Culture – through my looking glass…
I have always been fascinated by cultures, every aspect of it – the cuisine, language, traditional wear, social habits etc. But, I was more of a spectator than a participant until September 18, 2016.
The US Global Residency for the OneMBA Program began on September 18 and concluded on September 24 (my birthday). It was during this time that I experienced firsthand what happens when 5 cultures and about 115 different personalities converge in one location. Participants from the 5 member universities that comprise the OneMBA Program, met for the first time at the UNC Kenan-Flagner Business School’s North Carolina campus. We were then put into our ‘global teams’ – usually a team consisted of about six persons, each school was represented by one or more participant. From the time, we were assigned to our team (Go Team 4!), until the end of the residency, we studied, ate, took trips, and made presentations together. For someone who grew up introverted, and to this day has some residual effects of this personality trait, it was a tough week, but also a great learning experience.
The LAMGO (Leading and Managing Global Organizations) sessions were especially enlightening and liberating. Studying the theories of culture while simultaneously interacting directly with my cohorts from the same cultures being studied helped greatly to dismantle myths and stereotypes and made me more aware.
One of my most treasured moments from this residency was my chat with professor Johnson about an issue I was facing. He provided amazing insights into the situation which helped me to see beyond the obvious.
In retrospect, the first global residency in the US was the launching pad for great friendships and collaborations. It also taught me to be comfortable being uncomfortable.