This is part of a new series to showcase all the details you need to know about the MIM program. The post below gives an example of how to approach teamwork as well as a few helpful resources.
The MIM program provides numerous opportunities for the cohort to work in teams, both assigned and by choice. Often students will be working with multiple teams during one term, and these groups may even change dependent upon different class structures. Organization is necessary, but there are also other considerations for developing a successful team.
Generating Your Team
Before choosing your teammates it is helpful to ask yourself a few questions. What skills are needed for the project at hand? Where are my strengths and weaknesses in that skill set? What tasks can others accomplish more efficiently than myself? One thing I can recommend for MIM students is to recruit a native English speaker for your team. Correct spelling and grammar will keep professors focused on the content of your work during feedback, and international students will have a chance to learn more nuances in English writing.
How to Start
Before the team begins working it’s helpful to discuss how you will work together, how to communicate with one another, and meeting logistics. I find it helpful to select a team leader to facilitate meetings and keep everyone updated and in contact with the group, however, I have also had successful groups without a designated team leader wherein everyone is responsible for these items. Some teams decide to do the actual work as a whole, while others may allocate sections of the project to various team members. Whether it is best to do one or a combination of both strategies will depend upon the type of project and the team dynamics.
Where to Meet
There are multiple venues for student groups to meet on campus, but the MIM students have a few favorite places. In the school of business building the third floor lounge and computer labs are often frequented, as well as the couches on the second floor. The library is also a popular choice, either in reserved study rooms or on non-quiet floors, and even campus coffee shops and restaurants can be great choices (though a little loud). When a physical meeting is too difficult to schedule, students will use video conferencing or instant messaging as a substitute.
This is the ultimate tool for students in the MIM program. Since all PSU students are allotted a school gmail account, everyone in the MIM program has access to Google Drive. Essentially this function of gmail provides storage and editing capabilities to various documents (text, presentations, spreadsheets, etc) which can either be created or uploaded. However, what makes the tool so useful is its sharing function wherein multiple users can access a document to view or edit at the same time. Google Drive also has a chat window and comments feature that makes it easy to discuss projects at anytime with other team members. The ability to work on a project simultaneously, even when team members are apart, has become the most valuable asset to many MIM teams.
One of the best aspects of the MIM program is its incredible diversity. Over half of any cohort consists of international students from China to Chile to Kazakhstan, and many other countries in between. Of course working with people from so many cultures can be difficult and much MIM classwork revolves around how to most effectively work in certain countries. For new students in the MIM program I would advise keeping an open mind, speaking clearly (try not to use idioms native English speakers!), ensuring all parties understand discussions and decisions, and helping everyone to participate.
Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.