My MBA team-work journey

Three weeks ago, in the OB class, we had a discussion about team dynamic. Listening to my classmates discussing challenges in a multi-national team reminded me of interesting team-work experiences I have since the beginning of the semester.

As I imagined, one big part of the MBA journey is for us to learn how to work in a diversified team. Just similar to how it is in real life, we are normally not allowed to choose our team members. People with different nationalities, genders, backgrounds, and characteristics are put into teams based on a mystery rule decided by the MBA Office. In these teams, the Peacocks have to work with the Dolphins, the Hubs work with the Greens, the Extroverts work with the Introverts; and it creates room for interesting yet sometimes painful experiences.

In Semester 1, I was assigned into Team 8 with one Russian and two Irish. Teamwork, as what it actually happened to us, was a real journey in which each team member had to continuously learn and adjust to work well with others. During our 5 month journey with around 20 group presentations and assignments for 7 modules, we first experienced a painful time when we had such huge conflicts that we decided “diversity does not work and we need consultation”. Frank communication and continuous commitments helped us overcome that challenge.  Adjustment to each other learning styles (for example Pavel prefers practical ideas and Richie is deeply in-love with tables and frameworks), together with initiatives such as setting agenda and controlling time for each meeting also enabled us to stay focus and work more effectively. Things became easier and easier and we managed to have more time to talk to each other outside of work. I got to know that Richie had two kittens – Gleason and Sheeran, and James’s family always eats their home-grown turkeys at Christmas.

In semester two, we have two different groups (one for Negotiation and one for the remaining subjects); and then a final group for Capstone project. I believe what we have learnt will sharpen our skills to cope with real-life teamwork issues and enable us to make the most of team dynamic in our post-MBA lives.

Thu Dieu Ngo

– Thu Dieu Ngo, FT MBA and IDEAS Programme 2012/13