Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

The Team Approach | September 25, 2008

Like most MBA programs, NC State divides the first year students into teams who work together on a variety of projects over the course of the year. These teams are static, meaning that you stick with your group members through the duration of the first two semesters. You’re also not allowed to choose your teammates. We are divided up based on our background, education and personality type, so our group contains as much diversity as possible.

Here is a very brief sketch of my team:

David, 25, doing a joint MBA/Vet School program, ENFJ (see the MBTI Wiki for more info on these acronyms)

Suki, 43, Ph.D bioscientist and researcher, INTJ

Subramani, 26, computer programming and engineering, ENFJ

Amy, 23, marketing, ENFJ

Ryan, 26, psychology, ESFJ

After five weeks in the program, I’ve realized that the differences between us are both our greatest strength and our greatest source of conflict. Put five people together who each have a unique communication, learning and work style together, and watch what happens., Then add a generous dose of stress from a variety of exams, presentations and papers. Needless to say, things get interesting in a hurry.

But we’re doing this for a reason. When we graduate, we won’t get to choose our co-workers, nor will we get to choose the people we manage or who manage us. It will be vitally important that we know how to work efficiently and productively with people who are similar to us AND with people who are completely different from us. Business school gives us a unique exposure to this process.

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Posted in People, Teams
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4 Comments »

  1. Isn’t the point of getting your MBA is so you can choose where you work, who you work for and the kind of people you work with in the future?

    Comment by Jeff — October 7, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  2. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment! Of course increased flexibility is a huge reason to get your MBA. And maybe I overstated how little choice we’ll have in a workplace.

    A better choice of words would have been, “We won’t get to choose who ALL of our co-workers are, nor who ALL of our managers will be.”

    In general, we will have a good idea of the culture and values of an organization as well as what the people are like through interviews and whatnot. However, we probably won’t meet every single person and new hires will take place all the time. Ultimately, you’ll probably run into some people you either struggle working with, don’t like all that much or both.

    Comment by Ryan — October 10, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

  3. How interesting that you have no “perceivers” in your group! (i.e. people who have a letter P at the end of their MBTI type) Do you think this is a coincidence or a self-selecting group? I mean, “judgers” are people who plan before acting, and these may be the same kind of people who decide to go to business school…. Hope you are well!

    Comment by leslie — October 14, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  4. Hey Leslie,

    Thanks for the comment. Interestingly enough, there is only one P in our entire full-time class of 35+ students. We discussed this during our orientation and you pretty much hit the nail on the head. We are very much a self-selecting group, ambitious, driven, and detail-oriented. We probably wouldn’t be in this position without those traits that define the J.

    Comment by Ryan — October 14, 2008 @ 9:48 pm


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