Richard Barnard– Current student of the International MBA program Class of 2010 and Fellow student at IE Business School, writes again about his experience.

For the International MBA (IMBA) class of 2011 academic classes have now commenced and the workload pressure is building. In Term 1 our classes span the topics of: financial accounting, entrepreneurial management, information systems, organizational behavior, marketing fundamentals, managerial economics, quantitative analysis and social responsibility.

A key factor in the first 10 days of classes has been getting to know my work group colleagues. On the IMBA program at IE Business School learning is facilitated through the case study methodology, with work tasks (assignments, exercises, projects, presentations) completed by small work groups of on average 7 students. Binding the disparate individuals that form these work groups is a challenging endeavor for the new IMBA students, but one they must all achieve well if they are to succeed in the IMBA program, as the majority of the grade for each subject is assigned for group work deliverables.

IE Business School prides itself rightly on the diversity of the IMBA student demographic. IE’s IMBA staff team select which students are assigned to each work group based on the criteria of creating as diverse, interesting and positive a working environment as possible for the students. This results in multi-national work groups with individuals from all sectors.

For example, my work group includes colleagues from Japan, Colombia, UK, India, Guatemala and the USA, with experience in sectors as varied as agriculture, real estate, consulting, pharmaceuticals, market research and education.

We all want to succeed, we all want to excel, but to achieve this we must find the means to translate our skills and knowledge from the individual context to the group platform. As individuals we must cooperate to define and develop the team dynamic in order to attain results.

I am describing a classic team-management challenge and this is where the work group situation provides IMBA students with a tangible management task. To achieve our personal and group goals we must manage the attributes of the members to build a team that exceeds the sum of its individual parts. The work group environment is preparing the IMBA students for the cross-cultural professional environment that awaits them after the program.

The coming weeks will provide an exciting and rewarding professional challenge for us all.

 To know more about the International MBA program, click here.