We celebrate the highs with friends and look for a group of people in our lows. It is good to share every walk of life with a bunch of people close to us. On the same premise, professors teaching the MBA course came with something called “Group Projects”. If you think that working in a group is division of work to achieve the ultimate goal before deadlines, then Hold On! There are lot many objectives behind grouping people together to carry out work. Let’s discuss some of them.
1.Develop Leadership Skills: You definitely get a chance to be a team leader at least once for any assignment or project. As a leader, you have to take on the role to delegate responsibilities to team members, to make sure that they don’t miss deadlines, if they are facing any issues in completing the task assigned to them etc. If they are facing any difficulty, you should be the point of contact; if there is any clash between group members, it is you who should solve it. So you see, it is just like a team in any corporate where you get an opportunity to make your leadership skills stronger.
2.Idea Sharing: The More the Minds, the Merrier it is. There comes a bump in the smooth ride of project making when you run out of ideas to carry the project any further. You reach a deadlock situation, which is exactly when group work proves advantageous. If one exhausts all ideas and goes blank, there is always another group member to pour ideas for developing and carrying the project ahead.
3.Less chance of failure: Well this one is for the ‘free riders’. Professors along with developing the team spirit try to knot few free riders along with other back breakers. They know that in case the free rider cannot perform in the last minute then there are always other members in the group to back them up by completing the work on time and hence save them from failure.
4.Continuous Learning: When different minds are involved in completion of a task then are very high chances of learning something new from everyone. Different people come with different set of skills; for instance, if one is good in preparing presentation then other might be good in presenting them. There is always some learning imparted from every member of the group.
5.Networking and Socializing Opportunities: There are more than 20 subjects throughout the entire course of MBA at IBS. Each one of them has around two to three group projects. Do the math and imaging meeting new people in every project, networking with them and being a part of this enormous social troop. This prepares you for a corporate life where every project is done in groups.
6.Decrease decision making time: Taking decisions, regardless of whether they are big or small, can be time-consuming when done alone. It can be anything from finalizing some section of the project, what should the project title be or dividing the deadlines for different stages of the project, it takes time when one is thinking alone. But when the entire group sits together and brainstorms on the same, the time is significantly reduced.
7.Working Out of Comfort Zone: While dividing project responsibilities, you sometimes get assigned some task in which you have no prior experience. For example you may be extremely good at reporting work but this time around you are entrusted with the task of making the presentation. You might be a little uncomfortable initially but since the group relies on you and expects you to accomplish the task at hand, you figure out a way to do it. So group work helps you in taking baby steps out of your comfort zone, which is beneficial in the long run.
8.Create a Working Environment: When working individually you take more breaks than required and manage to get distracted by something or the other, thus taking longer to finish the project. In case of a group project if you are sitting with a group and working then the chitter chatter with the group itself act as a break and keep you glued to your seat.
9.Sharing of the resources: Be it monetary resources or non-monetary ones, once involved in a group, each member shares their resources for completing the project successfully. It completely eliminates the pressure from one’s head to contribute something from his or her side entirely.
10.Access to more Information: If the topic of given project is completely new for the group then proper research needs to be conducted to comprehend the project and complete it. With information search done by the group members, everyone can pool in the intelligence they have on the project and attain a deeper understanding of it. In that way if someone didn’t know about a certain aspect of the title of the project can get to know about it from the shared pool of information.
11.Growth in Individual’s Overall Performance: Majority of assignments in MBA is conducted in groups. With other people to shoulder the burden of work, you have an equal eye on each and every discipline. You can devote equal time to other subjects as well. In such a case you can observe a raise in your overall performance.
12.Identify and strengthen the weak spot: Amongst all the group projects that you are a part of, you get to be a leader somewhere and a follower elsewhere. You get your favorite section to work on in one project and other time you are a novice working on a new section. In the middle of these projects you can easily identify the area where your performance is relatively lacking. You can pin point your weak area and get to improve the same.
13.Improved Relationships: When people come together to accomplish something they become an emotional and moral support to each other. As a member of a group, it is important for one to cultivate ties with every group member. It is not only for the benefit of completion of task in a co-operative manner but it might also gainful for the career advantages.
Interpersonal learning or Group Learning is a beneficial learning strategy provided that one takes an active part in a group without taking undue advantage of the same. Lastly, it is always fruitful to come together for a common cause and learn from a plethora of things and help others with your skill set.
Contributed By : Hasan Ali Gumani (Class of 2014, IBS Hyderabad).