Exactly two months ago we started this amazing journey into the MBA program and yet it feels like we have been here much longer. From learning to critically analyze a term sheet in the entrepreneurship class to preparing free cash flows in the finance class, we have learnt a lot. But more importantly, we have had a chance to put our learning into practice through the integrative exercise. Having heard all kinds of rumors about the rigor and the sleep deprivation we would be subjected to, I was not sure how it would all work out. And yet all of us survived!
As I reflect back on the 48 hours that went by, I realize that the exercise is a mirage or a rabbit hole in some way. By the virtue of the fact that there is no right or wrong solution to the problem, the job lies in coming up with a solution that could potentially work and every route that you take has its own challenges. Thus I believe that the point of the exercise lies not in solving the problem, but building consensus as a team and working in ways to harmonize each member’s strength. And in the process we learn to filter and analyze lot of data, make realistic assumptions under uncertainty and solve problems on the way.
What has amazed me the most in these last days is how time crisis actually brought about the best in us as a team. And despite the stress, we managed to laugh a lot and sleep for a bit too! No excel and power points were lost and we managed to make it on time to present. We had huge gaps in the presentation to start with and the board’s feedback made us think critically, address the gaps in our analysis and question some of our assumptions. It can never be perfect, but all in all it ended well. If I were to sum up my leanings from this exercise, it would be the following:
Big picture to small: Brainstorming and putting every idea on the board as a team always helps bring all those problems to the fore which we never thought of individually. Needless to say this goes a long way in coming up with a better hypothesis.
Agility: Half way through solving the problem, one could realize that half the assumptions made were wrong and we need to be flexible enough to accept the same and adapt fast.
Presentation: Last but not the least is all that has been hypothesized and thought about has to reflect in the power point for the jury to see.
While most of this sounds like common sense, we can lose perspective under time constraints and stress and this exercise is a stark reminder of the same. All said and done, this experience unlike a few others is very unique to IMD. Some of us love it a lot and others not so much, yet it bonds us to other IMDers in a very special way. We can shout, fight or cry in the moment but in posterity we all smile 🙂
Team Hydromea after 36 hours ! From left to right :Mo Allam, Kemeng Jiao,Will Chiou, Thibault Acolas, Xi Zhang