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Team Academy – trip to the wild west of management education

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It is difficult to compare TA with other management schools because it is so radically different. However, a lot of thought has clearly gone into the teaching methods, which have been continually monitored and refined. Despite the apparent lack of structure, there is clearly rigour in the assessment process – the birthing sessions are exams in all but name, and not many business schools also evaluate their students' businesses.

It's also hard to argue with their employment rate – a key metric for all higher education institutions in the current climate. Perhaps the greatest strength of TA is that it allows students to experience the business world, but in a supportive environment where they can make mistakes and where the main objective is to learn. And the ability to cope with chaos and uncertainty is a highly useful skill in a world dominated by credit crunch and recession.

It's also hard to argue with the fact that whereas many students graduate into debt, the prize for TA students is a round-the-world trip, financed through their earnings while studying. Paula and Henna are both looking forward to theirs. "It's two months' holiday", says Paula, "I will just reward myself for all the hard work I have done." They have certainly both earned their reward.

Editor's note: Information on action learning taken from "Generating a drive for collaborative learning through the use of action learning sets – the experience of post graduate students on a professional programme", by Marilyn Farmer, Jill Walters and Wendy Yellowly, available at

Read more about TA in Hanna Heikkinen's viewpoint, "Team Academy, a story of a school that learns", in Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 7-9.