One quarter of our MBA life has passed and reflecting on this time at IMD reminds me of the old Chineseadage, “Never do to others what you would not like done to you,” by Confucius, as well as the Bible saying, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” from Luke 6:31
Over the past three months, I have worked with different classmates across five projects: one team for our start-up project; one group for the first module; another for the second module; one global virtual team with Yale MBA students; and one temporary team for a group assignment. Coming from different cultures, with varied work backgrounds and experience, and having different expectations, has been a process full of wonder, excitement, happiness, and frustration, and has taught me the following learnings:
Don’t feel ashamed to turn to others for help
During the first module, accounting and finance became a headache for many people in our cohort, including myself. Although I participated in almost all extra tutoring at weekends, I struggled to understand some key concepts and was starting to panic. Talking to friends about my anxiety made me feel better. Turning to my cohort for help, also gave me confidence ahead of my exams. In particular, I appreciated the support from Tomás Pérez Bacchi, William Reindorf-Partey, Ankit Gupta, and Akmal Adrianza.
Conflict is not always bad, knowing how to resolve it is key
My Module 1 team started to work together at the end of January during the mountain experience. While we barely knew each other, we were all open and agreed on how we’d resolve any difference in opinion. We also agreed on other things such as how we’d conduct group discussions for each project and started the Module 1 journey with a rough team contract. My team worked together efficiently, and we delivered the best results we could in a limited time. We had different opinions of course for many reasons; it was not easy to get other team mates on board with your opinions. Or sometimes it just took a bit more time to get your idea across. How to cope with such cases became important. We chose not to ignore different ideas, instead, we chose to ‘vote’ if we had disagreements!
As a result, we achieved the highest gross margin in the global supply chain management simulation as a team!
Give ourselves and others one more chance
We were assigned to work virtually with Yale MBA students on a project, alongside the other projects we were working on with our IMD cohort. The six hours’ time difference and the short project timeline made it exponentially difficult to collaborate with each other. The first meeting didn’t go well, and I was upset by the behavior of some of the team members. I could have walked away. But I chose to give it a shot and tried to move the project forward. And I had a chance to get to know myself better. In the end, my virtual team worked out the project.
As one of the alumni shared with me, how much you gain from your IMD MBA year depends on how much you put in along the journey. I still have some time to figure out how to get the most from this wisdom! Until next time.