The focus of business education should be to develop practical skills in people which they can then use at work. In fact the b-school campus should simulate the corporate working environment; this way the students get to experience the reality rather than just the curriculum which doesn’t help much!
One of the practical skills is team work. In organizations you work with people from diverse backgrounds. They may be your colleagues, subordinates, bosses, vendors or clients. You may find working with some easier and some might be a challenge. Despite all this you have to ensure that whatever you are assigned with happens smoothly and within a given time frame.
Team work in college
This is testing for many fresh MBA’s when they start working but it has a solution while you are still doing your MBA. The college campus is also an organization of people and has challenges in equal measure as with some mid or large sized organization, the challenge is from people. In fact the concept of team work in campus has picked up abroad, where cohort structures are put in place to get home the nuances of team work among the students.
A cohort structure is deliberate attempt to bring together students from different backgrounds. This remains so for the first few months or for the entire first year. The team members in a cohort are expected to learn work as members of a team, solve problems, resolve conflicts, become responsible and ensure high level of commitment over whatever task you are assigned. The aim is to transform you from independent to interdependent, as is in a corporate setting.
One of the methods employed in the team building process is to allow students question the curriculum in a manner that they start looking beyond what is instructed. They cannot raise their voice but looking beyond is an instruction they comply with. This is one way to plant the seeds of cooperation among teammates.
At many other campuses, like the MIT’s Sloan school of management, students are put into ‘core teams’ from day one. The campus infrastructure and facilities are designed such that it requires team work to make an activity / assignment happen. The classrooms have been reconfigured there such that students face each other rather than the front of class.
Such models of team building can be (should be) replicated in our country in b-schools and the whole of education system. In fact we need it more considering the amount of diversity in our country.