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Silicon Valley 2016 Blog Series

Teams from the Class of 2017 are writing about their experiences in Silicon Valley as a part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Trip in a series of blogs. You are currently reading the seventh and final blog in the series. You can read their additional blogs by clicking on the buttons below.

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Blog 7: Our Silicon Valley Outcome: Uniting as One Big Team

Written by Team Arcturus - Abdul Ahmadzai, Ajay Bhandari, Isabelle Blondeau, Bernard Guité, Kurt Schweitzer 

In the course of a lifetime most experiences are fleeting, a few are worth remembering and some have so much impact that they change us in ways we never thought possible. Silicon Valley is an experience in itself where collaboration and networking is key to success. One would think that in such a fast paced and intense environment which is Silicon Valley that concepts and ideas would be closely guarded corporate secrets. What we found was that sharing ideas was a big part of doing business here.

Teams of Executive MBAs brainstorming

Reflecting back on our first two semesters our cohort has noticed that we have not taken full advantage of collaboration between teams. Therefore, some only shared pieces of assignments with those individuals who were considered trustworthy, in fear of sharing work that could be replicated. Without any specific direction from the professors to the contrary, the team exercises used to build cohesion were viewed by most as a competition between teams. Unfortunately, this is how most of the business world (and government institutions) are currently structured.

Being a good team player is not about only yourself and your team, it is about the bigger picture, because we all want success! We were fortunate to glimpse into the world of innovation and be invited to the table of people dedicating their lives to make the world a better place. Being outside of the classroom as a cohort revealed the true nature of people. The variety of perceptions and behaviors made this experience even more interesting as we were able to gain fresh insights about our colleagues. Learning about each and every one, their goals and motivations is invaluable for the upcoming year of this program. We hear over and over how crucial it is to choose your business partners wisely, this trip was an incredible opportunity to discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Over the past week, many of us took the chance to break away from our teams and interact directly with members of other teams. While some preferred staying within their own team, other members were welcomed with opened arms.

Teams of Executive MBAs brainstorming

Special thanks goes to specific individuals who went the extra mile to make this experience that much better for everyone, such as Tanya Gracie who organized the Bay to Breakers run, which forced a few of us to get out of our comfort zone as our first year took a toll on us in terms of exercise. Furthermore, she got us an appointment with Brandon Lee, General Consul. This visit was much appreciated and several people considered it one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks also to Milan Seres who organized a visit to Alcatraz for the cohort. And sometimes, although we all agree that planning is key, things just happen through word to mouth where the majority of us ended up at the Top of the Mark for drinks together, randomly, in the middle of the week.

What we have discovered is that each team has an essence, a particular dynamic and we, Team Arcturus, are grateful to have spent time with members of every other team. A key takeaway from the Silicon Valley trip and our first year together is that we must find better ways to work together while leaning forward over the next year. New and stronger relationships were built and we truly believe that consistent communications and taking the time to check-in not only within our teams but with others will ensure success for our cohort as we will tackle our second year. We must take these lessons learned back to our personal and professional lives and apply them proactively, or risk repeating the past! 

Teams of Executive MBAs brainstorming

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