Daily Archive for March 22nd, 2008

School should always be this fun

It has been a crazy few days.

Outside of work, I have been incredibly busy with school since Wednesday night. Getting through today was another hurdle overcome before I graduate with my MBA in just a few short weeks. I can hardly believe it.

This weekend (Friday from 4pm – 10pm & Saturday 7am – 5pm, no breaks) was our “Strategy Simulation” weekend session. The final class of our MBA program is a Strategic Management class designed to tie together all the elements of running a business. One of my teammates described this simulation project as equivalent to our thesis, which I guess is pretty true. Although we’ve been preparing for this weekend since the beginning of the semester (starting with the picking of our team), we intensified preparations for the weekend in the last two weeks, modeling our strategic plan using some crazy spreadsheets and tools to help us chart our way through the Sim. We had forecast two years worth of data and write an entire strategic plan. This paper was due on Friday, but we were cleaning it up through Thursday.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

I was on the most rockin’ team! This was probably one of the best, most effective, and (most importantly) most fun team I have been on in the entire program! My teammates really made the weekend so much fun. I really made the right choice in taking this particular class and getting into this group.

Since there were 5 of us on the team, we each took primary responsibility for certain roles in the company: CEO + VPs of Finance, R&D/HR, Sales & Marketing, and Production. Even though I was a figurehead CEO, in actuality, we each took multiple roles so that we were all cross-functional and could step in if something happened to one of our teammates. We also did a heck of a lot of preparation in advance of the simulation which helped us. I have to say that our team really had some strong people and we really complimented each other’s skill sets.

We were a strong team throughout the game, but by the end of the game, we were the clear leaders. So it absolutely helped to be winning the game; that’s always a great feeling.

But the real reason this was so much fun was because of my teammates. It started a few weeks ago when we first met to discuss strategy and we got through our work quickly and then all went out to eat together. Team bonding is the best. We got along and didn’t disagree about much, and above all, we were in alignment with each other. As one of the professors said, our team had the “internal feng shui” going on.

So even though we were all running ragged from working all week + having class on Thursday night + starting early on Friday night, we began the Sim by playing music in our classroom and dancing around like crazy fools.

Our team, by the way, was 4 women + 1 guy. And the guy was our DJ (he actually IS a DJ). So to get our spirits and energy up, he provided the soundtrack to the entire weekend.

This morning, we arrived at 7am to our classroom to find that he had hooked his laptop up to the speakers in the classroom and was blasting music to wake us all up. The professors (in the adjacent room) actually asked us to turn it down and to stop having so much fun.

At 7:30am, we all collaborated in creating a “video advertisement” for our company with one teammate filming, two acting, me providing voice-over (which was later cut), and our DJ providing our soundtrack. While we were doing the Sim, our teammates edited the video together and then we sent it out to our class (competitors and professors) in the afternoon. (We thought about putting it on YouTube, but we decided we didn’t want that floating around on the intarweb). Everyone said it was hilarious, but we didn’t even care if they were laughing at us instead of with us. We had so much fun making the video. When we were tired and bored toward the end of the afternoon, we considered making another video, but we thought that might come off as obnoxious since we were winning by a lot at that point.

At some point in the morning, we decided that our theme song was “Dancing Queen” (thanks, ABBA!) and so every time we got our results back and they were awesome, we would scream and dance to this song. Sometimes some of us (not me) would get up and dance on the tables. Sometimes we would create our own strobe lights by flipping the lights on and off while dancing. Once, one of the professors came into our room before we got our results, sat down and and waited for us to start dancing. He said that was one of the highlights of the weekend for him.

He missed it when we began to start choreographing our dance moves later on in the day (instead of just dancing around randomly).

That professor said it best in one of his first meetings with us (when we had already clearly been playing music and having fun)… he told us that he’d been visiting the other teams and there were some groups who were not getting along and arguing with each other, but then when he walked into our room, he could feel that we all were about love. We wanted to do well and learn, but above all we wanted to have good experience and I can say that we absolutely did.

At the ending debrief, the professors kept commenting about how much fun the weekend was, making reference to our team, and saying things like, “It should be illegal for MBA students to be having so much fun during this!!!”

Thanks and congrats to my teammates; we’re all one step closer to graduation now!!!

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