This article was originally posted here.
12 hours of sleep over 5 days. And you are still high on adrenaline, wanting to go on for another couple of days. This is the best possible way to end the MBA course and the biggest reason why I will advocate an IESE MBA going forward.
I am not talking of an all week long party in Barcelona but a course offered at IESE, ExSim or Executive Simulation. It is one of those simulation games with the twist that you have meetings with banks, union representatives and also you report to a board. 5 teams of 5-6 members who assume the roles of CEO, CFO, COO etc. spend the week running their companies.
By the end of the week, you see the best and worst in people. Subconsciously you make the choices of who are the people you would work for, who you would work with, who you would hire and who you would have as a competitor. I learnt an awful lot during these five days. I was the CEO and it was all I could wish for before the startup and then some more. When I think of opportunity costs, this will pay me many times over.
How does this fit in my startup plan?
- People matter: The biggest reinforcement was the fact that it is all about the people. Proper planning and ideas are important, but when in a pressure cooker situation I would much rather be surrounded by people with the right attitudes than the smart ones who are not motivated. One of my teammates will be my great friend going forward, and I even mentioned to him that we should work together in the future. Based on these 5 days, I will be comfortable with him running a part of my business.
I am also happy to have a co-founder who I had wanted on the team from day 1. We might have similar backgrounds but I am confident we can find our way through adversity.
- Leadership style: One of my friends mentioned that she would die for her CEO, that their team was ready to work for him even though they had many issues. One’s ability to create such a feeling in 5 days is commendable. I received favorable feedback from the board and the organizers but the team was not that synchronized.
I know that I need to buy PJ a cortado to learn the secret sauce.
- Intelligence is underrated: intelligence/smarts is taken for granted at times. In my previous roles at Capital One and Credit Suisse I had heard comments from my mentors like ‘any one can do this job’. Having interacted with people at those firms and at other places, I started wondering if those mentors were being delusional. I realized over time that they were pushing the right buttons. Some people might not take those comments favorably.
I need to hire the right people and acknowledge their strengths. Then it might be time to push those buttons.
Now on to why an IESE MBA.
- ExSim: Enough said
- Diversity: My primary reason for having chosen IESE. The reality was much better than my expectations
- Case study approach: The only mode of teaching that works for me. I have slept through lectures. Case studies require a lot of effort but it is rewarding.
- Location: Barcelona, I rest my case