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12 November 10 studentfocus

Study tips: Corporate

Please note that from December 2010, the CMIA exam will be open-book. Students may consult previously prepared written material during the examination.

Management in Action (CMIA)

ABE examiner Julie Peters explains how Corporate Management in Action (CMIA) integrates and develops the learning in the other four units of the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management

The paper is constructed using the Advanced Diploma’s International Business Case Study (IBCS), which is supplemented by additional information. Students can access this case study on the ABE website prior to the examination date.

The first four units of the postgraduate diploma use a holistic approach, applying theory to real organisations. This should prepare students to approach CMIA with confidence.

The assignment for CMIA requires students to focus on the personal learning and development they have acquired during their study of the unit.

Preparing for the examination Sometimes students do not sit the CMIA unit at the same time as the other four units. However, it is essential that the content of all four units forms the basis of revision for CMIA.

The question set for the CMIA paper requires students to apply their knowledge and understanding to the issues of a real company. Students should access previous CMIA examinations on the ABE website to see both the style of question used and what is required in response. It is vital to study these earlier papers as part of the revision process.

Case studies in journals or Masters-level text books are good sources for revision. Students should consider how the company referred to in each case reaches decisions, and they should relate this to the theory they have learned.

The examination is composed of one question, usually with a coherent step-by-step approach. Students should read the IBCS case study thoroughly. They should then research current developments and issues in that industry to gain a full appreciation of the sector’s business environment. Once this has been done, students should consider what might be asked about the material. They should draw on previously set questions, as well as focusing on the content of the CMIA unit. This may lead to the need for further research to fill gaps in understanding.

A thorough approach would be to take each learning outcome and its indicative content and focus on finding out more about the company’s activities in those areas. Students should examine both positive and negative points, and are advised not to rely solely on the company website. A company’s website is arguably the most accessible and important element of its promotional material. Students need to undertake a deeper investigation and should explore the quality press and reliable websites to discover the negatives. It is not possible to make a critical assessment without the examining the downside. In

addition, students should explore the activities of major competitors.

Students may find it useful to construct a revision sheet with key examples from the case study, which are relevant to the learning outcomes. This may help students to identify critical information that demonstrates the application of their learning in the context of the company and its sector. They can then reflect on this critical information. This type of approach should also assist with the identification of key examples within the unseen additional material included in the examination paper.

The examination

At the very beginning of the examination, students should read the additional information several times before attempting any questions.

Before starting to write an answer, students should read the question carefully at least two or three times to ensure that they have interpreted it correctly. As they re-read the question, students are advised to make rough notes in the answer booklet about any relevant points they recall.

The next stage is to make a plan for answering the question. It is essential that students take the time to prepare and plan their answers. A coherent response, which deals with the parts of the question in the

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