Does Working in Groups Work?

by Alex C. Hess, Graduate Ambassador

With being the final semester of my MBA program I have been in my fair share of groups. Matching the schedules of the group members is always the first challenge. The second is balancing the skill the set of each member. Members have differing strengths with research, in writing, in Excel analytics, and in giving professional presentations. Initially it can be frustrating when other group members don’t have the same skill set as you. Channeling that frustration to create a productive team is not easy, but very satisfying when it is done right. The MBA experience is more than just achieving superior academic performance, it is learning how to manage and work with people of different backgrounds and skill sets.

It has been mentioned that having a diverse work environment does not make the environment better it only makes it more diverse. Yet this is a current issue that will face MBA graduates working in a global business environment – having to deal with multi-cultural backgrounds to achieve a desired result. The international MBA students have strengths and weaknesses just as domestic MBA students have strengths and weaknesses. The art of good management is to form groups where the strengths of one individual complement the weakness of another.

Working in an academic/business group is similar to making a marriage work. At times there will be power struggles, disagreements, misunderstandings, and frustration while other times are full of joy, synergy, success, and purpose. The obligation of all participants is to be committed to toil together to achieve victory over adversity.

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