It’s our final day of the program. We’re sitting by the pool at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur conducting our final team meeting and it’s hard not to think about how far we have come since beginning the program in August of 2017.
The First Encounter:
We started this journey together 21 months ago during our two-day Orientation session held at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata. It was a weekend of firsts: meeting the cohort, meeting professors, introductions into our teams, and most importantly taking the first step towards personal change and development.
The First Class:
The first class day in September was eye opening as we were presented the syllabi for our first four courses. We felt overwhelmed as we reviewed the content and began to understand what we were expected to learn and the deliverables we were expected to complete. At the same time we were excited to dive into the experience, and we enjoyed the opportunities during breaks and lunch to build lasting relationships with our colleagues.
The First Team Meeting:
Our first team meetings were strange and uncomfortable: we understood that how we approached the coming week’s deliverables would set the tone and the norms for how our team would work together for the next 20 months. Each team member wanted to contribute as much as possible but was also shy to put up their hand for specific tasks. Socially, we were polite and professional- the program called this the ‘honeymoon phase’.
Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable:
All this changed as we moved through the first semester. We began bonding over data analysis study sessions, working through our goals and personal development with Professors Miles and Davies during our Team Development Seminars, and spending long hours in the case rooms getting to know each other as we worked on the common goal of completing deliverables. Reflecting back, these moments represented some of the unsung highlights of the program for us.
Growing from a Group of Individuals into a Family:
The highlights continued for us in the second semester of the program. The semester culminated that year with our first trip; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business consulting Trip to Silicon Valley. We attended Executive Briefings during our visits to Google, Paypal, Docusign, and other companies that provided fascinating insight on the unique culture and what next on the innovation front. In addition to the business aspect, the trip also provided many opportunities for fun, social events which the cohort could partake. Of particular note were the experiences of groups attending a San Francisco Giants game, touring the waterfront, and many nights spent at Club 952. It was there, in the San Francisco Bay area, that the cohort really bonded and became a family.
Re-Engaging for Year 2:
The summer was enjoyable to step away from the classroom for a few months to work on our own Individual Business Consulting Projects and partake in some much needed rest.
While the summer away from the classroom was nice, our first class day in September felt like a family reunion; sharing stories of client experiences, travel and the time we spent with family, and surprisingly just how much we missed each other. It didn’t take long before we were right back into the routine and jumped right into fall semester focusing on the next consulting project; The Technology Entrepreneurship BCP where we worked alongside a tech start-up for six intensive weeks to develop an investor’s package and deliver pitch to a panel of venture capitalists – our own version of Dragon’s Den. There was a winner announced for best pitch - which, since we have the bragging rights, Team Arcturus won!
Bringing us to this moment in Kuala Lumpur:
The fall semester concluded with the fifth consulting project that took place within our Strategy Formulation and Implementation course. This was the project that walked us through aligning the corporate strategy with the Malaysia market and the opportunity to select the company that would bring us to this moment in Kuala Lumpur. The next 5 months of hard work with the client has brought us here poolside closing off our final report; to the conclusion of a successful week of attending meetings and leading to the company’s expansion into Malaysia.
The last 21 months have seen us build lifelong friendships by sharing and growing together in both celebratory and trying times. We may be having our last team meeting (with a celebratory glass of champagne) but this isn’t the end for us. Our relationships, memories, and fondness for the Telfer Executive MBA program will last forever.