– Homer Simpson
It’s a brand new semester here at SFU’s Segal Business School, which means it’s time for me to write about my impressions of last semester in the brief period of time I have before it gets pushed out of my brain.
The beginning of the school year can be a frightening time for new students, and business school is no exception. Coming into the part-time Management of Technology/Biotechnology (MOT) MBA program I knew that the majority of people in my class would have more work experience than the average MBA class and, as one of the younger students in the class, I would be at a bit of a disadvantage in this area. I was feeling a little intimidated, especially when I heard what some of the more experienced students had accomplished. Fortunately for me, our first course was an intensive three-day leadership course with Gary Wagenheim as our instructor.
Here’s a brief overview of the schedule for the MOT program: Usually there are two classes a semester on Monday and Wednesday evenings with an additional intensive course that consists of three consecutive days of eight-hour classes. Leadership was our first one and this “intensive” definitely lived up to its name. Immediately we were thrown into team-building exercises where we had to quickly overcome our initial shyness and intimidation. Fortunately this approach worked and by the end of the class some of us were talking to each other like old friends.
After collectively overcoming our initial trepidation, the business end of the course began, with Gary (we address the majority of our Profs by first name) helping us to develop our self-awareness and understand our individual strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, Gary then gave us an understanding of the common problems encountered in management along with how we would be able to apply our individual core competencies resolving similar situations in “real world” organizations.
As most of the students in the MOT MBA program come from technology backgrounds these sort of “soft” skills aren’t often the most utilized in our skill sets, but taking this course made each of us realize that the skills are there for us to call upon when we need them, and we will need them in order to be successful managers. Perhaps the most important information I have taken home from this course was a greater awareness of my personal strengths and confidence in my own abilities, a lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my career.
Next Time: Accounting!