But I think, in one respect, I know what it must feel like when ocean, board and dude come together in effortless harmony. Because right now, it really does appear as if our Masters programme has caught the perfect wave. I hope I won't upset colleagues if I call it the flagship course of the wide specialist Masters offering at Cass, and assert that it really is proving the right course at the right time.
This month, in our third year, we are welcoming almost 180 new participants, drawn from a genuine united nations of destinations, with 70 per cent of the students coming from abroad. In our inaugural year, 100 students successfully completed the programme. Their word appears to have got round, because this year, well over 1,000 applied to get on. The second year we took on 155, the majority of whom will graduate.
I think the course is so popular, not because it fits the template of a committee of wise and well-meaning education policy-makers, but because it's tapped into something far more powerful. This is the burgeoning natural desire among educated 20-somethings around the world to enhance their first degrees and get into a career with real prospects.
And the key section in any CV deals with management skills. Gone are the days when vast enterprises employed thousands of pen-pushers or machine operators, their strings being pulled by a handful of corpulent controllers. Now, businesses are broken up into countless interlocking departments and teams, each needing management in its own right, and each needing to co-exist harmoniously with neighbouring areas, and the outside world.
The MSc in management at Cass enables students to develop the generic skills to perform this type of role anywhere in the commercial world. It matters not whether the product is soft toys, soft-tops or software.
Around three-quarters of our intake every year have done nothing business-related in their first degrees. But that is no handicap. It can be an advantage, as the student brings a clear mind to the subject.
But we welcome also those with economics or management degrees, and our aim over the course of the first term is to bring everyone on the course up to the same speed, with the building blocks of management know-how, centred on the crucial disciplines of accounting and finance. We assume no prior knowledge, but, equally, we assume an ability to learn fast.
A knowledge of the way organisations manage themselves in accordance with regulations and ethical standards will be just as powerful a career lever for our graduates as an ability to make the numbers add up. It is part of the DNA at Cass.
So too is our determination not to rest on our laurels. A key product of our continuous process of evolution this year is the lengthening of the induction period from one week to two. This is not to give the students an easy ride for a fortnight before the real work starts. Quite the reverse, actually. By taking time, over ten nine-to-five days, on an in depth introduction to the whole course, we try to encourage students to think ahead, and start planning for their practical project work in the second and third terms.
If, for example, in the first fortnight, the seed of a dissertation idea - on money laundering, or corporate governance in football - is planted, how much more fruitful will be the first term's study?
We also take time at the outset to encourage the students to think of themselves as professionals and start behaving as they would on their first job, with all that implies for time-management, appointment keeping and consideration of other people's needs.
We're proud to record that almost all MSc management graduates have found an appropriate job within a few months of finishing the course. Our growing alumni database has e-mail addresses in offices from Deutsche Bank, KPMG and Microsoft, to emerging companies in North America and the Far East.
Rob Melville is founder of the MSc in management, Cass Business School
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