Sitting in my group down in the “dungeons” and looking around, I see 5 pairs of squinting eyes staring intently at laptop screens with eyebrows furrowed in concentration as we work on 3 projects/assignments concurrently. Up on the board in our group room, we have 6 looming project deadlines scribbled in big red font all of which seem to be within a few days of each other and the last of which reads “EXAMS!!!”. Between preparing for the final startup pitch, leadership essays, and group macroeconomics project, it’s hard to believe that the pace has continued to pick up even beyond what we thought was a crescendo with the integrative exercises. Even more incredible, is how our group dynamics have been forged by the fires of stress and pressure to make us orders of magnitudes more efficient than we were when we set out. If you would have asked me last month how much excess work capacity we have left, I would have answered “hardly any”. But somehow, we have evolved how we work to the point that we can do a full analysis of a case and prepare slides and a 15-minute presentation in an impossibly short amount of time.
I’ve worked on teams and in groups for most of my career but I don’t think I truly understood how powerful a group with seemingly nothing in common can become over the course of a couple of months. When you’re subjected to an impossibly large amount of work you learn how to optimally leverage each group member’s strengths to deliver as quickly as possible and become greater than the sum of your parts. I initially thought that 3 months was a long time to be in one group of 6 people but I now know that there are certain learnings that you don’t realize until you’ve felt the grind for some time. And so, as our time together as a group comes to an end in a couple of weeks, I do feel sad and know that I will miss working with my 5 compatriots very much. But I also think that what I’ve learned working with the group over the past few months will make me that much better in the next group.
On a more fun note, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the class trip to Chamonix and the Nespresso factory visit last week. As a way to blow off some steam from the pressure cooker, we all went up to Chamonix in France for a morning of snow-shoeing and a fantastic fondue lunch. Leaving the IMD bubble was definitely a welcome escape and some of us chose to stay an extra night in Chamonix for a beautiful sunny day of skiing the next day. This combined with a class trip to the Nespresso factory (see pictures in the previous post) last week to see the coffee pod making process allowed us to mentally disconnect for a couple of half-days and spend some time with our classmates doing something most of us have never done before.
Another few twists to break from the routine of classes every day come in the form of guest speakers that add a real-world element to the theories we’re learning. These guest speakers are often the subject of the cases we’re assigned to read before class and we’re often surprised to find them in class adding some colour with their experiences. We then often break out in groups and provide recommendations to them to help them solve real issues. These guest speakers range from senior executives at large multinational companies to entrepreneurs at smaller businesses. In all cases, I’ve been very impressed with this aspect of the program.
Now I have to sign off and chip away at those big red deadlines on our board!
Til next time!