Most MBA programmes use group work in project assignments. If my memory serves correct, so do undergraduate business programmes. Group work helps students learn to work together and lightens the load on all people. Since most work in businesses involves project teams the concept makes a lot of sense.
The challenge to group work is finding a good group. It makes perfect sense and is probably pretty obvious. Watching work groups being formed is also a function of the learning curve. When we first get together, there is no information on the work habits, compatibility or intelligence of the other students. We have to assume that everyone is like us until proven otherwise.
From those first groups, we learn a lot about our group members and our compatibility. At the same time, information on other people starts to be added to the market place. The longer we are in the MBA and the more we get to know people or about each person more we progress through the learning curve.
Each person becomes a brand: great worker, loud mouth, total useless. The brand idea works outside of just group work. Quick: think about someone in the MBA with loose morals; assuming someone popped into your head then my point on branding is complete. (if it’s the same person, they they have unprompted recall; very impressive if it’s late at the bar and that person is there, but I digress)
As a second year MBA at our home school, we pretty much know the people we like to work with and those who we wish to avoid. Since we’re all risk adverse groups form pretty damn quick as to avoid being stuck with people we either dislike or know to be useless. It’s harsh; but a reality.
I, and every other exchange student during the second year of the MBA, find myself in an interesting (and difficult) situation. I need to find 4 groups for my classes, but since I’m new, have no reputation as a good or bad worker.
In addition, I have zero information on the people at NYU. My only assumption is that those people looking to form groups quickly are like me back at LBS. They want to get the good people first. Is the assumption correct? I’ll tell you in about 13 weeks.
So far, I’ve found 3 out of the 4 needed groups. Will they be good or bad? Who knows? Probability without historical information says that I should assume 50% success; 50% failure.
But I’m hoping to buck the odds. Funny enough, so are the groups I’ve joined.