Are you a teamplayer? EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

Are you a teamplayer? EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

Tue Sep 19 16:08:16 CEST 2017

By Ines Michel


Some people think there are plenty of reasons not to like teamwork. And this opinion is sometimes quite comprehensible: think about being forced to work with a narcissist or someone without appropriate social behavior. These are probably rather unpleasant perspectives for successful… Luckily, there are no such demanding personalities in class 23. However, we had our own challenges regarding teamwork processes.


Teamwork right from the EMBA start

Starting with the EMBA program Rochester-Bern also means to engage with a team. Already during the first day in the program you become - according to a science-based character analysis - a member of a specific team. Usually, this team remains the same until the end of the Rochester study time. “Great – my team peers are the best people in class”, one of my classmates pronounces excitedly. There was a good combination of excitement, confidence and pleasant anticipation inside the class. It was a `we can change the world` atmosphere, that was really inspiring!


Working in teams

In nearly every class, we have to do teamwork – a good setting to deal with the variety of teamwork challenges! Sometimes we advise a fictional CEO in a challenging situation or we evaluate a company of our choice - professors are very creative in challenging our teams with tricky assignments! Friday evenings after class is always a good time to meet for group work, as everybody is around and the atmosphere is relaxed. Groups normally meet in front of the class room at Hotel Seepark. My group sometimes orders some tasty pizza - to ensure the physical well-being…


Becoming an A student or merely passing the EMBA program?

Faster than expected some teams of class 23 had to face the harsh reality, as the first problem arose: how to deal with different team performance expectations? “You now what? My team consist of careerists. Even being the best in class isn’t good enough for them and they start a discussion with the professor about the grading. That’s exhausting”, one of my classmates points out sadly. Listening to one of his team peers sounds completely different: “There are people in my team who are lazy and live at the expense of the team”. But how to deal with such a situation? A member of the team explained their approach of solving these troubles: “We addressed the problem. That was an uncomfortable situation, but it helped. Now we are able to perform together in a satisfying way”. Hats off! This was the best way to deal with such a challenge. The team managed to establish a basis to work together.


Additional challenges for teamwork during the Rochester summer?

It turns out that especially during the Rochester summer a solid working foundation inside the team is extremely important. It makes our lives much easier to split the enormous workload within the teams and apply the team members’ individual strengths the optimal way. “We split the workload: one person picked the relevant numbers, one person performed the calculation and I took the numbers and keywords and put them into an appealing text”, one of my classmates said. This plan worked out in every team of class 23.  


New teams after the Rochester summer – a curse or a blessing?

After coming back from Rochester, new teams were set up - based on your individual performance during the program. But is this a curse or a blessing? Well, that depends. One classmate states: “For the first time it feels like I am not a stranger anymore”. This classmate probably feels much better in his new team. Another classmate has totally different feelings about the new teams: “What a pity, I made friends within my team”, he points out sadly.


Two totally different starting positions for the new teamwork – but they have one thing in common: the new situation forces us to make a new start, to work with different people and to be open to learn from and with them.




A glimpse into our Rochester classroom...

Today with a proper wisdom: “Instead of trying to be the best on the team, be the best for the team”!