During my turn of closing comments of the conference yesterday, I said “As a student, it’s truly a privilege to have a chance to participate and contribute in a conference of 40 leaders….”. It was a conference of country managers, sales directors and the regional managing directors. Quite an incredible experience!
After the close, the regional MD asked me “How do you feel about the conference? Was it a different from college?”, I think I might have over-reacted… I replied “I truly enjoyed it… But I’m surprised how similar this workshop was to the group works we do in college!”… hmm… Honest, but not a smart comment. I’m sure I did not offend him with that comment, but I must have given an impression that I learnt nothing from a great opportunity, for I compared a meeting of leaders directly responsible for nearly 5 billion dollars in revenue as merely similar to any other exercise in college. Ouch!
As I introspect, I realise that the group was certainly different from the MBA group for each and every participant was absolutely confident about whatever he/she said. There were different opinions, but almost no argument and the group came to consensus at lightning pace which I least expected. But I can’t put my finger on why I felt the two groups were so similar… was it because the kind of cluster formation by geography, language or function was similar to what we see in class or because the brain storming was only as structured as any other or if it was because I felt there wasn’t enough out-of-box thinking!! Can’t put my finger on it… and yet I’m so sure they were similar. Maybe, the right way to look at it is not that business leaders behaved like MBA students, but MBA students have been behaving like business leaders the entire year!