This first look back on my summer will focus on the summer team experience. At MIT, as in many MBA programs, group work is not only encouraged but is often required. To avoid those uncomfortable moments that accompany student-selected groups (you know, when the people sitting around you all buddy-up with the classmates on their other side, leaving you in a group by yourself -- does this happen to anyone else?), MIT assigns the teams for us. As I mentioned in my previous post, the team assignments are made in such a way as to maximize diversity, the theory being that we will learn more from our classmates as a result. However, in "diversifying" these teams, the school has available a limited amount of information about us (from our application materials, I assume), meaning that a team could consist of six people from different countries (something they would know from our applications) who are all allergic to peanuts (something probably not on an application, though I guess it could have been brought up in the Sloan cover letter: "My experience with peanut allergies has made me an ideal candidate for your school..."). More realistically, there could be unforeseen personality clashes among the group members. This has the potential to result in tension among group members, which could obviously adversely affect a student's experience in the program. These things are inevitable, and they happen every year. On that note, let me talk more specifically about my team.
Before meeting my new LGO teammates, I was a bit nervous about my future group experience for a few reasons:
- I tend to be quiet in group settings. This is exacerbated when I am in a group with at least one dominant (loud, bossy, overbearing, opinionated) member or when uncomfortable (due to unfriendly, disrespectful, tactless people).
- I am extremely non-confrontational, so tensions within my group, especially when they are at the surface, would be a nightmare.
- I am afraid of looking or sounding stupid (however, this was unavoidable, since I was starting a program in which most of the material would be completely new to me)
Next time: I will write about the classes and teaching methods we were exposed to over the summer.