Friday, February 25, 2011

Managing Multiple Teams at Kelley

As a first year MBA student at the Kelley School of Business, you feel such relief when you have completed the first semester of your two year MBA program. At Kelley the first semester of your masters of business administration program is called "The Core", and it is an intense time period to say the least. One of the key learnings that comes from "The Core" is time management. Not only are you managing your workload as it pertains to your MBA management degree courses, but you are balancing that with MBA student activities, and professional and career development. Given all of this, I was surprised to hear many second year MBA students at Kelley as well as faculty warn that time management would be even more difficult once out of "The Core".

Time management is done out of necessity in "The Core", and I'll be frank in saying that there really isn't that much time left to manage after taking out the time that is managed for you. After "The Core" as a Kelley student you choose the courses you wish to take to complete your MBA professional degree. Generally, students take eight courses per semester, which are subdivided into two sets of four seven week courses, where as in "The Core" students are taking eight courses simultaneously. As a result, there is a lot more "unscheduled" time after "The Core" just as a result of the course structure. Having more "unscheduled" time however means that as a student you must be more efficient about managing that time. This become challenging because instead of working on one team for all eight courses in "The Core" you may have a different team for each of your four seven week courses, which is a lot more schedules to coordinate.

What surprises me about the two year MBA program experience is how much of the valuable learnings occur outside of the classroom. At a top ranked MBA college you are learning so much more than what is taught in the classroom. I recall someone telling me before I started my MBA management degree that I would schedule everything, including grocery shopping and working out on my Outlook calendar. I thought they were crazy, but they were right. One of the most important tools in managing multiple teams is making sure all team members keep their Outlook calendars up to date so that meetings can be scheduled with minimal conflicts and minimal effort, so my advice, start using it now.


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