SEMESTER SERIES: KATIE HULL – TEAM BUILDING WITH GOIZUETA

One of the most exciting (and sometimes challenging) aspects of business school is working closely with a new team, in an often highly intensive, high stress environment. As if the first semester isn’t demanding enough, business schools up the ante by placing you in a group of 5-6 strangers with whom you’ll spend countless hours over the next four months.

Getting to work closely with a new and diverse team was one aspect of business school I was most excited for, and my team did not disappoint. Our team of six represents four different countries and six different industries. We are collectively from India, China, South Korea, California, New York and South Carolina. Our backgrounds range from tech startup to military, and education non-profit to high tech sales. And that means that not only do we have our Excel ninja and our finance pro, but for every ambiguous problem or case we are asked to solve, we generally manage to come up with six different ways to approach it.

The unveiling of the first semester study teams is a highly anticipated event that happens right after the first week of orientation, and right before we ship off to Camp Twin Lakes for two days of ropes courses and other challenges that encourage team building, problem solving, and leadership. And let me tell you, there is no better way to build trust and respect for your teammates, than by climbing up a 20 foot telephone pole, and being asked to jump off while your team holds your safety rope.

And to test our skills, this semester will culminate with something called the Four Hour Challenge, where we are placed into brand new teams, and given (you guessed it!) four hours to solve a case. You expect to come out of your MBA program with confidence that you can tackle any ambiguous business situation and confidently present your findings to a board, but one of the most valuable things I am gaining this semester is arguably the confidence that I can be thrown into any new team, and know how to effectively work together to solve the problem.