It was in February of 2014, I was set to join the Executive MBA cohort at CEU Business School in Budapest. At the beautiful Munich International airport, I was waiting to board my flight to Budapest when suddenly I noticed the headline on the newspaper that my fellow traveler was reading. It was about demand for MBA graduates slowing down. I was about to begin my MBA journey the next day, this was not the kind of news I wanted to see or hear. I reassured myself – it must be a PR piece and nothing to do with actual job market situation.
Over the next 2 years, many events unfolded right in front of us, jobs are still there, but probably our CVs do not match those job descriptions. We also learned, analyzed and debated the reasons for mismatch in CV and job description. What new jobs are going to be there in 5 – 10 years from now, what skills we needed to acquire to still be able to make a difference. We also listened to and learned from others who navigated this path before us. We learned from the history, recent and far, studied the cases of some of the corporate world’s best and worst moves. We made friends and partied till dawn.
Before the MBA, I had set myself few goals and expectations, now that the course has ended, this is the right time to share what I learned from it and how it can help you.
We were “made to work” with each other during the MBA orientation program itself, I’m pretty sure all my fellow students remember how it went. It is difficult to answer – how much time do you need? – when you don’t know what the expected outcome is. And this is precisely what did the trick for me. Nobody knows the answer. There is no right or wrong answer. In business, we are always faced with such situations and need to choose a direction based on limited information. There are decisions made based on facts and figures at a certain point in time and acted upon.
Our first study groups were formed by student services office based on diversity, but they kept changing for every class and when students got the freedom to build their own groups, it followed a certain pattern too, diversity however, did not seem to be a criteria. This made me realize that diversity and inclusion is not natural to many individuals and cultures. This explains why diversity initiatives are so much in vogue in corporate world right now. Diversity must be consciously introduced in workplaces and partially enforced to make it work.
Not being in Budapest was sometimes a disadvantage for me, it would have been much more productive to meet all teammates and discuss things face-to-face. The teams I worked with most, had members in Budapest, Szeged, Munich and Kiev, sometimes Larnaca, Belgrade and Warsaw were also added to the mix for more fun. With this setup, Skype calls were the only option. I must also say that it got easier as we did projects after projects together and got to know each other better. Tasks that used to take days in the 1st trimester, could be completed in hours by 5th, 6th trimester. How you setup and work with your team will affect your learning experience significantly.
I’m curious to know how your group study experience was. How did it affect your learning experience positively or negatively? Share it in comments section.