“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point but no further; cooperation is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
One of the main things that we learn quickly in the Wisconsin MBA is the value of teams and teamwork. Throughout the semester, we are assigned to a variety of team projects, from marketing case papers to arts administration presentations. Sometimes a team features only a couple of people, and sometimes up to a dozen! Team diversity is a big aspect of these projects, particularly in utilizing students from across different specializations. This has a huge impact on the end deliverable, as different individuals can bring their strengths to bear on the task at hand.
As our first semester draws to a close, we have one last big team project to present. The Integrated Company Analysis, or ICA, project is an in-depth look at a publicly traded company. Teams of five MBA students work to propose a new product or service for the company, taking all aspects of financing and marketing into consideration. Some of the things we consider are new product development, advertising, debt versus equity, target market, and brand growth—that’s a lot to address! Luckily, the diverse offerings of the team members allows us to utilize our strengths. My team includes students from Real Estate, Brand & Product Management, Marketing Research, and Corporate Finance & Investment Banking. This combination of skill sets gives us an excellent opportunity to develop a unique and profitable model for our ICA.
For the ICA, each team must create a slideshow and deliver a 25 minute presentation with an additional 10 minutes for questions. The panel of reviewers consists of our first-year MBA faculty. While this makes for a tough group, it also makes for excellent practical experience in presenting to extremely knowledgeable people, just like we will have to do in our careers after graduation. It’s important to remember that we will be counted upon to provide valued advice to our companies, and that our work here will hopefully lead directly to success in that role. Cooperation is the key to success in the ICA project, but it is also vital to the teams we will be asked to lead in the future.