The Five Stages of Grief: A beginner’s story to business school group projects

September 12th, 2012 by under academics, student life. No Comments.

Stage 1: Denial

In the first week of class, our Managerial Economics and Public Policy team formed and quickly requested to present a case early in the term in order to complete the assignment before our other class work heats up.

It is now our first meeting, at 1:00pm on a Friday and we have already patted ourselves on the back for the previous decision to select an early presentation date within the term, “We really made a good choice guys.” We have also thanked the team member who recognized that our selection of an early date meant that we needed to meet ASAP, “Thanks for staying on top of things!”

We are each happy to be in a team where everyone comes to the meeting prepared, “Great work everyone” – with the case read and where we can readily begin to divide up work. We happily create a shared document to share our portions of the appropriately divided up paper and are confident we will complete the work in time despite deadlines in other courses.

Stage 2: Anger

It is meeting number two, if you can call it that. The time is now 4:30pm on Tuesday, which gives each of us roughly 25 minutes before we separate to our respective Employer and Club events. We have been working on the shared document and realize that this meeting is no longer about final edits but to re-write our entire paper. We are crammed around a circular table in the basement student lounge near our lockers in the hopes that we won’t be interrupted by classmates. Incorrect. Everyone is suiting up for their events and frequently, people have come over to inquire about our furrowed brows and looks of exasperation.

When someone begins to discuss off topic subjects, the group acknowledges the comment as mutinous. We realize that we have limited time to complete this project and are going to need to meet again after each of our evening commitments finish at 9:30pm. Jokes are being made, but everyone is frustrated.

Stage 3: Depression

We are now at meeting number three, it is now 10:00pm on Tuesday, and we now acknowledge that we each need to complete other work for our additional class the next day prior to this presentation. We have lost a team member who has yet to arrive in the Caserooms.

No one ate at their respective events prior to this meeting. So we are hungry and beginning to fade. We briefly pat ourselves on the back for figuring out how to Skype someone in to the meeting and have his face be projected onto the flat screen TV.. until we watched him fall asleep mid discussion.

There is a brief moment of redemption when a few Second Year Students knock on the door with leftovers to share with us for dinner – pizza, hummus and veggies. Our gratitude is only surpassed by the realization that although our team of five has now dwindled to three, we still have at minimum three hours to go.

Stage 4: Acceptance

We are at meeting number four and the time is now 12:30pm – 30 minutes until our presentation. We have partially assembled ourselves in the hallway outside of our classroom and are clustered around chairs going over our notes. At 20 minutes to go, we have finally found all five team members. We each share our portions with the group and seek out last minute feedback regarding answers as we try to shake our nerves.

At 15 minutes to go, we realize what we have is what we have, so we print and pass around the bound copy of our paper.
We see the other team that will be presenting on the same case, and for a moment, feel a glimmer of hope as they too look nervous and they are unclear whether or not they have correctly broken down the case.

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