In this month’s postgraduate insight blog, our Specialist Masters students discuss their thoughts on group work, from gaining global perspectives to becoming more aware of their own weaknesses and strengths.
MSc Human Resource Management & Employment Relations
"Group work can be the key to a successful career, because in the working world you’ll be expected to sit down and work with people you do not even know (or maybe don’t even want to know!) You’ll be expected to come up with innovative solutions to challenging problems with them.
I still remember, at the start of the course we had a workshop specifically on “group work”. The workshop initially served as an ice-breaker but gave us a lot more than that. Until then everyone was still shy and hadn’t opened up much to each other, however, after the workshop everyone knew each other’s names! The key learning outcome of that workshop was one; open communication. It taught all of us that with hesitant attitudes and communication barriers in place, we would just be laying the foundations for a potentially unsuccessful project.
That workshop, and then consequently the group discussions we are encouraged to have in every lecture, have polished my communication skills and overall people skills. I find that one becomes more tolerant to other’s opinions and in case there is a difference, both parties settle them amicably for the greater good of the group. It teaches patience and also allows for the development of thought as one hears different ideas from people with different international backgrounds. Overall, it is a great learning experience which is bound to remain with you and help you in your future life ahead, be it personal or professional!"
MSc Marketing and Strategy
"Group work can be challenging, but it’s something you’ll have to get used to before entering the world of business. Many modules in the Marketing and Strategy course are comprised of group work, where you might be placed in groups with people you haven’t met before. You’ll usually have to work in your teams to come to a solution for an assignment, and often present it in class.
My advice would be to understand the assignment given to you, then organise and divide tasks between yourselves. Have someone in the group responsible for writing down important points raised in meetings. Always be respectful to your group mates, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind if you don’t agree with them.
Group work is great to get different perspectives, opinions and ideas, especially when all members are motivated to contribute. We were given the chance to rate our group members based on performance after submitting group work, and this was taken into consideration in our assessment.
Another advantage is that groups are made up of international students, from all over the world. This will give you some experience in dealing with people from different cultures, and adapting to such differences. It also gives you the chance to make new friends, network, and learn about other cultures. I would highly recommend taking advantage of this while you’re at Warwick."
MSc Marketing and Strategy "It’s often said that 2+2=5. This synergic effect is what makes group work so exciting and fun at WBS. Almost every module in MSc Marketing and Strategy has a group work component. This is done to prepare us for the future business environment where most projects and tasks are group based. Considering the number of modules, group assignments are a blessing in disguise. Pooling in ideas, improved working efficiency and time management are the simplest advantages of working in cohesion. Teamwork provides a chance to learn from one another and maximizes knowledge which is developed from the unique perspectives of each team member. The exposure of working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds helps strengthen relationships and enhances one’s outlook towards life. Working in groups is a way of reflecting your own strengths and weaknesses which will come in handy when filling job applications or writing your CV. It will definitely help hone your generic skills like communication, organisation, delegation, co-operation and leadership.
If this is going to be your first time doing group work, don’t worry. There are plenty of workshops conducted by the School which will get you accustomed to the dynamics of working in a group. Teamwork will reduce tension and pressure and make learning enjoyable.
Sometimes it may be challenging to deal with different personality types but the experience of handling such situations and developing your negotiation and inter-personal skills will prepare you for the professional world. Team building is an important KPI for most workplaces and even while assigning recruits, employers will seek to assess you on your experience and ability of working in a team. And this vital exposure is provided at WBS through its group work curriculum."
MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation
"Most lecturers and visiting staff successfully manage to engage the class, always bringing real-life case studies and fostering collaboration between us classmates, so that we learn to investigate and analyse true business cases while dealing with pressure and deadlines.
The several group tasks we had throughout the months were very different from each other and made us learn extremely quickly to deal with real issues, including managing time and resources to deliver projects, and leveraging both analytical skills and creativity and innovation through daily brainstorming and planning."
To learn more about the range of postgraduate courses on offer, please visit our dedicated postgraduate homepage.