Week 2 - Module 1 - Role of a General Manager / Leadership

. Saturday, May 23, 2009

At the cost of repeating myself, I have to start my post with "What a week!!!" If week one was getting to know each other and team work, week two has only one word to describe it - Intense!!! 3 team assignments and 1 individual assignment followed by a presentation on Saturday was not what we expected in week 2. But that is exactly what was in store for us.

Leadership was taken by Dr. Bill Blake. The course was very interesting and engaged in answering what is leadership, its importance, the role of a leader, the ethical aspects of leadership, international and multigenerational leadership among many other topics. The class involved a lot of discussions, and case studies from HBR, Ivey and a few others. There was this particular quote about leadership that I particularly liked.

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he (she) wants to do it" - Dwight D. Eisenhower

The course, while light in many aspects, was interesting in one particular aspect. The huge thought process differences that exists between the east and the west. That is the biggest advantage of an international MBA, in my opinion.

The role of a General Manager was taken by Professor Peter Richardson. Professor Richardson is an authority in strategic management and had an extremely easy way of teaching a rather interesting subject. Unlike what it seems, 'The Role of a General Manager' is more of a strategy paper. We were introduced to basic concepts in strategy, something I really enjoyed. the entire week was spent in going through many cases, coming up with organization size up, vision, missions, strategic objectives, action items, Porter's 5 forces, PEST analysis and many other frameworks, which we had to eventually use for a team assignment . The thing with 2 out of 4 assignments were that the topics were given in the afternoon of the submission day. Imagine getting an assignment topic at 1 pm and having to 12 am in the night! With classes from 8:30 to 4:30, things were not exactly easy. But to be honest, when you submit that assignment and then walk back home at 12:30, the sense of accomplishment is really addictive! (Hope we dont get
addicted though).

I guess, for most teams, the honeymoon period is over. Most teams have understood how individual members of their teams work, and that is a great thing. One of the advantages of having such an intense first week is the insight gained by teams on how to work together on a common task. How to split tasks, take ownership and trust each other mutually. The cultural nuances of different work cultures is something I am learning as the days go by. As I mentioned earlier, that is one of the key motivators for me to do this course - the ability to understand how "high performance" teams work, when they are stressed 24X7!

On the party end, the entire class (almost) celebrated a friend's birthday on Saturday and then went to a local disc (Name to be updated soon). It was a great evening, and by the time we left, none of us looked like they had a stressful week! :) Thats the beauty of this batch! Work hard... Party harder! :) I hope the momentum is maintained during the more stressful months of Aug /Sept / Oct.

Tangentially, for one of the assignments on leadership, we got a chance to interview the CEO of KEDCO (Mr. Jeff Garrah). His thoughts on leadership were really insightful, frank and practical. Kingston is a lovely place in that sense. The local leaders are easily accessible, and all you need to do is send them an email with your requirement. We have not received the grades for the assignment, but the talk was really something that cannot be evaluated! :)

Gotta crash now! :)

Appleseed's recount of Week 2 - 2009
Bizgirl's recount of Week 2 - 2010
Nathalie's Recount (in French) of her MBA experience