Why coaching, feedback are important at Goizueta

As MSBA students at Goizueta, we have the opportunity to experience and participate in several unique programs within the graduate business school community. One of these is the Delta Air Lines Leadership Coaching Fellows program, where second-year MBA students receive training to become peer-coaches for first-year MBA students and MSBA students during the fall semester.

At the beginning of the semester, every MSBA core team of three to four students was assigned to one to two LCFs, who would provide team and individual performance feedback over the course of the term. My teammates, Wenjing Sun and Peter (Xudong) Yang, and I were very excited to meet our two LCFs, Cynthia Tassopoulos and Andrew Fisher, at our first lunch meeting in late August. While we all took the time to introduce ourselves at this luncheon, I really appreciated how both Cynthia and Andrew genuinely wanted to get to know each of us as individuals and establish a strong sense of trust with each other.

Since our core team (Team 13, which we affectionately nicknamed “Lucky Thirteen”) would be working together on all group projects for our fall semester classes, we drafted a team charter that documented our individual goals and group expectations. Then, in mid-September, we had a “Before-Action Review Meeting,” where Cynthia and Andrew asked specific questions about how well we’ve followed our team charter till that point and shared advice on how to be more efficient as a group. This guidance from industry-experienced mentors like them, who have worked in similar core teams in their MBA program, was extremely helpful. Moving forward, Wenjing, Peter and I established better communication standards, identified individual strengths and interests, and delegated tasks more efficiently.

In late October, each of us had individual one-on-one’s with either Cynthia or Andrew, where we had the opportunity to ask questions about their educational and professional experiences and receive personal coaching. In addition to introducing me to a fantastic sandwich shop in Emory Village called Dave’s Cosmic Subs, Andrew shared how his experiences with different teams at Goizueta shaped him and how I can similarly improve as a teammate this semester and beyond. In particular, I adopted some of the communication strategies that he suggested and put them into practice when working with my teammates. As we approached the end of the semester, we had one final “After-Action Review Meeting,” where we reviewed our team’s performance over the course of the term with our LCFs. I enjoyed discussing how we resolved any issues that arose and how we could apply the lessons we learned in the future.

Overall, the program demonstrated how critical coaching and feedback truly are in any school or business setting. I realized that, no matter what team you’re on, it’s always important to be open to sharing and receiving honest performance feedback from your peers, mentors and leaders. This mindset allows us all to focus on “continuous improvement” on both the individual and team level, paving the path for efficiency and success. Moving forward, the LCF program has prepared us very well for the spring semester, as we get started with our new teams for our capstone projects. While I’ll be working with new team members and our corporate client, FedEx, the “tips and tricks” that we’ve learned last semester will surely help us for an exciting term ahead!

Pratik Keni

Pratik Keni

Pratik Keni is a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) candidate in the inaugural Class of 2018 at the Goizueta Business School. Born and raised in Seattle, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Washington. Upon graduation, Pratik worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance as an IT Systems Analyst. Outside of school, he’s a die-hard fan of all Seattle sports teams (Go Seahawks!), South Asian a cappella, and Thai food.