By Omar Khan, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program
Much like the Gauls, in the French comic Asterix, except they drank magic potion. As a kid, I loved reading about the adventures of Asterix and Obelix, the lead characters. As the story goes, Obelix falls into a cauldron of magic potion when he is a little boy, and hence, is given the magical powers and strength he needs to fight the invading Romans.
I kind of feel the same, like Obelix, that is.
But this time, the story is a little different. Instead of one protagonist, we have a cohort of 44. And rather than just one in the cauldron, we have 44. So, at the end of week two, what magic powers do we have? Can we fight the Romans? Lead armies to battle and hunt wild boar I hear you ask?
Well, none of the above, and unfortunately, our new found skills don’t give us abilities to wave our wands and magically build that next killer app, and grow profits 10x while solving global warming and ending poverty. However, the first MBA weekend, which consisted of three full days, was much like a planned science experiment with grand results.
In came 44 little mice (that was us). We wrote about our goals, built straw towers, funnelled marbles through channels, helped team mates walk through minefields, and in all of this, not only learned a whole lot about ourselves and our team, but also about the broader MBA cohort. Each one of the experiments was designed to focus on a particular trait or skill, and as a result, our development took place at ‘mba time’ (a.k.a learning in hyper-speed).
I have since already used some of the new skills and knowledge, but most importantly, I am starting to see things in slow motion. I observe more. Sure, the experience and takeaways for most will be different, and to a large extent, dictated by life and work experience. But, the learning is relevant for all business executives.
Courses like Leadership Practice & Development, our weekend 1 course, should be compulsory at all organisations. Why do we focus so much on industry, product and “save my backside training”, and yet forget the basics about managing yourself and the people around you? This learning isn’t just for the “C suite”. If you lead more than yourself, this knowledge is a must.