The GMAT is well known to all MBA students as the meter by which candidates can qualify for selection for most Business Schools. The numerical and verbal aspects are necessary content in what is essentially an exam testing Executive Reasoning, the ability to prioritise your time and make effective decisions under substantial time pressure. At the time I thought little of it but looking back the same principles have universally applied since the 28th of August. We are drawing towards the end of February and it feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground since Christmas. That small extra hour of brightness in the evening makes it that much easier, somewhere in the back of my mind I know that it’s not too long now until I’ll see my car during daylight hours!
Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow you’ve gotta to put up with the rain” and it never seemed more apt than over the last few weeks with assignments due dates coming thick and fast and the small matter of our Global Virtual Teams (GVT) project.
Forecasting aspects such as re-order quantities, job wait times, customer contract values and most importantly revenues, myself, Karl McEntegart and our two counterparts from Yale SOM managed our own virtual production facility for the week.
What started out as a friendly, co-operative atmosphere in the MBA suite early on Monday morning turned quickly into levels of secrecy and espionage not seen since the Cold War. Incognito meetings and guarded secrets regarding customer orders levels and optimal machine utilisation rates were commonplace as we were pitted against our classmates in a winner takes all competition to see who would finish the week with the greatest cash balance.
The jostling for top position amongst the 160 teams was akin to the Grand National at times and the competitive streak of certain individuals came to the fore. Despite the much-publicised traffic laws in this country, one unnamed Full Time MBA Student was heard to complain that he couldn’t check inventory levels on his phone whilst driving in to college.
We worked well with our American counterparts, dividing the workload evenly and playing to our respective strengths as we set out our action plan for the week. Our new-found appreciation for operations management was put to a stern test throughout and regular Skype calls and WhatsApp messages at unsociable hours re-assured us that our Yale team mates were as invested in the process as we were.
We finished off on Friday evening in a respectable 51st position after working our way back from an early hiccup which set us back on the previous Sunday night. Pats on the back all around, except for one team from the Full Time class, who somehow managed to sell off their machines for scrap rather than purchasing additional units.
All in all, this was a unique and enjoyable experience, giving valuable insight into the challenges of working across time-zones and cultures towards a common goal. It’s interesting to note that during the same week I also negotiated the sale of a high quality smart phone platform, participated in an invaluable mock interview with a Manager from a large consultancy firm, underwent an interview skills workshop, a career coaching session and negotiated funding for the MBA Rugby World Cup which nine of our class will be attending in Danville, VA in April.
Between now and then we have the small matter of the ‘Doing Business in International Markets’ module which will take us to Santiago and Lima. Having already spent a week in NUS in Singapore for GNAM in October, the international focus of the course is obvious. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we have been together for six months at this stage- as I said, it feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground.
Peter Condon, Full Time MBA 2017-2018