Montreal, Canada 2016
Here is a report from University of Stellenbosch students who joined us on the RoundTables at McGill University.
A USB MBA Modular group, accompanied by Prof Mias de Klerk, head: Research at USB, recently went to Montreal, Canada, as part of their International Study Module. They attended the module – Managing Around The World: International Roundtables for Practicing Managers – at McGill University.
Tarina du Toit, a USB Modular MBA student, was part of the group . She shares her experience:
This year’s International Roundtables for Practicing Managers programme was held at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. When we received our International Study Module options, I immediately knew that this was something that I wanted to do and it was my first choice. It was just a bonus that it was presented in the beautiful city of Montreal. The programme was designed to explore how things get done in a cross-cultural world, and how to work more effectively. We were 30 MBA students in total and we all came from different countries, which in itself was an amazing cultural experience. The programme itself was designed to be very interactive. There were no classrooms with a lecturer in the front. The programme really challenged us to interact and find solutions for managerial challenges that we experience in our own environment. We had the opportunity to consult each other and also learn from each other’s experience. The programme was divided into three parts: the purpose and nature of managerial work; field visits to local companies; and application to your own circumstances. This programme again highlighted how important it is to spend time on reflection. On the problems that managers worldwide have to face: Unfortunately, we live in a hierarchical society, especially in South Africa. Organisations have become so hierarchical and structured that they have lost their human element. Unfortunately, innovation and creativity got lost along the way. We have to remember that people buy from people, therefore our focus should be on people. Creating an environment where people feel valued, inspired and motivated is the solution. People want to know they are part of “something bigger” and part of the decision-making process. They want to know that their opinion matters, regardless of their position or rank. I also realise that this is much easier said than done. Another big challenge managers face is effective communication. This is something that was highlighted by all the attendees. We realised that communicating was not so much the problem as listening was the problem. Listening requires more than hearing, it requires understanding.