Teamwork on the MBA

From left: Fergus O’Dea, Nihar Panda, Nicole Blair, Prof. Pat Gibbons, Dr. Brian McGrath, Phillip O’Sullivan and Donnchadh Casey

One of the most challenging and fulfilling parts of the MBA is the significant element of group work required by the majority of our subjects. Learning to manage the different styles, cultures and timekeeping habits of our colleagues has been the source of more than one disagreement this year! But I have seen how team diversity, if properly managed, can drive a team to be greater than the sum of its parts.

I have been extremely fortunate to be part of two great work teams this year and that trend continued as I joined my friends Donnchadh, Nicole, Nihar and Philip on a team for the MBA case study competition. The process began with stiff competition from my fellow full time colleagues, and then the winner would take on a team of UCD Executive MBA students. The eventual winner would then represent UCD at the annual MBA case competition this summer in Dublin.

It is a testament to the ambition and dedication of our class that 15 students, comprising three teams (somehow) found time to dedicate themselves to this competition. We met early in the morning to be presented with a case study, and were then given 4 hours to analyse the case and prepare a presentation of our findings for a discerning panel of judges; Michael McDonnell, Prof. Pat Gibbons, and Dr. Brian McGrath.

We retired to a syndicate room when a brief period of calm while we read the case was quickly followed by a flurry of debate as we tried to corral the stampede of ideas into a coherent presentation. After the quickest four hours I can remember, we were slightly dazed, but ready to present. The MBA class of 2012 have become adept at preparing slick presentations, and the level of preparation has included an incredible adaptation of Toy Story 3, and some trademark guerrilla film making from Stephen Smith. The case study competition was excellent in forcing us to get back to basics and to present without the same level of preparation that we would usually put in. I was very impressed by all three presentations each of which dissected the case from a different perspective and offered various solutions for the company in question to move forward.

The Competition!

All of the teams would have done the full-time class proud, but I’m delighted to report the judges favoured our presentation, and we were awarded first prize and the right, along with the second placed team, to face the Executive MBA team in the next round.

From my experience of the Exec’s they will no doubt raise the bar further and it is up to us to match them if we are to go on to face the other MBA’s from across the country and live up to the achievements of last year’s team.

– Fergus O’Dea, Full-time MBA 2011/12