NO PAIN NO GAIN
The last 3.5 days residency for the OneMBA17 in calendar year 2015 was scheduled for mid December. Besides the various classes we would be having on Personal Leadership Development, Operations Management and Leading & Managing Global Operations (LAMGO), RSM had also scheduled a so-called “Partner day” for our partners on the last afternoon of the residency.
Just after the October residency, an invite had been sent to all partners of the OneMBA17 class with a request to join the OneMBA17 class on the last afternoon of the December residency. Not surprisingly, given everyone’s busy schedules, it took a while for people to pass on the invitation to their partners, and then some more time to have partners confirm! Taking into account that some partners are living abroad, the approximate 50% of the partners that ultimately joined the session, can be considered quite a good attendance rate!
After a warm welcome at RSM, the partners were joined by the OneMBA17 class for lunch. We were served a lovely warm meal, during which we had the opportunity to introduce our partners to the people we had been surrounded with in the last few months since we started our OneMBA journey. Not surprisingly, it was nice for both partners and class members to put a face to the names that the class mates had been talking about at home and, vice versa, in class. We shared stories, jokes and experiences so far, while at the same time tips were exchanged for what works well or not so well. The event also gave partners the opportunity to share stories about how they had experienced these past months and what they were running into at home when dealing with their partner’s MBA time pressures. While strategies between class members may have varied between spending holidays studying, to some other students studying every weeknight to allow for some free time on the weekend, it was reaffirmed that the time pressure of the OneMBA program is considered significant.
Fortunately, and on specific request of the OneMBA17 class, our partners had been given some homework too! So after our shared lunch, when the OneMBA17 class went back to their session on Personal Leadership Development, our partners had a session on the MBA Experience with Dory Grandia. Prior to coming to RSM, they were asked to look at Geert Hofstede’s website to gain an understanding of the differences between their own national culture and a different culture of someone they knew. Since working with so many different cultures is such an intrinsic part of the OneMBA programme, it gave our partners a little insight into the experience of the OneMBA class members when working in culturally diverse teams. Besides that, there was a good explanation of the OneMBA programme by our anchors of the programme: Saskia Treurniet, Mariapia Di Palma and Jos Latuheru.
And then, last but not least, 2 of the current OneMBA16 participants were present to share some of their personal stories and experiences with our partners. There was a funny example of comparing the steep learning curve and the personal development that a OneMBA participant may be going through during the programme with a race horse, while the partner is lagging behind and trying to catch up…. Obviously, it is a shared responsibility of partners to keep each other informed and involved since the time pressure of the OneMBA as well as your family life and jobs seriously impact the time available for just the 2 of you. A clear message for all partners was to try and give the OneMBA participants the space they need to study. Being patient and understanding when they are stressed, tired or not their “normal” selves was also considered to greatly reduce stress. All of this will support you in becoming a stronger team and finding a new balance together during this MBA ride. In my family, we have definitely experienced that all family members needed time to get used to the new reality of mom doing her MBA. “NO PAIN NO GAIN” and “ENJOY IT” are phrases commonly heard in our family home nowadays!
All in all, my partner very much appreciated the opportunity to share stories, get some more insight, as well as simply meeting the people that I will be spending a lot of time with in these 2 years. From my perspective, it was a really nice experience getting to know other class member’s partners and sharing stories about the impact of doing an MBA in real life! The afternoon was completed with drinks with the OneMBA17 class members in Maria’s Cafe where we made a toast to a good new year to come!