Yesterday was awesome. It was full of surprises from our faculty, each one better than the last. Because some prospective students read this blog and because the surprises were critical to today’s success, I’ll refrain from any real explanation. The cool part was that it was our first day of cross-functional project work: addressing a business case from accounting, marketing, and leadership perspectives within our groups.
At the end of the day, three groups were selected randomly to present their arguments. For each group, one member was selected randomly to do the presentation to a panel of faculty members who played roles of actual decision makers/influencers in the case. Given the amount of time we had to prepare, any presentation was essentially an improvisation.
When we were first told about the presentation part of the assignment, my natural reaction was to hope that I was selected. After all, I love presenting to an audience; it’s my element. Then, as I realized that I had gaping holes of knowledge about the accounting and marketing aspects of our group’s proposal (We split up the work but didn’t have time to regroup before the deadline.), I became a little more apprehensive about being selected.
Our group was the second of three selected to present; I was selected from my group to be the presenter–be careful what you wish for! The faculty decision makers’ roles were intended to poke holes in whatever we presented, be interruptive at times, and generally stress the presenter out. I didn’t know the supporting evidence for several aspects of our plan and hadn’t even seen the powerpoint in its entirety, but hey, I didn’t come here not to be challenged!
The faculty gave me a hard time, especially on the quantitative stuff, but it was a big rush to be up there. The class gave me a lot of support from the audience, which felt great. At the end of the day, my presentation was pretty BSy, and probably was especially underwhelming to Stewart, the Accounting prof. I spent a significant amount of time afterward thinking about what I would have/should have said and receiving explanations from my teammates about what our slides actually meant. However, I received numerous backslaps and congratulations from my classmates afterward so I think I held my own.
Regardless, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again. Afterward the class and the professors (out of character) met in the lobby for Brazilian (The case was set in Brazil.) caipirinhas before heading down to the dungeon for a long night of project work. What a day; I can’t wait to do it again!
On another note, the Chinese students made a very gracious presentation for lunar new year and gave away Chinese gifts to all the students. Coming from a country where everyone seems to be leery about competition from China, I found their unsolicited offering to be right in line with the warm, generous culture I’ve come to know and expect from these students.