well with collogues at school and at work.
The PDP is a process that each person should take seriously. It is a tool that when used well can result in to personal and professional development. The tool helps one to be able to evaluate his growth over a period. It helps one to know from where he/she has come from and to where he is going. The PDP has helped me evaluate my strength, weaknesses and the opportunities I have in life. It also helps one to identify the threats he/she has to manage if he were to become what he/she wants to be. As a foreign student, I have gained a lot from the PDP process since I have been able to identify my path to success. I have been able to evaluate the various issues surrounding my professional career. The S.K.A analysis has helped to evaluate the skills I have been missing and has enabled me to plan on how to achieve them to be whom I want to be. Relating my S.K.A and the Teamwork inventory analysis with my learning analysis has helped me to get a clear view of my professional career and direction. By addressing my weaknesses, I will be able to enhance my C.V and my confidence. This will be instrumental and ensuring that I will excel ones, I leave the university. The PHP has also helped me to know what resources to use in order to be successful.