Facing My Fears

Team 7
Team 7

I have two fears, spiders and heights! When filling out our team charter during the foundation week we were asked for our fears, some had a fear of failure, some death or illness and other quite profound and meaningful fears. Please excuse my scepticism as a medic, but most of those things are inevitable so they were not top of my list. What did make the sceptic doctor’s list was spiders and heights.

To help our group hit the road running we decided to do a team bonding activity. Well done to Daire for the suggestion! I had imagined a few drinks but being that two of us live a considerable distance from Dublin that was not the easiest to organise. So out to Extreme Sports in Santry with us for a sky climb. Sorry, what… a SKY CLIMB??? Can you imagine the horror on my face when I heard! I had thought of every excuse under the sun to cancel but I couldn’t! One of my team members remembered my fear and the group kindly offered to change the activity, but there was no way I could lose face! I knew deep down it was an irrational fear but it was a very real one, but I simply could not back down.

Total Horror!
Total Horror!

So shaking one Wednesday afternoon, I began the drive from the Midlands to Santry! I got there a little early, just to try to prepare myself, (punctuality is not a strength of mine!), but that did little to relay my fears. As i stood looking up at this course almost twenty meters high a sense of nausea overtook me.

We each got strapped into the harness and began the climb up the tower, I had an impending sense of doom! Something akin to what the prisoners on the green mile might feel! I realised I had another fear, I wasn’t ready to die! My team mates were fantastic about it, they quickly realised that this was no ordinary fear but a real earth shattering, freeze on the spot kind of fear! What made the climb a even worse was the fact that there was two levels! I was weak at the knees, praying for a hurricane to land but my prayers were not answered!

Our instructor was amazing and helped me every step of the way, literally every step because as soon as he let go of my hand I froze! But what really made the difference was the kind words of support and encouragement I was getting from my team mates, they really wanted me to finish and really didn’t want to let them down.

Elegance and Agility from Findan and Laura
Elegance and Agility from Findan and Laura

I am proud to say that I completed the course, not in the most stylish of manners, I was like a sack of potatoes compared to Laura’s gymnastic type manoeuvres. But between the team fighting for me and sheer determination I came out the other side, with a slightly less fear of heights and a new group of friends!

This is how I envisage the EMBA to work out, we all will have our moments when we need that little extra bit of help and encouragement from others, but together we will all get each other to the finish line!

Christine Kiernan, Laura Tunney, Daire Nolan, Findan Cox ~ Executive MBA, Team 7

Teamwork – The Importance of Resolution

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I’m one month into the Full-Time MBA experience and my mindset has shifted drastically from what I thought going into this experience. I came in thinking about the grades I wanted to get and courses I wanted to take. I knew that team work would be important but I didn’t give much consideration as to how important it would be and the drastic impact it is having on my overall experience.We spend time in our groups talking about recent classes, discussing cases, talking about the news, project work and brainstorming. Now that is a lot of different types of discussions and takes place for each of our six classes; we spend an astronomical amount of time together. A large part of this programme is teamwork: deliveries you have as a group and learning from your team members sometimes more so from the textbooks and classes you have.onemonth

The Smurfit MBA Programme is structured in such a way that allows you to form deep bonds quicker than you normally would with a work colleague or new friend. This is particularly true with your specific work team (5-6 people) which you deliver each group project with in each of your courses. In addition to the deeper connections, this environment also allows for hard discussions and conflict to arise rapidly; the challenge is to work through and resolve these issues. Resolution is necessary not just because you have multiple deliverables to still get together to try to sweep issues under the rug, it is because these relationships are important for this year, after this year is over and for the rest of your life and career.

The MBA Programme Office Team do a tremendous job in providing tools to facilitate team work, better understanding yourself and others. We are learning more about ourselves through programmes which give information on: your personality, strengths, work outlook, communication style, coaching and opportunity for reflection. We are also learning more about how to work in a team: team dynamics, personal and work sharing opportunities and dedicated time devoted to team development.

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Yesterday, my group was submitting a second strategy paper (hard to believe we have already delivered two assignments!) and reflecting on how much we have learned in this short time from our first paper to our second paper. One of the best experiences so far is the opportunity to work with a great group of people, learn from each other, challenge each other and ultimately grow together and separately. I am happy to say my main focus is no longer on the grades but on the learning and developing I’m getting as I go through this programme, which I’ll take with me long after this year is over.

Carley Wasechek ~ Full-Time MBA