by Thomas Carroll, MiM 2019
Each year, the new Masters in Management and Global Masters in Management classes go on an away day. The purpose? To bring together groups of hugely diverse people and to give them the opportunity to gel into effective teams through shared challenges, expert guidance and a great venue.
As a newly minted MiM student at LBS, you are assigned a study group. These are the people you will be furiously crunching numbers and scrawling on whiteboards with hours deep into assignments, so getting the opportunity to get to know each other beforehand is extremely valuable. You go through all the events of the away day alongside your study group, preparing you to work as a team throughout the term ahead.
The process of getting to know them takes the form of doing things that are designed to scare you just a bit. Climbing up very tall poles and scaling a climbing wall blindfolded while relying only on your group’s shouted instructions for guidance are two such slightly scary things. Here I think LBS have hit on a very effective formula. You cannot fail to build a connection with someone after clinging to each other while the 15m pole you are on top of wobbles madly. The fact is that facing these challenges as a team really does accelerate the process of team formation. They help get you comfortable with your teammates’ personalities, ways of thinking and group dynamics.
Group coaching multiplies the day’s value. The coaches are all experienced professionals who make it their living to bring out the best in people and have coached executives, professional sports teams and academics. They give feedback on what they see in the group and share their experience to further accelerate your learning about each other and what you all have to bring to the group. They also handily take photos when you and your groupmates are climbing poles, and sharing photos of you all looking funny in harnesses and helmets is of course another great way to gel as a team.
There were of course calmer events than climbing poles, like designing a flag that jointly represents your group and your places of origin. LBS is a diverse place, and to make such a flag you must think about where each of you has come from and where you want to go. You don’t just spend time with your group, however. The opportunity to chat with the whole course is provided halfway through the day, facilitated by great food and, as it happened for us, sunshine.
The whole day comprises a packed course of team-building that lets everyone contribute their own strengths to the group at the same time as getting to know the strengths of others. It gives you greater self-knowledge as individuals and as a team. Having done a few assignments with my group in my time so far at LBS, I can say that the away day contributed hugely to our ability to hit the ground running. Ultimately, the away day was successful at setting us up for success, which is what LBS is all about.