The fantastic first week of EMBA at RSM

My Executive MBA at RSM has officially started on 1st February, and I had a fantastic time during the week. The week started with the Introduction Day, with Director of the Programme, the Dean, and others explaining the logistics. The day ended with a photo session, for which I hope I posed well.

The Class

I have a lively and vibrant section of around 60 classmates – with professional backgrounds in marketing, advertising, corporate finance, medical research, aeronautics, consulting and many more.

The Teaching Method

I got a good glimpse of a new teaching method at RSM which I didn’t experience before.

The teaching method focused on “why” rather than “what” with lots of participation from class with discussions, questions. The courses or lecture sessions primarily cases or real-world examples, especially Managerial Accounting, more on that below.

The Courses – Personal Leadership Development

The courses kicked off on Tuesday with two days of Personal Leadership Development taught by Prof. Daan Van Knippenberg and Prof. Dirk van Dierendonck with guest lectures by Prof. Milton Sousa. As a person who spends most of the time in Emacs with, admittedly unwarranted, skepticism against MBAs, I did have some doubts on the course’s content. I thought the course would have some wishy-washy hand-wavy nature.

But the lessons and sessions did away with my scepticism. The content of the course comprised Value Based Leadership, Finding leadership strengths, Personal strengths (based on the pre-course surveys) and finally a great “working together as team” game. The ample amount of discussions in the class have helped a lot in understanding what these things mean.

Most of my classmates in the class, along with me, knew a lot of the things before: what motivates people, what values should we look for etc. But we learned by questioning each other on how to implement the actions to motivate people.

I got some important observations on personal surveys during the session.

InterpersonalStrengths

Interpersonal Strengths: I need to pay attention to how I assert my needs.

InterpersonalProblems
Interpersonal Problems: I have to review my dominant attitude and to spend more brain cycles on understanding the views of others.

InterpersonalSensitivities

Interpersonal Sensitivities: I get bothered by or very sensitive to dependent, passive, and controlling personalities.

value-based-leadership
Values-based Leadership: I got a pleasant surprise in this survey, when my expectation of “sharing the lead” got less than the feedback I got from people I worked with.

goal-orientation
Goal Orientation: Looks like I focus too much on my performance, way above than class average. I can only “blame” the competitive schooling system of India that I went through.

Overall, I have gained some good insights about leadership and this class kicked off with a nice note. I look forward to the future sessions what more I can learn.

The Courses – Managerial accounting

Prof. Murray J. Bryant taught the course of Managerial Accounting. I have an Engineering degree in Electronics and Communication systems, and for during my entire career the work primarily involved (mon)keying code on computers. I never read or understood any accounting artifacts (e.g. Balance Sheets, Income Statements) before. The first session of the course confused me like a deer in the headlights, partly due to flu/fever and partly due to my brain going “depreciation amortization contribution … wat!!!!”.

But, the way Prof. Murray explained the cases, from real-world and real businesses, fascinated me and made me appreciate the importance of understanding the accounting to get a picture of a given business’ health. With 5 more sessions to go, I could see myself spending more time learning these things to become better.

The Team

team

Now, on to the most important part – At the beginning of the sessions, we got grouped into teams. Each team has around 6 members. During the course, I worked with the amazing team pictured above and for the rest of the term these guys will teach me a lots of things :) While the team just got started, I think we have nice balance of different personalities that I could learn from over the next 6 months!

Some Minor Concerns

My understanding and performance during the Accounting bothered me. With clearer expectations of the (esp. Accounting) sessions I could have worked better. Most of my colleagues with accounting/economics background did very well. I could also blame this on my lack of business/economics education and my lack of preperation.

I did have some concerns – the vegetarian food served during the week underwhelmed me. It could have been better.

All in all, I had a fantastic first week experience of MBA at RSM, stay tuned for more in the coming months!