Full-time MBA: Working in multicultural groups and choosing electives

28 February 2017

This month our Full-time MBA students provide advice on choosing elective modules and what it is like to work in groups with people from all over the world.

Ralph Abou-Mrad

"Half way through term one, we got to chose our four electives to study for the rest of the academic year. There is a wide list of electives ranging from strategy related modules to finance and leadership to name a few. WBS offered us the flexibility to do some of the electives at the main campus in Coventry or their London based campus at The Shard. We even had two international options in Ireland and Mexico. 

I chose my electives based on my future career goal which is to change from the aviation sector into the digital industry. Some of my electives are Project Management, Operations Strategy & Global branding will give me a wide coverage and compliment what we studied in the main modules.

My advice to future MBA students is to challenge yourself and choose electives that you will learn something new and not the modules you already have experience in."

Related course: Full-time MBA

Sarah Farnham

"Cultural diversity is one thing that WBS offers through the large number of international students. Being part of a cohort that is made up of people from all over the world is greatly beneficial and this mix helps to add to the experience of the MBA, especially when it comes to working in groups.

The course sees students put into different working groups for modules and it is in these groups where you get to experience working in a truly international environment. Personally, my group included people from India, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, Argentina, and Newcastle – all as culturally diverse as each other.

It is this diversity and marriage of cultures that helps to ensure that this environment is where you learn the most about others and more importantly – about yourself. The variety of backgrounds, experiences and cultures helps you learn and take away so much more from the interactions you have whilst growing your interpersonal skills.

Sure, group work has it challenges, but the rewards are soon noticeable. Working with people who have different perceptions to yourself forces you to reflect on how you communicate, how you influence and how you listen. It forces you to become more adaptable to other people’s different working styles. For me, these lessons in adaptability, understanding and communication have been the greatest take aways. I have realised with more group participation, the more effective I have become in all aspects of my MBA work.  

Additionally, the strong international community on the MBA program means you are never short of fascinating stories. It is these stories that give you a real insight into how business operates differently around the world and most importantly they help to widen your perception of the business world in a way that Google can’t."

 

James Moody

"In the first week of the MBA we were allocated to syndicate groups, each consisting of seven or eight people. These were to be the people we would work with for the duration of the first term and we had three group assignments to submit for that period. When allocated to my group, the thing that struck me first was the rich diversity we had in the team. We had representation from all over the globe, including: Japan, Venezuela, India, Pakistan, China, Georgia and the UK. Not only was there huge diversity from a geographical perspective but also in terms of each of the team members’ work experience and backgrounds. We had people from the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Logistics and Technology sectors, along with a wide variety of technical expertise spanning marketing, operations, accounting and project management.

Working with people from all over the world is fascinating as each team member brings with them something a little unique and different from what you’re used to. This leads to great discussion, idea generation and a lot of fun! Having said this, though, group work does not come without its challenges. Everyone has their own way of working and, more often than not, people’s views and thoughts differ – sometimes wildly! The way people approach tasks, relationship building or communication varies depending on their preferred way of working. And the challenge for each of us, working under pressure, is to respect these differences and accept that your way is not always the right way! I think this has taught us a lot about the intricacies we are all faced with, not just at Business School, but in the real business world when working with people from a breadth backgrounds, experiences and cultures."

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