Written by Soyoun Park, Master of Business Administration student, Shanghai campus, class of 2016
It is hard to believe we are seven months in to our MBA at Hult’s Shanghai campus. Since Immersion back in September, we’ve covered: managerial economics, quantitative methods, international accounting, organizational behavior, leadership skills, and financial management. However, I’ve learned much more than these fundamental topics. As I pass the halfway mark of my MBA, I reflect 3 most important things I’ve learned so far.
- Make yourself uncomfortable
It is, and should be, an incredibly hard decision to leave our ‘safe zone’ of a stable salary, guaranteed job, and career. It’s difficult to say goodbye to colleagues, friends, and family. For me, it was also not easy to leave the land of a familiar language, life style, and job.
Of course, I expected it would be hard to start in a new environment and build a life in a new area again. Actually, it was much harder than I expected. Everything was uncomfortable.
Classes are flowing interactions between classmates and workshops, discussion between students and professors is open and direct – very different from the classroom dynamic of my cultural background. It was hard and took some time to be comfortable again. However, it was great opportunity to learn how to be flexible, adapt in new environment, and leverage my existing skills and knowledge. You grow as a person when you leave your comfort zone!
- Work as a team not as a group
What are the differences between working as a team and as a group? To be honest, didn’t know or care about the differences before my MBA. Working as a team is not about dividing into separate parts, there are not fixed roles or power dynamics between teammates. Creating a team is a process to develop synergy and reach.
Because nobody has a fixed status, teamwork is complicated and requires multiple communication skills: persuasion, listening, understanding, and being open minded and willing to change your opinions. As I previously worked in strict hierarchical company culture, it was unfamiliar to work in a team. Sometimes, it seems like it takes longer but it is incredibly valuable to learn how to work as a team and respect and learn from each other. Giving feedback and encouraging others is so important and – if you are like me and come from a culture where teamwork is not the norm – it’s time to learn how it works!
- Expand your business knowledge and language
If you’ve had years of experience working in a specific industry, you can be a specialist but, at the same time, you can be stuck in your box, in certain ways of thinking and seeing.
During marketing class, we were constantly told: ‘Think like a CEO’. And this has really stuck in our minds. We have to broaden our view if we want to get out of our box and lead. The first step is to expand your business knowledge and along with it, your language and terminology. I can now understand and use more accounting, finance, and economics terminology that I ever used in my previous career. And I believe that this, in turn, is helping to extend my way of thinking and see things from multiple perspectives.
However, transforming your way of thinking is not easy. I am still struggling to change my level of thinking from a micro level to macro – seeing the big picture. I know that through discussing ideas and learning from my incredibly diverse classmates, my thinking and worldview will continue to evolve.
Grow your leadership capabilities with an MBA in international business at Hult. To learn more, take a look at our blog Let’s get uncomfortable! or give your career a boost with our Masters in International Business. Download a brochure or get in touch today to find out how Hult can help you to learn about the business world, the future, and yourself.