One of the most common things I was told when I mentioned that I would be starting an MBA program to friends and family was, "You are going to do a lot of group projects." That sentence was interesting for me because I couldn't tell if they meant it positively or negatively!
As a kid, I did tons of group projects in school. But as you grow older, you tend to start working by yourself more, and you find out what working style is best for you. For example, I tend to like to do my work quickly and efficiently and be done with it. I don't like to edit forever or make many changes. I generally work very hard very quickly, and then I'm done. And I hardly ever go back to my work because I believe I've done what I can, and typically, I have 6 other projects that need to be completed! But many people are not like this. Everyone has their own work style, and as adults, we have really discovered what works best for us!
I think one of the best parts of ISM (and the reason many of us chose this program) is the number of international students and how much we learn from other cultures and countries. I feel the professors make it very much part of the curriculum to have students work together as much as possible. What I have realized, though, is that this is not just for the sake of a class project, but it is how our work lives will be when we leave ISM. For many of us who want to work internationally in the business world, collaborating with others is a crucial element of many projects. But what happens when you work with someone and you don't agree with everything they say?
Our class projects are challenging because we are struggling against a tight three-day deadline, and we usually have a presentation worth a huge portion of our grade at stake. This can cause tensions to rise and tempers to flare. And of course, everyone thinks their idea is the best idea! That is why we are here, because we are bright and educated students with tons of ideas, and we usually have our own ways of completing an assignment. But to make a class project successful, collaboration and compromise are necessary.
ISM does a great job at having us mimic real-world projects to show how we might deal with them under time pressure and while working with others. Using emotional intelligence, understanding, and compromise seems to be the only way to have a successful and easy group project experience, and I look forward to many more collaborations in the rest of my classes!