By Maxime van den Berg, Pearson Business School student
Last month, Pearson College London made its way to industry partner the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for, what ended up being, the most exciting learning experience thus far. The MOD was kind enough to open its doors to us for an exciting day of expanding our critical thinking capabilities and many more skills that are invaluable to what employers look for in freshly graduated students.
The day lasted from 9:00 to 4:00 and was held in the main conference room with plenty of space and a pleasant atmosphere. Phillip Oliver, the Deputy Head, Future Head Office Project at UK Ministry of Defence and Sam Griffiths, the Private Secretary to Minister of the Reserves, both ran the industry day alongside Andy Gillman MBE, MoD Outreach Programme Director, who provided a real-life case study which needed to be discussed and possibly solved in groups.
The MOD has been around since the 1960s and exists to teach people to become leaders of the armed forces and to provide the training, equipment and support needed. The MOD building is where the original palace of Whitehall used to be, rebuilt by Cardinal Wolsey. Henry VIII lived in Whitehall in 1530 when he removed Cardinal Wolsey from power. A few decades later the building burnt down. The story goes; in 1698 a servant in the building went to wash his clothes nearby when all of a sudden he noticed a cloud of smoke. It later turned out he witnessed the burning down of Whitehall during his washing errand. The building we now see today was designed before the second world war and still holds the famous wine cellar downstairs. Whitehall has its name because of the white stones used to build it. There are 8 floors, each populated in conjunction with hierarchy. The MOD building is in the middle of London and stands tall and proud for everyone to see. A marvellous sight to see.
As for the main case study, we were provided with a current event based on real-life involving conflict in an area in the middle east, sparked by a civil war in Dacan. Each individual team, that consisted of six members, was required to discuss the possible courses of action and present the final plan in a simulated press conference. The six members were given a title, these being;
- Secretary of defence
- Secretary of common and foreign wealth
- Prime Minister
- Secretary of international development
- Home Secretary
- The United Nations
Each individual needed to evaluate and negotiate a plausible course of action from their point of view which would contribute to a wider holistic plan generated within the same group. This intriguing case-study developed many valuable skills, from team working to negotiating and many more.
The MOD industry day has been a great experience. We have learnt a lot not just about the MOD but also about the UK and it’s international relations as well. It has been an inspiring day and we all look forward to the next Industry event organised by Pearson College London. Thank you Els for organising the event and a special thank you to the members of the MOD staff who helped run the day!