Duke MMS Student Blog
Team Challenges & Lessons
One aspect of the MMS program that sets it far apart from undergraduate coursework is the emphasis that is placed on teamwork. In undergrad, I remember having a few classes that required a group project by the end of the semester, and I remember dreading working with other people. It’s always frustrating dealing with others’ schedules, conflicting ideas and work styles, and people who don’t want to do their part in the project. I wasn’t really sure about the team aspect of Fuqua when I first arrived over the summer, because I usually like to do assignments alone. After going through two terms with one team and now changing to another, though, I have come to understand the reasons that we are put into teams.
There is a reason that we are called “Team Fuqua” and not “Group Fuqua.” It’s because being in a group simply means that the members have similar characteristics, and that they have been categorized together. A team, however, is a much different concept. Team members are expected to work cohesively toward a common goal, while also being supportive of one another. This is exactly what “Team Fuqua” and the MMS team assignments are meant to teach.
I won’t lie to you; there are difficult times while working on a team, and it’s not always easy to get assignments done within a deadline. There are certainly challenges, but if there weren’t, we wouldn’t learn anything. In your team, you can expect to learn, first and foremost, about other people and how they work. It’s almost like a psychology experiment: put 5 or 6 people in a room and see what they can create. It’s more than that, though. MMS teams are designed to simulate the workplace, where we’ll face changing schedules, conflicts, and varying work styles.
The MMS teams are also very diverse. Students come from a variety of cultures, which you’ll get to learn about. Additionally, there are people from other parts of the U.S. who have alternate view points. It’s interesting to see how teammates’ various backgrounds come into play when weighing in on assignments. Your teammates will also have different strengths and areas where they excel, so you will all have to work together to get your assignments done in time.
Working in teams is a unique learning experience that students often have to adjust to, but it has real value because it trains you to function in a work environment. Students learn how to collaborate, and they also learn about other cultures and areas of study. So if you have the opportunity to join Team Fuqua, take the opportunity to learn as much as you can from the people on your team.