The Syllabus of the Personal and Career Development Course on Which the Workbook is Based

Summer 2020



Professional MBA


Dr. Claudio Andres Rivera, Dr. Inese Muzikante (co-instructor)


Tuesdays–Thursday 18.00–21.00


By appointment, Room 201



[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]


1 Suggested books

Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life. Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson

How to develop leadership competences. Pablo Cardona and Pilar Garcia-Lombardia

Growing as a leader. Pablo Cardona and Helen Wilkinson

Virtuous leadership. An agenda for personal excellence. Alexandre Havard

Masters of your destiny. Nuria Chinchilla

2 Cases, articles and other readings

A specific schedule of reading assignments is listed in the following calendar. You are responsible for having assigned texts read before class.

Course Objectives

Personal and Career Development strives to provide students with the capacity for taking small and big decisions with regard of their career and personal development plans. In this course, students learn how to “build and implement their career plan” based on their lives’ bigger picture.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able:

To assess your strengths, interests, and priorities for your career and life

To develop a personal and career development plan

To identify career opportunities, which are aligned with your other personal objectives

To develop an action plan for improving your skills and addressing conflicting goals

To improve your capacity for coaching others

To understand the power of interpersonal relationships and how to keep them in the long run

Course Overview

All of us want to do something remarkable with our lives and our careers. With this course, we want to help you learn how to select your goals and how to use your energy and skills to accomplish them. This course aims to assist you in understanding what success really means for you and how to get there.

We will start the journey by helping you to improve your self-knowledge, discover your values, and build your personal vision. In a second step, we will help you to align your career plan with your other goals in life, your competences, and your context. The program will move forward then to a third part, where we will help you understand how to implement your career and life plans in your daily life. Finally, you will work on your relationships, understanding how to build lasting partnerships within your family, your acquaintances, colleagues, and friends.

Personal and Career Development takes a very practical approach. During the course, we will use state-of-the-art tools and knowledge. Faculty will use evaluation and self-awareness tools and a broad range of activities to identify, enhance, and challenge your capabilities and ideas: simulations, case studies, tests, indoor exercises, group discussions, workshops, coaching, and a bit—only a little bit—of lecturing and reading! In addition, you will maintain a learning log throughout the program to facilitate your reflection.

Electronic Resources

The databases maintained by the RBS library are a valuable student resource. Therefore, it is required that you use this resource during your coursework. There are a selection of readings in the schedule that are found through the databases. In addition, it is expected that you will access current research materials in the databases for your individual assignment. Your ability to correctly use a wide range of literature from the databases will influence your grade on your individual assignment.

Course Requirements and Assignments

There are six assignments that compose your grade: two case write-ups (your choice of cases), one learning log (your choice), Reflected Best Self paper, class participation, a group paper and presentation, and a final paper1. I describe briefly the assignments, though we are going to talk in detail about each one during the first class.

(1) Two Case Write-ups (10% total, 5% for each case write-up) —electronic submission

You are required to submit two case write-ups. You may choose from any of the four cases listed in class schedule. The write-ups should be typed, no more than two pages in length (12 pt. font, single spaced) and consist of your answers to the Discussion Questions posted in ORTUS. The write-ups are meant to help you develop your analytical skills and prepare you for participating in class. Your case write-up is due in class on the day that the case is assigned; no late write-ups will be accepted.

(2) One Learning Log—Choose one option (15%): electronic submission The learning log provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which the issues and concepts raised in class affect you personally and your life career decisions. The questions to be answered in these logs appear as follows. You have the option to select one of these logs and complete it on time. Your learning log should be no more than three pages (double-spaced). I will evaluate the logs based upon how reflective, attractive, practical, and well organized they are.

Learning Log A: To Trust or Not to Trust

Purpose: Trust and integrity are perhaps the most critical values and principles that leaders have. In this learning log, you analyze how you lead through trusting or distrusting others.

1. Think of two people whom you know fairly well: one whom you trust and one whom you do not trust.

2. List the reasons that lead you to trust or distrust each person (no need to identify the real person—use disguised names and identifying information).

3. What do you do to communicate to each person that you trust or do not trust them (i.e., what are the behaviors that you are doing that engender trust or distrust)?

4. What, if anything, could the person you distrust do to earn your trust?

5. Assume you decide to give to the person you distrust a new chance. What words, images, phrases, and metaphors would you see as most critical for conveying or creating a set of principles for your relationship? Justify your choices.

6. What do you have to do to enable this to happen? What do you do to win the trust of others?

Learning Log B: Am I Ready to Take the Risk?

Purpose: People, who have been successful in life and career in the long run, share at least one common characteristic: they really love what they have been doing during most of their lives. However, to do what we love implies often to take certain risks.

1. Pick and describe a project (business, social, personal, etc.) you madly desire to undertake.

2. Explain how the process of implementing this project could impact positively or negatively the four categories of success: happiness, achievement, legacy, and significance.

3. Based upon the project you have identified, which are the 2–3 competencies you realistically think you need to focus on and develop? Please give reasons.

4. Assume you decide to take the risks and undertake the project. What words, images, phrases, and metaphors would you see as most critical for conveying or explaining your motivation and decision? Justify your choices.

(3) Best-Self Portrait (10%)—DUE class no. 5: electronic submission This exercise provides you with feedback about who you are when you are at your best. You will request positive feedback from significant people in your lives, which you will then synthesize into a cumulative portrait of your best-self. The exercise can be used as a tool for personal development because it enables you to identify your unique strengths and talents. The process of getting feedback will begin immediately and your Best-Self Portrait is due in class 5. Your portrait should be approximately 2–4 pages in length (double-spaced, 12 pt. font, 1” margins) and should focus on your interpretation of the feedback you receive. More details will be given in class. However, I strongly recommend that you start as soon as possible. Your Best-Self Portrait will not be evaluated on the basis of who you are, but rather on the quality of your reflection and the ability to express it.

(4) Class Participation (15—Self-assessment and minimum

Because of the nature of the course, attendance and participation are critical and an essential part of your grade. You are expected to attend each class having read all assigned readings and having prepared assignments, case questions, or other discussion points. If a reading assignment is listed as a case, you should be prepared to discuss the case and answer all the assigned questions provided in the course’s materials.

In this course, our goal is to create an environment where you and your classmates could feel confident in participating, discussing, arguing, and sharing. Any behaviors that could harm the learning environment will be evaluated negatively. I commit to be courteous, kind, professional, and have an opinion and respect others’ rights to hold opinions and beliefs that differ from my own. I expect that you will too!

Your class participation grade will be self-assessed. In any case, lack of attendance to the course will imply a reduction of 10 points per absence and 40 percent of the total grade of the course if you do not attend more than seven lectures. Every class will start with a 10-minute team discussion.

(5) Group Project : Presentation and Paper (25%). Group paper due class no. 14. Electronic submission

Presentations will be scheduled on the last days of the class (see syllabus). Your paper is due the last day of class.

In other course assignments, such as the learning logs and the Best-Self Portrait, you will (hopefully) come to understand yourself better, in terms of your values, personality, and behaviors. The objectives of the group project are different:

1. That you could check out your understanding of the main issues of this course with your peers

2. That you could observe the connection between personal development and innovation or crisis

More details will follow in class. Briefly, though, you will work in small groups (of about 5 students/project). You could choose either of the following options. You are required to present your findings in class and submit a paper (approximately 10–15 pp in length). Each student will be asked to complete a peer evaluation.

Option A: Study of managers’ innovation skills

You conduct a study of managers (under condition of anonymity), identifying 3–7 (at international, national, or local level), interviewing them personally and supplementing the interviews with any secondary information. Following a similar protocol of a study published at Harvard Business Review, your study will have three parts:

(a) A questionnaire on managers’ innovation skills

(b) A questionnaire on character strengths (I will provide it)

(c) Other questions your team would like to add

You will be able to run the study among other classmates, if they do not belong to your team.

Option B: Personal development under crisis

Crisis is one of the most relevant grounds for personal development. We will work intensively on this during the course. In the last few years, we have seen no shortage of crises of any sort. Currently, for example, the impact of COVID-19 crisis will be a ground of success and failures for many public and business leaders.

To prompt your ideas, here are some possibilities that could lead to projects (although you are not limited to these):


Reform of Latvian financial sector

Latvijas Bankas crisis

Latvian education system reform

Zolitūdes crisis

Crisis in Ukraine

War in Afghanistan

Hurricane Katrina

9/11 aftermath

Political crisis in Latvia in 2019

Revolution in Egypt

The financial crisis in Latvia


Norway’s massacre of 2011

Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers

As a group, you will need to choose a recent, visible, public crisis and focus on one key aspect (portion) of that crisis. Locate publicly available information on this aspect of the crisis, through the Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, and so on (and, if possibly, contacting any of those involved in the crisis). Focus on understanding how value- and visionbased leadership is effective, ineffective, and/or absent in the situation. Examine:

What vision and values are evident in the crisis? What values are missing?

Where does vision and value-based leadership occur? And, where is it missing? Be sure to examine:

image Individual leaders, both formally appointed and informally emergent

image Organizational, governmental (local, national), societal, cultural, and other systems that may function to support (or not support) vision and value-based leadership and action

Why is this so? Why does vision and value-based leadership emerge where it does…and why is it absent when perhaps it should be working?

From your analysis, please answer to this question: how can you use your values and vision to be helpful in a time of crisis?

(6) Exam—Personal and Career Roadmap: 25% of grade. Hard-copy submission

You are going to submit your final paper on the last day of the course. The paper is set up in a way that will help you to review all the topics we will discuss in class and your own personal learning. More details will follow.

Make-up exams: Make-up exams for the mid-term and the final are generally not given. If there are extenuating circumstances and you must miss an exam, the instructor must be notified ahead of time. The only time a make-up exam can be taken is during the week following the date of the exam. If a student does not notify the instructor of an absence or misses the make-up exam deadline, the exam will not be included in the final grade.


Grading for the course is as follows:



Case memos 2@50 pts each


Learning log


Best-Self Portrait


Group Project


Exam—Personal and Career Roadmap


Class participation—Self-Evaluation Form




Final grades are calculated on the following basis.

> 949





















< 350



Your grades will be updated regularly on the online assistant. Please check to see that your grades are recorded correctly.

Academic Integrity

In an effort to strengthen ethics within Riga Business School (RBS) and the business community, the RBS policy is to take steps to avoid cases of academic fraud. To achieve this, several websites are available to help familiarize you with issues of cheating and plagiarism and how to avoid them. Please review these sights and learn how to correctly reference all of your work. “I didn’t know” will not be an acceptable excuse.

Be aware that any student who turns in written work that is not original with incorrectly referenced sources (i.e., plagiarized) will be subject to the RBS sanctions policy on Academic Fraud (see the policy on the online assistant). Of course, the same consequences apply to academic dishonesty on tests and quizzes.

To find information on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, please visit the links at:

This short presentation on research and plagiarism will also help learn to correctly reference sources and provide good advice on research:

Class Schedule

A specific schedule of readings and assignments is listed next. You are responsible for having assigned readings and assignments read before class. Schedule is provisional; changes will be announced in advance. A number of readings will be handed over to you before the beginning of the course. They will be ordered according to the class where is going to be used.



Pre- readings and submissions

Part 1: Taking ownership of your life

Class 1

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Course opening. Me, Inc. Self-leadership and purpose

•   Test #1 on Development Needs

•   Syllabus intro

20.00–21.00 Inese Muzikante

•   Presentation of the Peer Evaluation Form and Team presentations

•   Best-Self Portrait

•   Suggested reading: book Just Enough by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Part One.

•   “Self-management: self-knowledge, self-control and self-esteem”, Alberto Ribera

Class 2

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Self-awareness: understanding the inner self

•   Personality Test #2

20.00–21.00 Inese Muzikante

•   Presentation of the Personal and Career Roadmap

•   Case study Fernando Ruiz (A, B, and D)

•   Article “ Motivation, Leadership, and Organization: Do American Theories Apply Abroad” by Geert Hofstede

•   Paper “ Cultural values in organizations: insights for Europe” L. Sagiv and
S. Schwartz.

Class 3

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Core Personal Values—The seven levels of values

•   Test #3 on Cultural Differences

•   Test #4 on Personal Values

20.00–21.00 Guest Speaker

•   Case study La Fageda: an outrageous initiative

•   Selected papers of Richard Barret

•   Beyond Selfishness by Mintzberg and others

•   Article The Moral Dilemmas of Modern Society by Charles Handy

•   Suggested reading: book “Building a Values-Driven Organization: A Whole System Approach to Cultural Transformation” by Richard Barrett. Chapters 2 and 5.

Class 4

Indoor/Outdoor Activity

Class 5

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Building a personal vision and strategy

•   Vision building exercise

•   Wrap-up of Part 1

20.00–21.00 Guest Speaker

•   Best-Self Portrait due

•   Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech (2005)—Available on YouTube

•   Movie: Last lecture of Randy Pausch. We will screen it on a specific day but you could watch it in your own.

•   Suggested reading: Vision Competency: the direction of the leader, excerpt from book Leadership: from Mystery to Mastery by Larry Stout

•   Suggested reading: book “ Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl

Part 2: Taking ownership of your career

Class 6

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Managing the career by personal vision.

•   The Kaleidoscope strategy

20.00–21.00 Inese Muzikante

•   Debriefing Best-Self Portrait

•   Learning Log – Q&A

•   Personal and Career Development Roadmap part 1 due

•   Movie: “Citizen Kane”

•   Technical note on the Kaleidoscope strategy by C. Rivera

•   Suggested reading: book Just Enough by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Part Two.

Class 7

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Assessment of context and competencies

20.00–21.00 Inese Muzikante

•   General feedback of Roadmaps

•   Personal and Career Development Roadmap 2nd part - Q&A

•   VIA signature strengths questionnaire (instructions in class)

•   Excerpt from book “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators” by Jeff Dyer and others

Class 8

Career development plan

•   Learning Log due

•   Case study Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A)

Class 9

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   Competences Development plan

•   Risk, recovery, and resilience

•   Wrap-up of Part 2

20.00–21.00 Guest Speaker

•   Materials uploaded in ORTUS

Part 3: Taking ownership of your daily agenda

Class 10

18.00–20.00 Claudio Rivera

•   GROW Model

•   Life Balance and Time Management

20.00–21.00 Inese Muzikante

•   Last assignments – Q&A

•   Personal and Career Development Roadmap part 2 due

•   Selected materials on Virtuous Leadership

•   Character strengths and virtues (technical note) by Alberto Ribera

•   Suggested reading: book Just Enough by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Part Three and book Virtuous Leadership by Alexandre Havard

Class 11

•   Growing through coaching and sports spirit

•   General feedback of Roadmaps

•   Wrap-up of Part 3

•   Team experience with coaching

Class 12

•   The art of friendship and partnership

•   Personal development network exercise

•   Personal and Career Development Roadmap part 3 due

•   Case study Victorinox: 125 Years in the Cutting Edge

•   Persuasion: a rhetorical approach (technical note) by Prof. Brian O.C. Legget

•   Article Managing Multicultural Teams by Brett and others

13 16-06

•   1st session of group presentations

Class 14

•   2nd session of group presentations

•   Informal closing of course

•   Group Paper due

•   Personal and Career Development Roadmap due

1 Assignments Learning log and Reflected Best Self are modifications of similar assignments used in the course Principled Leadership at Goizueta Business School.

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