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Student Guide

The course 1MU507 Strategic Management Accounting is designed to be quite demanding and this has also been reflected by our graduates‘ feedback. It has also been perceived as one of the interesting courses here at UEP. In order to enjoy the course and to take advantage of what the course can yield to you, we have prepared this student guide.

Communication

The course is based on your work during the semester and your personal commitment to it is crucial for everybody’s success.  Please be active not only in classes but also within your team during the whole semester.

You will be given a badge with your name – please use it in the class. It will ease the communication and thus help greatly. We will evaluate your activity directly during the sessions and we wish to memorise your names as quickly as possible.

Yes, there are two teachers involved in the class. Each weekly session has its assigned teacher (see the course web site for schedule) and you are kindly asked to address e-mails only to the one assigned teacher.

Virtually all instructions to the course can be found at the course website at http://kmu.vse.cz/.

Structure of the course

The course is structured into 12 to 13 sessions during the semester (depending on number of national holidays or other free days during the semester).

On the first session of the course, the teachers and – of course – you are introduced. The introduction test is used to evaluate your overall level of knowledge of management accounting, so we can better tailor the course according to your needs. You will be divided into teams. We are trying to form the groups as nationally diversified and balanced in terms of management accounting knowledge dispersed among the groups (some of you are more accounting-oriented, some of you are not). Besides, a few students may join the course later and on the contrary, some could also abandon the course after the first session – that is why sometimes minor changes in teams are made even during the second week.

Typically, we have quite good knowledge about the number of students enrolled and thus how many teams we can form. It enables us to design the evaluation scorecard – it means that we can announce you the number of presentations and other assignements you are supposed to work on during the semester (it varies a little bit according to number of teams formed in the class, typically from 12 to 14 assignments).

The final test is scheduled for the week before the last session; last session is devoted to final discussion on the course, your feedback, revealing your evaluation etc.

How to get your credits

Your evaluation is based on your performance during the semester (up to 50 points for your reviews, presentations and active participation in the classes) and your score achieved in the final test (again, up to 50 points).

Your presence at sessions is compulsory but sometimes intensive courses overlap with the regular SMA sessions or other serious reasons might occur. Because we know that (typically) you cannot be present at all the sessions, one or two absences are OK if you excuse yourself in advance giving also the reasons.

The role of performance evaluation during the semester is to measure and reward your effort.

a)      if extra work (e.g., case studies) is assigned during the semester it is rewarded,

b)      the performance evaluation is designed in a way that theoretical maximum (the maximum number of points) is slightly higher than 50 – it means that even if you are absent at some sessions, you can still get 50 points,

c)      under the ECTS rules it is not possible for you to get more than 50 per cent out of total evaluation for performance during the semester and therefore if you eventually over-perform during the semester we cannot grant you more than 50 points.

Assignments and workload

We have already stated that you are expected to work quite a lot during the semester. For each session there will be assignments that may require you to spend several hours of extra-course work a week. These assignments are mostly readings and a few case studies. The workload may seem quite high at the beginning but once your team gets organised it is easy to follow the weekly pace. The workload declines at the second half of the semester.

For each reading assignment you will be doing either a discussion contribution (DC) or a presentation according. These are two quite different formats intended to help you to learn in most effective way while developing your soft skills – analytical reading, critical debate, presentation design and presentation skills. Please concentrate on understanding well what a DC and a presentation mean.

Discussion contribution

Unless your team is doing a presentation you will have to write a discussion contribution (DC) for each reading assigned – a scientific paper or a textbook chapter. Elaborating a DC is your individual task and is evaluated individually.

You may find useful to discuss the topic with a colleague of yours or a teacher prior to writing your DC. The role of a DC is primarily to make you think about the assigned reading. We do advise you to elaborate a summary for yourself but this is not what you will submit. Your DC should focus on what was interesting, controversial, surprising, difficult or even unclear, i.e. focused on your attitude towards and opinion on the readings.

You may find some readings to be quite neutral – could be anything controversial in a chapter of textbook? It does not have to be, of course. But still, there is something mentioned you have your personal experience with, you cannot imagine how it could work or it is just new (or notoriously well-known and thus boring, on the contrary) for you.

Please note that each opinion or idea in your DC should be relevant to the topic of the reading and well supported by your meaningful reasoning. Try to explain what and why you think in your DC. Your DC should lead you quite naturally to a series of questions that will be discussed in the classes. We want you to have these questions formulated and ready to use.

You can get a maximum of 3 points. But frankly, it is not a standard. Three points are reserved just for excellent DCs; 2 points is still a good result. Only DCs submitted in printed form by the beginning of the session can be evaluated (sorry, no later).

Presentations

When your team is assigned a presentation none of the team members submits a discussion contribution. You all are expected to read, discuss and work on the topic together, then to design a professional electronic presentation and present the reading to the others. It is up to your team how you divide the roles.

The presentation will be evaluated in the class and all team members will get the same amount out of 5 points maximum (exact number of points per presentation vary little bit semester to semester, depending on the exact number of sessions, groups and assignments – see your course masterplan to learn about current course evaluation design). The evaluation will take into account both form and contents. You are expected to self-study what are the formal rules for presentations (such as at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mihaib/presentation-rules.html or http://presentationsoft.about.com/od/firststeps/p/lose_audience.htm).

Concerning the contents specific to this course we suggest you the following guidelines:

a)      give a brief overview about the contents of the reading but remember that the others should have read it too (it is not necessary to describe everything in detail),

b)      always try to highlight what is the most important and what is most interesting to you,

c)      distinguish clearly between the authors‘ and your ideas,

d)      always speak about what is missing, what is blurred, what is tricky in the reading.

Activity during sessions

If your activity contributes well to the session you get 1 point for it. Only exception is quest speakers‘ sessions where you can get up to 3 points.

Final test

By the end of the semester there will be a final test where your knowledge gained so far will be evaluated. The rules for the final test are as follow:

  • a closed-book test
  • individual work only is authorised
  • enough time