Here is how you can succeed in this kind of learning and working environment.
Because the WU Executive MBA program requires just 40 days off of work over the course of about 18 months, it's easy for students to fit their studies into their busy careers. It also means that much of the collaborative work that is done in the program is completed online. This includes the Virtual Team Project (VTP), through which students work together to develop an integrated business plan.
While working in online groups for the VTP and other projects can be a rewarding experience, it is helpful to employ a few strategies to ensure that your team functions well together. Here are a few ideas that can help promote efficiency and harmony between team members in the online collaborative work you’ll complete during your executive MBA.
The nature of the global executive program is such that you can expect your groups to be made up of individuals from all over the world, all with different approaches to business and technology. Whatever your own preferences for online collaboration tools, the best options will be the ones that the most people in the group will feel comfortable using. If some members of a team do not use the chosen tools, working together will be more difficult.
As a baseline, groups should make use of a communication tool, such as Skype or Slack, for example, and a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This will make it easy to send messages, maintain a searchable conversation history, and store or collaborate on files. Find an agreeable solution for both of these kinds of services, add on any other utilities that the whole group will commit to using, and you will have a solid system in which to complete your work.
You and other members of your group may be inclined to meet over videoconferencing to discuss project progress, but differences in time zones can make finding a good time for this difficult. Additionally, though WU Executive Academy's EMBA program is designed to fit neatly into a busy professional's schedule, accommodating each individual's many commitments when planning a virtual meeting could likewise limit opportunities.
Prioritizing asynchronous communication options, like email or instant messaging, can help with maintaining regular contact on different schedules. You might also consider holding live meetings of smaller groups within your group. This can allow for some face time between several group members, while also making it easier to accommodate differences in availability.
By striving for more flexibility in communication, it's possible to improve your group's cooperative ability. This will certainly prove helpful to the group's output.
Group work in the Executive MBA program helps you develop and bond with a network of peers from around the world, all of whom are involved in management in exciting and varied industries. While working in this community presents an exciting opportunity for growth, the presence in a group of so many people accustomed to leadership positions may require students to slightly shift their approach to the work process.
Whether or not the group decides to instate one member as group leader, all communication should be conducted in a way that puts the members on equal terms. Make requests instead of commands, offer congratulations when work is done well, and avoid personal complaints when possible. By maintaining a civil, encouraging environment and keeping the ego from taking over, you can create a healthy environment for the exchange and development of ideas.
By making good use of online tools, creating effective routines to work across time zones, and maintaining a positive atmosphere, students in the Executive MBA program can produce great work in teams.
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