One of the key aspects of the SFU MBA experience is the program’s cohort-based learning structure in which a group of students are assigned to specific teams for an entire semester and together they work on projects and assignments across multiple courses. This model was especially beneficial to me as I was returning to school after a long gap from academia. The supportive environment allowed me to easily adapt to the high paced schedule with less stress than would have been the case otherwise. In my past professional experiences, I had the opportunity to lead and work with a diverse group of people both male and female of different ages, who came from different cultures and with varied perspectives, but there was one thing common among us – our engineering background. It was easier to converse and collaborate using the subject matter expertise of our functional areas or technology domain. But it was a completely different experience for me with my MBA group in the first semester. We were a group of 6 students with diverse backgrounds including our education and professions and each of us brought so much energy and learning to our group meetings that it made the whole experience conducive to learning, challenging and fun.
It is said that “Teamwork makes the Dream Work”, therefore it is important for every team member to develop trust, respect and care for each other to achieve positive synergy and effective communication within the team. To accomplish this working relationship and strengthen our team dynamics, we were asked to develop a team charter at the beginning of our leadership course. This activity gave us the time to bond and share our personal and professional stories, identify our strengths and weakness, set the ground rules and define commitments and craft a sincere team purpose that we would all adhere to going forward. And it surely helped us focus on our objectives, deal with disagreements, measure our progress and excel in all our group assignments for the rest of the semester. The most fun experience out of all our group projects was towards the end of the term for the “Managing People and Organizations” course when we had to make a movie using the course concepts as part of our final presentation. It was indeed a creative adventure and an enjoyable opportunity that has provided us with a cherished artifact and has bonded us all into a lifelong friendship.
Our team mantra was to learn and grow together and I can confidently say that by supporting and encouraging each other, we have learnt from our failures, survived our weaknesses and enhanced our personal development by soliciting feedback from each other.
Spoorthy Takkallapalli is a full-time MBA candidate at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She is originally from India and has experience working and completing her education in the United States. She completed a Bachelor’s of Technology from JNT University and a Master of Science from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and has experience in software engineering and program management. She is currently serving as a Beedie student ambassador and is looking forward to new opportunities in Strategy and product management upon completion of the MBA program. You can find more about her on LinkedIn or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org