The Global Virtual Teams exercise brings students from member schools together to work in teams on an exercise that is embedded in one of their regular courses. The exercise provides students with real-time, hands-on practice that will be important to their effectiveness in the organizational teams of which they will be a member or leader after they graduate. Assumptions regarding information, perspectives, frames of reference, and preferences abound in more serious ways in teams that are global and virtual.
Student responses to the question, "What surprised you most about the GVT course or exercise?"
I found myself looking forward to every session after it started. I really liked how "real" each session was, the role play and the real life scenarios were really easy to relate to, after every class and we could really see the challenges and opportunities we had in forming global virtual teams.
It would have been impossible for anyone to tell the difference between the negotiations we had and that being held at the highest level anywhere in the real world. The session was very intense, full of emotion, facts based, data driven and very elaborate.
GVT revealed how amazingly quick we can form deep connection with supposed strangers when we make thorough introductions covering life experience, beliefs - beyond the regular academic qualification and work experience.
I got to know my team members quite well beyond their names and where they were from. I got to know about their aspirations and their fears. This made subsequent conversations easier.
Student responses to the question, "What did you learn from the GVT course that you could imagine applying in your future career?"
Even though we were using a case study to simulate a negotiation setting, it was still realistic in a sense that we need to learn how to work with people we've just met for the first time over Zoom. It was also insightful to learn how people from different cultural and professional backgrounds tackle the same problem in a slightly different way, and how to best bridge our understanding over a virtual setting.
Looking at my future job in a dynamic and international environment, the main learning from the exercise is certainly the importance of setting in stone right at the beginning the rules of the game and strategy to deal with an explosive mix: time pressure, different time zones, a highly diverse team and, of course, the unknown.
I also understand now that team failures are not just individual in nature, they could also be structural or technological. Going forward, I have decided to analyse any team failures or problems within a wider context, by asking key questions to understand what the real source of the challenges/failures may be.
Most consulting engagements require teams from all over the world and from different professional backgrounds to work together and deliver the client's best possible solution. These frameworks center their principles around building trust at a distance by leveraging the appropriate technology tools to make teams more productive and efficient while respecting the individual and embracing cultural differences.
Student responses to the question, "What would you like to tell others about your experience in the GVT course?"
Would I recommend it to someone? Definitely: I doubt you experienced/will ever experience anything similar in your academic life!
This is a great opportunity to learn new concepts to enhance your management skills, especially when your career requires interaction with remote teams diverse in their professional and ethnic backgrounds. It is also a chance to work alongside students from universities that are members of the Global Network for Advanced Management.
You can learn more than you can imagine. In this "Zoom" era, learning how to communicate glocally and virtually is definitely important. You can also make a lot of friends in this process.