What's it like working with a multi-national cohort on the Full-time MBA?

27 March 2019

Full-time MBA participant, Sandra Sidlauskaitereflects on what it is really like to work with people from all over the world on the Full-time MBA.

I have always been fascinated by different cultures and diversity, which drove me to leave small town life in Lithuania many years ago and move to London. After years of working, I came to the decision to do an MBA. No surprise that the diversity of the class was at the top of my school selection criteria. Fast forward, here I am, five months into the MBA at WBS sharing my experience on what it really is like to work with people from all over the world.

An enriching journey

I have worked for international companies and have always considered myself as a global citizen, but I underestimated the power of different people coming together with a common purpose, which is what the MBA has taught me. While there are as many goals as there are students on the programme, going through the journey with some of the most talented people from all over the world is extremely enriching.

There is no such thing as a 'standard' MBA candidate

Having around 40 nationalities, people of various backgrounds, religions and a range of industries has taught me a lot. Firstly, it demystified what I thought business school life would be like and changed my perception of what a ‘standard’ MBA candidate looks like as there simply isn’t an ‘average’ or ‘standard’. Also, the views everyone brings to the classes make the discussions very interesting. The case studies and debates are enhanced by the real life examples of those that have worked for some of the biggest brands. I feel like I have learned just as much from my peers as I have from the professors. Some of my views have been challenged, which has been really refreshing as it has made me think of perspectives I have not considered before.

Becoming Change Makers

The most fascinating part is that the majority of us will eventually end up in managerial/leadership roles or will start our own ventures. These conversations over a coffee in the MBA lounge about leadership, equality, political environment, cultural differences, mental health in the work place and some other very relevant but sometimes difficult topics, are helping us grow and develop a common language. It challenges us to see the world through different lenses, consider a wider impact and address some of the topics current leaders may not be comfortable bringing to the boardrooms yet. This gives me hope that these discussions will affect the way we make decisions once we go back into the ‘big world’ and that we will continue having these courageous conversations at our organisations, break some stigmas and be the positive change makers.

It's not all about the work

Finally, there is of course a social part to the MBA. We have celebrated Diwali, Chinese New Year and I have learned a lot about different customs and traditions. I have picked up a few Arabic words, learned about tourism in Ghana, life in South America and what is it like to travel to North Korea.  The list could go on and on, but I will save it for another time as the experience is far too rich to express here in one post.

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