If I had to choose a couple words to define our MBA program, I would definitely go for TEAM-BASED and APPLIED. As opposed to most undergraduate programs where the main focus is to generate a knowledge base through theories and technical concepts, the MBA is purely based on real life projects and cases.
It’s not easy. Reality is complex and requires you to put in your best soft-skills. Time management, prioritization, team coordination, communication, integrative vision, and decision-making in situations where not a whole lot of information is available become key! And this is exactly what the MBA is giving me. You would be surprised to see what a few tests are given compared to hands-on projects. I’m actually glad this is the case because I feel I’ve had enough of theoretical education and was eager to engage into something much more applied.
Right now I’m working on four different projects, one for each class I’m taking. For my entrepreneurship course, my group and I are creating a business plan for a new venture that one of my teammates wants to pursue. She has even bought the name and domain for the business already, and expects to open it up soon after the business plan is ready. Pretty cool, eh? It will be exciting to see the business operating and feel I was part of its planning.
For our market research class, we are studying Fast Gourmet, a Uruguayan restaurant that opened up in DC only four months ago and whose owners are eager to get consumers’ insights on what they are doing good/bad, and how they can improve. We are carrying out interviews and focus groups, analyzing secondary data, and will follow-up with surveys. It’s great to feel that your work could help someone’s business; feels like you are somewhat giving back to your community.
For our negotiations course we’re interviewing a very successful lawyer in the DC area to learn from his everyday negotiation strategies and techniques. This is helping us get a better understanding of what tends to work or fail in different situations, as well as allowing us to get insights and advice from a skilled negotiator. Finally, we are studying home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma for our global supply chain management, aiming to identify the benefits and limitations that would arouse in its supply chain if it were to expand into Brazil.
So yeah, I feel like a more complete professional now. The MBA has trained me on real life situations experienced by real life companies. I’m ready to perform.
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