Overall, I really enjoyed our classroom experience. I found the daily lectures to be very enlightening about Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I also appreciated the in class team activities, such as building a structure out of straws and tape capable of holding a small load and making something creative with paper and cardboard. I felt these activities were a great opportunity for the team to begin working together and learning about each other’s strengths.
The class project was a good opportunity to learn about working with people from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Since my team’s product was something that was most relevant in India and less so in China or the US, the team was very dependent on the connections and local knowledge of the two local students on the team. However, as an MBA student, my business background also allowed me to be a big contributor to our team’s results. Although a lot of the required aspects of the project were addressed in class lectures, I think a team without anyone with a business background on it would have struggled a bit with the project.
Although there were many positive aspects about the class and the project, I did find some challenges as well. One of them was in communication both within my team and with other students because some students in the program had some difficulty with English and there are also some differences in words being used between the different countries. Another challenging aspect was in understanding the cultural differences in how we approach collaborative projects in the US vs. India. The Indian students seemed to identify someone as a leader and then defer to that person to make most of the major decisions instead of everyone taking responsibility for their own piece of the project. In most of my experiences in the US, project work is typically split up between the team members and they each take responsibility for their own individual portion.
Tip for future students: Start working on the project as soon as possible, the 2 weeks goes by very quickly and there isn’t as much time during the class to work on the project as you might think. Make sure you set clear expectations among the team members and keep lines of communication as open as possible.