Friday, 2 January 2015

Make 2015 your most successful year ever!

The start of a new year is a time for reflection when we consider whether we are on the right track to a productive and fulfilling future.  With this in mind, here are five simple but effective New Year's resolutions to put you on the road to success:

1. Devote time to professional development

If you are studying with ABE, then you have already invested in your professional development by undertaking a qualification that will help you build a successful career.  But being an ABE member offers the opportunity to do more than obtain a professional qualification.   You can access a wealth of resources in the Members Area, including the Emerald e-database of over 140 academic journals which provide the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading business authorities. 

Spend time taking advantage of these resources and use your ABE membership as an opportunity to become an expert in your field. This, of course, will also increase your chance of getting a fantastic exam result!

2. Learn something new every day

Whether or not you are studying, this is a great affirmation to live by.  Consider everything you do and always question whether things could be done better; learn what works well and how mistakes could have been avoided. This will hone your ability to understand new situations and make the right choices quickly and decisively.  With this ability you are likely to gain a reputation as a strong leader.

3.  Be a great listener

Learning every day depends on listening to those around us.  Talk to colleagues and peers, listen to their feedback and try to understand their point of view. Develop the art of being totally focused on what people are saying without getting distracted by planning your reply or interrupting.  Rather than making their own point, a good listener will ask questions until they have established all the facts and then, if in doubt, check their understanding by summarising what they have heard.   

If you find you are doing all the talking in a discussion, ask someone else to give their opinion and make a point of keeping quiet for a while.  If you disagree with their view, explain why in a way that makes it clear that you respect their opinion. That way, people are encouraged to share their thoughts with you and you benefit from hearing an alternative perspective.

4. Be positive

We all have setbacks, for instance when we don’t get a job, promotion or the exam results we had hoped for.  When this happens it is easy to feel defeated.  But remember, to achieve in life you need to retain a positive ‘can-do’ attitude.  For example, if you don’t pass an exam and say; “It’s too hard, I give up”, you will never learn where your knowledge was lacking or get the qualification you wanted.  However, if you remain positive, look at what went wrong with your paper and study hard in the areas that let you down you will be rewarded with success.   Take inspiration from the words of inventor and entrepreneur James Dyson, who overcame many setbacks in his early career; "Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success."

5. Enjoy what you do

Your time is precious so use it wisely.  Take time to understand yourself, to work out what makes you happy and fulfilled and then set your goals based on these values.    A quote from the late esteemed journalist and television presenter, David Frost, sums this up nicely, “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in and it will come naturally.”

Good luck!  

Do share your own favourite inspirational New Year's resolution.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Student Profile: Charmaine Anthony

What have you been up to since completing your ABE studies?
I recently graduated with a Masters of Business Administration Degree (MBA), specialising in Human Resource Management, from the Australian Institute of Business via the National Research & Development Foundation (NRDF) in Saint Lucia.  I also had the honour of being awarded valedictorian for the MBA Class of 2014.
You must be delighted; what else have you gained from studying?
While I am still beaming with pride at my accomplishment, I wish to highlight aspects of my personal and professional development that have led to my current success. I am a strong advocate of continuous learning - thus, I have been pursuing higher education over the past few years.
What made you decide to study with ABE?

I have always been a people-oriented individual, who encourages others to develop and grow. The perfect opportunity came my way when I joined the Human Resources team of a regional telecommunications company.  I felt like the door to my home was finally unlocked.  In September 2008 I decided to undertake a Diploma and Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management with ABE. The course complemented every aspect of my role, and enhanced my overall competencies, as I played a generalist role within the HR function.  During my tenure, my career progressed from HR Administrator to HR Executive - and Learning and Development Co-ordinator for the Eastern Caribbean Group - to being seconded onto two special assignments: leading the set up of the HR function for a new market, and taking on a specialist HR project role in the firm’s Haiti operations after the 2010 earthquake. 
Thereafter I served as HR Manager (Ag) before my departure in 2012.  In June 2010, I was also the proud recipient of ABE Top Paper Award for Personnel Information Systems.

What do you feel you have gained workwise, from your ABE studies?

My ABE studies have contributed significantly to my professional growth and career progression and served as the platform for my newly acquired qualification. The knowledge gained through ABE and my work experience are two factors that set me apart from my colleagues on my MBA programme, thus enabling me to perform exceptionally well receiving nine distinctions and three credits. I have also been identified as a tutor for the ABE Level 5 units, Personnel Administration and Managing People, which started in August 2014 at the ABE teaching centre in Saint Lucia. I am elated by this opportunity, as this demonstrates and reaffirms the value of the qualifications that I have been awarded here in Saint Lucia.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing this qualification?

I am assured that this investment has been very worthwhile, and that the returns have been manifold. In the words of Aristotle, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”. The academic journey will not be easy. There will be many challenges to contend with, and you will be required to develop coping mechanisms to fit your circumstances. However, the end result brings about a feeling of accomplishment and pride that is priceless!

Charmaine's story first appeared in November 2014 issue of Student Focus - the free magazine for ABE members.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Guide to the ABE Level 7 Diploma in Business Management (QCF) assignment support materials

If you are studying, teaching, or administering the ABE Level 7 Diploma in Business Management, then you’ll know that the assessment of this qualification differs from ABE’s other levels in that four of the Level 7 Diploma’s five units are assessed by assignment rather than examination.

The following list of assignment support materials is available by following the Level 7 Diploma link on the Members Area of the ABE website.

  • Assignment Submission Process
  • Assignment Regulation
  • General Assignment Guidance 
  • ABE Plagiarism and Collusion Policy
  • Assignment Cover Sheet
  • Assignment Payment Form
  • Enquiry About Results (EAR2) Form

    • Syllabuses and Lecture Guide
    • Assignment guidelines (by unit)
    • Examiners’ report
    • Reading List
    • How to use the Harvard system of referencing
    This blog will tell you what each of these Level 7 Diploma support materials is for. 

    Assignment Submission Process
    The Assignment Submission Process document is a flowchart that outlines the various stages of submission, whether you’re submitting through a college or independently. Looking at this should inform you of the stages that your assignment goes through during the marking and moderation process, as well as at what point you will be charged your fees and at what point your results will be released.

    Assignment Regulations
    This document sets out the various regulations assignments are subject to, as regards submission, marking, plagiarism, and results. Please make sure that you read it so that you are aware of your responsibilities when writing and submitting ABE assignments.
    General Assignment Guidance
    As suggested by its title, this document explains the features common to all of the four units assessed by assignment – which management skills the assignments will assess, how to select an assignment topic, the general structure of the assignment (although this can vary slightly depending on unit) and the word count. It is therefore essential to read this document at the start of planning your assignment. 

    ABE Plagiarism and Collusion Policy

    The ABE Plagiarism and Collusion Policy sets out how ABE defines the terms ‘plagiarism’ and ‘collusion’, and the risks you take by engaging in either activity. Plagiarising someone else’s work (copying and pasting from the Internet counts as this!), or colluding with other people to produce an assignment can result in your assignment being awarded zero marks, so please familiarise yourself with the policy and ensure that your work is your own!

    Assignment Cover Sheet
    This Word document template should be filled in and included as the cover of your assignment. It contains space for your name, ABE membership number, assignment title, and so on.

    Assignment Payment Form
    You can use this form to pay for your assignment(s). Simply fill in which assignments you are paying for and how you are paying for them, then forward the form to your college to include with your assignment(s). If you are submitting as a private student, this form can be sent to

    Enquiry About Results (EAR2) Form 
    ABE has a wide range of checks and quality assurance procedures in place to ensure that every student who takes an ABE assessment receives a result which accurately reflects their performance in that examination. However, on occasion, a student may consider that their result is not an accurate reflection of their performance. In such cases a student may query or challenge the mark/grade they have received, by using the EAR process.

    For assignments, the EAR process costs £50, and involves a clerical check, a full remark of the assignment by a different examiner, and a report on the student’s performance, highlighting where the student could improve in a future sitting. Students may apply for this service by using the EAR2 form.

    Syllabuses and Lecture Guides
    As for all ABE units, the Level 7 syllabuses and lecture guides outline and expand upon the content that will be assessed in each unit. Please see the blog entries  and for more information on these resources.

    Assignment Guidelines (by unit)
    ABE receives a lot of queries from students asking things like ‘where do I get assignment questions?’, or ‘what should I write my assignment about’? Where the General Assignment Guidance document discussed above will give you a broad idea of how to write your assignment, the Assignment Guidelines by Unit cover the specific requirements of each unit, and whilst there are no assignment ‘questions’, they do tell you what you should write your assignment about. Please read the Assignment Guidelines by Unit thoroughly before attempting your assignment, and follow their instructions closely whilst constructing it.

    Reading Lists
    The texts recommended in the Level 7 reading lists are particularly useful if you are undertaking self-study, since they’ll provide you with a depth of subject knowledge that you can then put to use when writing assignments.

    Examiners’ reports
    After the June and December exam sessions, the examiner for each ABE unit writes a report on the performance of students in that session. This covers the common strengths and weaknesses shown by students in that session, and how students could improve in future sessions. If you’re wondering why your assignment didn’t pass, and would like to submit an improved assignment in the future, examiners’ reports are a good place to start.

    How to use the Harvard system of referencing
    Knowing how to reference sources properly in your assignments is very important, as without proper referencing you are much more likely to commit plagiarism, even if you don’t intend to. This document will teach you how to use the Harvard style of academic referencing – follow its advice, and your assignment shouldn’t have any problems with plagiarism or a high Turnitin similarity percentage.

    Resources are available from the ABE Members Area for students studying ABE at all levels.

    Monday, 17 November 2014

    Emerald: an Introduction to the Academic Database of e-Journals

    ABE is working with a company called Emerald Group Publishing to provide you with access to Emerald’s online database of over 140 academic journals in areas relevant to ABE members. All journals are peer-reviewed and of high quality, with many being ranked by ISI Thomson Reuters and Scopus, demonstrating real journal quality. ABE members are provided with a free subscription to the Emerald eJournals database through this partnership.

    The benefits:
    • You have access to the latest academic thinking and research. 
    • You can inform your essays and assignments with evidence, theory and research material to back up your arguments. 
    • You will get to see how leading academics, in fields directly relevant to your studies, present, research and argue academic theory.
    • If you plan to go to university it will help you immensely as you are likely to use the same database or one very similar.
    In short, using this database can widen your understanding of a subject, increase your confidence in using academic argument and thereby improve your chances of achieving a good grade in your exams and any future higher level studies.

    Who can access the database?
    It is available to all ABE members studying at every level.

    How do I access it?
    You can link directly to the database from the Members Area – click on Academic Journals in the left-hand Benefits menu.  Then click on the link which says: ‘To access the database please click here.’

    If a session logs out and you cannot access the database, please repeat the process and click on the link again.

    What does the ABE subscription cover?
    ABE’s subscription will provide you with free access to some of the world’s most reputed academic publications in the following areas:
    • Accounting and Finance
    • Economics
    • Business Ethics and Law
    • Enterprise and Innovation
    • Human Resource Management
    • International Business
    • Management Science/Management Studies
    • Marketing
    • Organization Studies
    • Performance Management and Measurement
    • Strategy
    • Tourism and Hospitality
    Please note, there are other less ABE-relevant subject areas on the site which are not covered by the subscription which you will not be able to access

    Using the database
    A good way to start is by going to the subject area most relevant to you and looking through the journals relating to this subject. On the right hand of the screen, Emerald lists the most popular articles from the journal you are looking at. This gives a good insight into what other people are reading which can be a useful starting point if you are a new user. Alternatively, you can use the advanced search options to find the most relevant content. Try cross referencing terms with those in the syllabus that you are studying!

    Useful features
    The following useful features are available for free:
    • Advanced search options
    • Saving searches
    • Creating favourite journal lists
    • Sharing on email
    • Sharing on social networks
    • Setting up alerts for publications
    In order for you to use these services you will need to register with Emerald.  You can do this by:
    1. Accessing the database from the Members Area as described above
    2. Clicking on the button that says: “Register” at the very top right side on the screen, as shown in the screenshot below
    3. Completing the online form

    Online tutorials and guides
    To ensure you make the most of the database, we recommend spending a bit of time looking at Emerald’s online tutorials and guides.  You can access these by clicking the link in the Members Area which says:
    ‘For user guides please click here.’
    We hope you find this a great benefit that enhances your ABE studies. 
    If you find an article that you think might help your fellow students please share your tip below.

    This story was published in Student Focus the free magazine available to all ABE members.  Find out more at:

    Thursday, 18 September 2014

    Top Tips to Help You Get the Job You Want

    You are ambitious.  You are ABE qualified.  But in a competitive job market, how do you stand out from the crowd?  Here are some top tips to help you turn job applications into job offers.

    The initial application

    • Tweak your résumé (often referred to as CV/Curriculum Vitae here in the UK) according to the job you are applying for.   Have several versions you can use based on the type of role and company. For example, if the role stresses excellent IT skills, don’t bury your IT expertise several lines below less relevant information.    Include examples of the way you have used technology in a practical, work-relevant way.  Likewise, if the role stresses people skills, highlight the teams you have worked in and any group projects you have undertaken.
    • If you have some great references from past employers or tutors, consider including the best quotes from these with your résumé or covering letter. You can even list them on a separate sheet if you have enough. 
    • Create a professional LinkedIn profile and get peer recommendations and endorsements.  Include a link to your LinkedIn profile with online applications (remember, don’t link to your personal social media accounts if these show a less professional side of you).
    • Get a recruitment professional to look over your résumé and provide their honest feedback; ensure it highlights your strengths in a clear, concise, easy-to-read manner.
    • If you have a completed your ABE qualification, remember to highlight that you have a recognised professional qualification that has given you practical business skills.  Emphasise those learning outcomes that match the requirements of the job.

    The interview

    When it comes to interviews, remember the Benjamin Franklin quote:  “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”   He probably wasn’t thinking about job interviews at the time, but no saying could be more apt.

    Before your interview

    • Re-read the job application and research the company.
    • Think about the questions you are likely to be asked.  Prepare your answers in a way that highlights your skills and personality, and then applies these to the role. For example, most employers like to see that you are ambitious, but don’t give the impression that you will leave if not made a director in the first month! Talk about your ambition to take ownership of the role and make a difference in the department, as well as long-term ambitions.
    • Get a friend to give you a mock interview, or practice in front of a mirror. Make sure your answers aren’t just about you, but about how you can apply your skills to the job.  
    Some advice about good answers to typical interview questions can be found on YouTube at

    On the day

    • Turn up on time. If you’re late to an interview, it gives the impression that you don’t care enough about the job to arrive on time.
    • Dress appropriately.
    • Make sure you sure you have the name of the person you need to ask for when you get there. This sounds obvious, but it’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make.

    The interviewer

    This is the unknown element of any interview.  Here is a lowdown on the types you might encounter and how best to handle them: 


    Luckily, most people want to put you at your ease, and recognise this is the best way to get to know a candidate. Most interviewers you meet should, hopefully, be friendly. 

    Tip: there is a danger you can get side-tracked by pleasant chat and lose focus.  Make sure you steer the conversation back to the role and your suitability for it.


    Unlike Friendly, this type has no interest in creating a connection with you. They just want get through the interview and fill the vacancy. Expect less casual talk and more focus on business.

    Tip: don’t waste time trying to get this type of interviewer to like you. Instead, simply convey your work ethic and your professionalism.  Build their respect by making your answers as clear and concise as possible. But be careful not to let their attitude stop you from showing your enthusiasm for the role, or rush you into finishing without providing a full account of your skills.


    Sometimes, an employer will want to see how you react under pressure, which gives rise to this type of interviewer. They may try to put you off by grilling you for details or specific figures that you may not have to hand.    

    Tip: be honest about what you don’t know, and be very clear and detailed with the answers that you do know.  Above all, keep calm and don’t let them scare you into giving rushed, undeveloped answers.


    Though unusual, this type of interviewer can frustrate you by asking naive questions or demonstrating a lack of understanding of the role. 

    Tip: the trick with these types is to make sure you cover all relevant areas, even if they are not asked about, but without sounding condescending.


    Try not to view a job interview as an ordeal. Instead, try to see it as a challenge, and a chance to shine and show what you know.  Keep calm: if you are prepared and professional, the only other thing to remember is to be yourself.  Good luck.

    Did you find this article useful? Do you have your own top job-winning tips?

    This story was published in Student Focus the free magazine available to all ABE members.  Find out more at:

    Thursday, 4 September 2014

    Zarni Htun from Myanmar won the President’s Prize in the December 2013 ABE examinations

    Tell us a bit about yourself – where you’re from, your family, educational background, employment.

    I come from the Delta Zone, but I have been living in Yangon for 10 years. I came here to study business administration at The Institute of Economics in Yangon and, after college, went to work as a human resource officer. Then I heard about ABE and started to study, doing evening courses.

    I am single and live with my sister here in Yangon. I am working as a human resource manager at DKSI, a firm providing market expansion services.

    Why did you choose to study ABE?

    ABE is the only specialist provider of human resource management programmes in Myanmar.
    Where did you study your ABE course?
    I studied at Myanmar Human Resources (MHR), because it has such a good reputation for teaching and results. I really loved my studies at MHR, and also the ABE syllabus.  I use the skills it has taught me every day at work.

    What impression do the public and employers in Myanmar have of ABE?

    Many of my colleagues now study for ABE, after seeing what it has done for me.

    What does winning the ABE President’s Prize mean to you?

    It made me really happy and more confident in my abilities. I heard by phone on the 1st April and thought it must be an April Fool’s joke!  I rang my parents and they were really proud of me  In my family everyone is either a doctor or a government servant, but my parents gave me the freedom to choose my career.
    You have just completed your Level 6 Diploma. What are your immediate plans?

    I plan to do an MBA in Yangon – basically, to continue my studies. 

    What is the best thing about studying with ABE?

    As I said, it’s so relevant to my daily work. For me the best thing was ABE - they introduced study manuals for Human Resource Management (HRM) at Level 5. (You can download all study manuals for Levels 4-6 in the Business Management pathway for free on the QCF Resources section of the Members Area. You can purchase manuals for the HRM-specific subjects at Levels 4 and 5 from BPP at

     What skills have you gained from studying with ABE?

     I have learnt time management, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

     What are your long-term career plans?
     Over the next five to 10 years’ I would like to think that I be leading a human resources department.

     This story was published in Student Focus the free magazine available to all ABE members.  Find out more at:

    Monday, 28 July 2014

    ABE Level 7 graduate tells his story

    ABE was recently visited by Top Paper Award winner and Level 7 graduate David Yevugah.   David had successfully completed the ABE Level 7 Diploma in Business Management in 2012 and used it to top up to an MBA from the University of Northampton by distance learning.  Now, he is visiting the UK for the first time for his graduation ceremony.   

    Those of you who are members of our Facebook Group may have seen David’s own posting about his graduation.  But what you may not know is that he  managed to achieve this whilst working long hours for the Ghana Police Service and teaching part-time.  He is the oldest of seven children and the first in his family to gain a higher level qualification. This is what he had to say…

    Did you find the MBA difficult?  Not really, because I had gone through the same procedure with my ABE Level 7 studies and so I was well prepared for what I had to do.  The ABE qualification serves as a great springboard for Masters level study.

    What made you decide to study ABE?  I chose ABE because of the learning resources it offers.  It meant I could catch up on my studies in between working. I also checked with the universities about which qualifications were recognised for progression and they all recognised ABE.

    What are your hopes for the future?  I hope to do a PhD and become a full time lecturer.  What I enjoy most is imparting knowledge.  I have been offered places on several courses so I am working hard to save enough money to go ahead and realise my dream. 

    Tell us about your job:  I have worked for the Ghana Police Service for ten years.  I work in the training department and took my dissertation in training.  I am also working part-time for local colleges teaching professional courses.

    How has your work benefited from your ABE studies?   My boss says he has noticed a big difference in me. Having this qualification gives you a professionalism and practicality.  Now, he relies on me to check every document before it goes to him.  I encourage all new recruits to the police service to get a professional qualification because of the practicality it gives you and the pride in your reputation and respect from fellow police personnel which makes you strive to be a better person.

    How was it when you started your studies?  When I first started, my study group didn’t take me seriously because I was a policeman and in Ghana there is a perception that policemen are not academic.  I don’t feel I was an exceptional student but I was very determined and hardworking and as a result achieved the Top Paper Award for my year.

    Did you have any setbacks?  I had originally planned to come to the UK and study here to get my MBA but I couldn’t get a sabbatical from the Police Service and I couldn’t risk losing my job so I had to complete the MBA by distance learning.

    What advice would you give anyone thinking of doing this qualification?  ABE qualifications are recognised worldwide. The destiny for the development of Africa and the world as a whole depends on practical and professional education and this can be achieved through ABE.

    All of us at ABE feel proud to be part of David’s journey and wish him every success for the future.  We have no doubt he will make a great lecturer!