The more things change, the more they stay the same

I am writing this blog post one month into the second semester of our MBA programme. This timing lead me to recall a previous post made one month into the start of our 1st semester and I was astounded as to how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same.

The first notable change is that the subjects from the 1st semester are a thing of the past and we have 7 new courses to take their place. I have specifically enjoyed the greater second semester focus on the people issues of business, and I am thoroughly enjoying the new organisational behaviour, strategies for human resources and negotiations modules. The negotiations module in particular has brought home to me the necessities of the softer skills in business and the small group role-plays, of settling supplier disputes or haggling over the price of a production facility, have been valuable in improving my negotiation skills.

A second noted changed in this semester is my increased involvement in university extra-curricular activities. Following the first semester relocation rush of having to organise bank accounts, cell phones, accommodation, transport, timetables, and the like, I have signed myself up for the MBA rugby and football clubs this semester, as well as the regional case competition. The Monday night football and Friday night rugby are already highlights of the week as it is wonderful to interact with class mates in a social sporting setting. Forming part of a multi-national team, most of whom are playing the sport for the very first time, has been a recipe for some of the most entertaining experiences of the MBA thus far.

Further noted changes are that in my opinion the weather has turned the corner and I am feeling confident that it is warming, although my Irish class mates warn me not to get too presumptuous. This semester’s changes also include the much anticipated international study trip where I have selected the Brazil option and we will be splitting our 10 day trip between businesses in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Cant wait!

As much as this semester is a change from the first, some things are as regular as clockwork. The course assignments continue to flow as a never ending waterfall of deliverables, and the presentations continue to be due weekly. We are again this semester allocated into small group teams with my primary team this time consisting of an Irish lad and lass, as well as a lady from Vietnam and an Indian gentleman. We have a further 2 additional teams for our 2 optional subjects and I again have a diverse national mix of American, Canadian, Irish, Vietnamese and Indian team mates. Based on the deep friendships cultivated within my small group team of last semester, I am excited by the number of new teammates and the prospects of deepening friendships with more people in our class.

Finally for good measure the MBA staff are still the same and it is great to have built up real friendships with the coordinators of the programme. I am again feeling very privileged to be spending this time in such a quality institution and can feel myself making life memories almost every step of the way. Here’s to another great MBA semester.

Neil Krige

– Neil Krige,  FT MBA12/13