My MFA Study Group Experience; Meet Erkka Salo MFA2021

Collaborative working through study groups is an integral part of the MFA programme. Study groups consist of 6-7 students per group who work together on core group assignments. Each study group comprises of a mix of educational background, nationality, age and gender to give students the experience of working in a diverse team in a multi-cultural environment. Study groups are rotated halfway through the school year, to give students the opportunity to collaborate with different members of their cohort.

In the second instalment of this blog series, we spoke to MFA2021 graduate Erkka Salo about his study group experience!

Hi Erkka! To start, can you give a brief overview of your study group?

In the first study group, we didn’t really have a leader; we found that everyone had their own roles that they wanted to do, and they did very well which meant we had trust in each other and the wider team. Despite being a very diverse group of people, everyone had the same interests so the dynamic was really good and everyone did a fair share of the work. We only had one person who was outside of the UK, but the time difference wasn’t too crazy. We were able to have a lot of group meetings in person with the majority of the team.

In the second study group, it was a little bit different. I took a lead role and devised and divided tasks so that every task was completed efficiently. The dynamic still worked really well, which was down the diversity of mindsets and skills that we had within the team. Combined, our different skills and mindsets worked well to make a good collective product. We were all in similar time zones so we were quite lucky! It required a little bit of adjustment from everyone but isn’t this the nature of business?

What projects did you do?

We did a Hedge fund Management Strategy project for Investment Management. We had to do research on different strategies to see how they performed historically and why it would be a great training strategy going forward. Once we were able to consolidate the project, everyone did a great job. There were no major adjustments to be made, as we trusted each other to do our parts well and we ended up getting the highest grade for the project! When you have that trust with your teammates, it’s always a good experience.

With the second group, we had a project for Security Evaluation. Everyone was busy with recruiting so it became a bit of a sprint to the finish, however with good teamwork and a couple of late nights we got it finished to a good standard.

What was the most rewarding part of your study group?

I come from a very diverse international background, where I’ve lived in seven countries and really hoped there would be an international atmosphere. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to come to LBS and was the most rewarding aspect of the study groups. Furthermore, I wanted to experience the different ways people think and work as a team. Working with different people helps you to adjust to different working styles and puts you in a good position if you’re looking to manage people in the future.

What were your key takeaways from the study group experience?

We were already limited in the social interaction we could enjoy, due to Covid, so especially in the beginning, we would always try to meet in person. When we started working together and dividing tasks, we would try and meet at one of our places. Outside of projects we would still try and get together; we went for picnics, we went to the pub and at some points we would also cooked for each other. I think doing activities together outside of work helps with the overall project that you’re trying to complete because it created a fun atmosphere.

The study group experience has especially helped within my current role, in terms of the digital communication which was required, due to the various lockdowns. Through Zoom, WhatsApp etc, getting work done to a good quality, with everyone doing their fair share can be challenging. I work a lot from home at the moment, so the experience of working remotely at LBS has really helped me to communicate and collaborate effectively in my current role.   

Click here
to read more about the study group experience from other MFA2021 students!

To find out more about the MFA programme, please visit our website.

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