It’s October, and my cohorts and I have nearly completed our first term. The last seven weeks have involved reaching back and remembering how to find the derivative of an equation and how to study effectively. Additionally, we have picked up, or are in the process of picking up, new skills.
Some of us, for example, have no prior experience working with teams, and many of us have not worked with teams to the extent we are working with them now. Three of our four classes have team assignments and, in one class, team assignments make up 40% of our final grade (to be fair, the word “teamwork” is the title of the course).
For the most part, teamwork is fun. Just yesterday, my team delivered an oral presentation on Apple’s corporate culture and leadership norms. We served up a reenactment of an executive committee meeting and a viewing of Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial (along with the facts, of course). It was pretty fun to plan and perform the presentation. My team and I jumped at the opportunity to challenge each other to think up the next over the top idea that would wow the audience. After a week of statistics, economics, accounting, and leadership analysis, it was a nice “break.”
Fun as they are, team assignments have their challenges. First, there is the issue of dedication. Do you feel like your team members are as invested in shared projects as you are? There is also direction. Do you like where the team is taking an assignment? If you don’t, can you live with it?
Finally, there is ego. If you are thinking of applying to business school, then I’m guessing you are a confident person and you think you’re pretty special. You probably have various statistics and numbers to back up your claim. This is a great quality (and good for you for researching your claims)! Once you enter into an MBA program, however, you will be surrounded by people who similarly like to quantify their greatness. Again, none of this is bad, but it is an adjustment that many of us are making on the fly.
In the mean time, it feels good to be surrounded by so many smart people. There are days when I leave frustrated because I didn’t do something as well as I wanted to, but I use that frustration to be better, and I usually am. You will be, too. It’s the nature of the MBA program.