One of the things I was most nervous about when I first started business school was working on a team. I knew we would be put into teams of five at the beginning of pre-term, and that we would work together on all group projects for the entire year. As an English major, I was used to writing papers and teaching classes by myself. As the oldest of five children, I was good at organizing and ordering. I had a lot of practice with being in charge, but I wasn’t sure how good I would be at NOT being in charge. At the very least, I suspected I would have to be the group mom and make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing and our projects were handed in on time. I braced myself for excessive goofing off during group meetings and mentally prepared to be the fun-sucker who brings everyone back to the project and keeps them on-task.
But none of my fears were realized. Literally. None of them. My team is as motivated and organized and determined as I am. It’s a little weird – okay, it’s really weird – but it’s true. It’s easy to give my teammates control of aspects of projects because I know they will do it right – they will do it better than I ever could. A few days ago, I had a one-on-one meeting with a professor. “Who is on your team?” he asked. I told him. “Oh. That’s a very strong team. A VERY strong team.” I know.
I realize that sometimes teams struggle to work together. I know teams can have conflicting personalities or difficult schedules. I know some teams work well together, but never see each other outside of class. I was warned about the variety of team differences, issues, and tensions before I started this program. But none of that describes my team. My teammates are wonderful people – they are smart and funny and driven. We always laugh when we’re together, but we work our butts off, too. We sit next to or within talking-distance of each other in almost every class, and we hang out on the weekends. When I don’t understand something that’s going on in class, my teammates are more than willing to take the time out of their own busy schedules to help me. I genuinely love my team, and I know that when this program ends, I will leave with at least four forever friends. And that is a pretty epic MBA (and life) win.