The purpose of this statement is to summarize and reveal what I have learnt from working on this project and the skills gained from it. This statement is to conduct a self assessment of my research work and to show my strengths and weakness on my findings.
The skills and learning statement is also important because it shows how RAP is prepared and it is necessary in order to achieve BSc. (Hons) graduate degree.
The SLS is based on four questions:
What I learned from the meetings with my Project Mentor, including the presentation that I gave to my Project Mentor.
Before I made the decision to work on the research and analysis project, I made sure that I went through the other topics carefully. The main reason for my decision was because, I found that, the research and analysis project was straightforward. I learnt several things from the meetings with my mentor but the most positive of them all was that I realised I am a self-directed learner.
The First Meeting
Before walking into the first meeting with my project mentor, I made sure that I had with me a pen and a journal. The benefits of a journal are countless but the main reasons that I decided to keep one at hand were so I could write down any questions I may have to ask my mentor and jot down brief notes from discussions or conversations that we would have.
From the very first meeting, my mentor introduced and emphasised on self-directed learning. He explained the impact it would have on my development, knowledge and skills and because of this; I decided to find out what my learning style is. Throughout all the meetings, I worked alongside other students; we discussed the importance of time and different ways in which we could use the time we had in meetings usefully. The discussions I had with my mentor were mainly based on my thoughts and ideas. He asked me how I felt about my ideas, how would I incorporate my ideas into my project and if I thought they were of a high-quality.
One important issue that I learnt about was time. When I walked in for my first meeting I was a few minutes late and because of this, my mentor started working with another student. I realised from this incident that I would have to manage my ACCA studies. My mentor made clear the importance of time management and how it would affect my report if I did not allocate my time correctly. Because I was not always punctual, I lost a lot of time and a lot of my research ended up being conducted in a small space of time.
Another point that my mentor constantly stressed upon throughout the meetings was critical evaluation and critical analysis. To give myself an idea about critical evaluation, I took it upon myself to read material that was critical. Once I had read the material, I read through my own report and found that it needed critical analysis aspects. I found myself modifying it on countless times and was very aggravated when I realised I hadn’t referenced it accurately either. I decided to read up on some research books and began adjusting my report.
The Second Meeting
The second meeting consisted of discussions about my ideas and research. Throughout the meeting my mentor encouraged me talk about my ideas and this helped me make informed judgements. I believe researching information is a lot more beneficial because I felt like I was doing everything myself instead of having handouts and websites in front of me.
The Third Meeting
By this meeting, I had almost finished my project. I approached my mentor to organize the third meeting. In that meeting, the mentor identified my mistakes and other weaknesses in the report. I asked him how I could remove those mistakes and improve on the weaknesses. When he explained those to me, I noted down the points to ensure my projects was perfect. This helped me to improve the RAP further.
The Fourth Meeting
The Fourth meeting consisted of a PowerPoint presentation; I was excited about it as I had not done a presentation like that in the past. Before I started preparing the presentation, I checked up online how to use Microsoft PowerPoint and prepared a practise presentation.
Overall, I feel like I learned a substantial amount of information from the meetings with my mentor. They provided me with different opportunities to discuss my ideas and thoughts and let me experience something new. The fourth and final meeting ended with my mentor asking me what I would say to prospective students about the research and analysis project. What I would say to prospective students would be that when I started this project, I wasn’t very eager about independent learning but by the end of it I found myself appreciating it more and more. I value learning new things and like discussing new ideas with others and from the meetings, I feel a lot more confident and ready to take on other projects.
How well I felt I answered the research question?
I believe I answered the research question very well however it is important to understand that because I only had secondary data and no primary data, my analysis and evaluation was solely based on that. I do believe though that if I had access to Morrison’s intranet and was able to evaluate both customer and employee opinions then my answer would have been in more depth and my data would have also been more reliable. It is important to take into account that if I did have approval to access the companies intranet, to collect primary data, that it would have taken me a lot more time, time that I could not really lose. Moreover, I believe that at the moment my skills of acquiring primary data and conducting primary research are not quite satisfactory.
The main source of information that my data was based upon was Morrison’s and J Sainsbury’s plc Annual reports of 2008, 2009 and 2010. In order for me to have answered the question in more depth, I would have needed multiple sources of data from one particular source that would have established my findings to be correct.
I believe that with time I will improve my skills however it is important to remember that there will always be limitations when it comes to collecting information. In general, I believe that my answer was reasonable and that my research report was informative.
How I demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills during the project work.
I demonstrated my interpersonal and communication skills in many different ways during the project work. When writing my report, I made sure that it was clear and concise. I read through it to take care that it had a rational flow of arguments and that it was logical. One important point that I kept it mind was that I only included relevant facts as there was a word count that needed to be adhered to. I found this a little difficult as I had a tendency to write on about unrelated facts that didn’t answer the question.
When speaking in front of my mentor and fellow students I felt that no-one had any difficulties understanding me and I had no trouble understanding the feedback given by my mentor to me. One problem that I found was that, when asked about my feelings and ideas, I wouldn’t express myself effectively, to resolve this issue I started writing questions in my journal so that I could ask my mentor and get the answer that I needed. By doing this, I got the answer that I needed and my ideas and thoughts were cleared as well. From the discussions with my mentor and students, I realised that it is very important to ask the right question as this helps obtain more information for both the other students and myself and helps the mentor understand that everyone understands.
Another way in which I demonstrated my interpersonal and communication skills was by showing that I was listening to both my mentor and other students. I believe that by listening and giving everyone a chance to voice their opinions helps build good relationships with others. Listening is all about decoding and receiving information. Through my mentor meetings, I learnt that effective listening not only helps reduce the effect of noise distortion, but it resolve problem by encouraging understanding from someone else’s view point.
However I did realise that by not showing that I understood verbally may have gave my mentor the idea that I did not understand the answer he gave me, in order to prevent this I started to give him eye contact and replies rather than nodding my head.
The PowerPoint presentation was the next stage, I was very excited about it however as it was my first I practised it many a times in front of friends, family and also by myself as I decided to memorise the whole presentation. I realised that this was very difficult later on as I started to forget some points, however I remembered that when I looked through the websites for help that they had recommended speaker notes for referencing. This helped a lot and I was able to give an informative presentation to my mentor.
I believe that the other students had no trouble understanding me as I had no trouble understanding them. If any of the students had a problem then we were able to discuss our concerns and help each other. I demonstrated my interpersonal skills by showing respect to the other students and to my mentor.
I know I can further improve my skills and by doing this it will benefit my academic studies and employment position.
How has undertaking the RAP helped me in my accountancy studies and my employment role?
I have found many differences in the reflective and analysis project and my ACCA studies. ACCA is formerly based on lectures and giving an exam which is based on the knowledge acquired on a particular subject. RAP on the other hand only required me to use the knowledge and skills that I had and use them accordingly. By becoming an independent learner I have realised that I can obtain information without attending lectures. As my mentor never instructed me to do anything I was forced to research and use my already acquired skills and knowledge.
In my past ACCA studies I was to memorise concepts and ideas and then apply them where necessary but now that I have completed this report I am able to combine my own knowledge and skills with it. This is very important and also a very useful to skill to behold, one which I will be using in future exams.
Finally, I believe that the knowledge and skills I have acquired from completing this report will not only help improve my career prospects by opening avenues which were previously outside my realm of opportunity but will also help in my personal life.