At the start of the fall, eighteen students from around the world met in Rosarito, Mexico. The topic? Leading cross cultural teams.
To facilitate learning, we started with an exercise that demonstrated how a strictly tiered organization can impact employee behaviors. As upper management (Dr Phil and a few of his hand-picked students) sat sipping margaritas, middle management ran in frustrated circles. The rest of were workers and spent the time plotting rebellions on the patio.
The hotel classroom sat high above a rocky shore cliff, so we had a panoramic view of the ocean. Occasionally, we’d spot a few dolphins leaping through the waves. The sun was bright and the grass green in the garden just beyond the terrace. After standing off for what felt like an eternity, upper management came down to offer us “a better deal”. After some negotiations, the worker group voted to agree to their conditions of doing “fun work” for “fun money”.
What exactly was the fun work? Well, as you can see from the photo below, we danced before the giant Jesus statue overlooking the hotel. There was also something about a cat, and the mystery of a missing volleyball. We had fun dancing, refused to jump into the pool, and ended day with some relaxation involving more margaritas (for all, this time!).
With the waves beckoning, a few jumped in to try out the temps (freezing!). But most stayed pool side reading or just chatting and relaxing. After dinner it was time to network with the arriving second year IMBA students. The theme of the evening was dancing, drinking and singing (karaoke). Story has it that by 3am, there was a hungry German demanding hot dogs, who unknowingly established a new underground food chain in Las Rocas (that’s business school in action!).
All was well the next day. We completed presentations of a case study on the transformational leadership examples of Charlotte Beers. The last three days in Rosarito gave us a first taste of the “a ton of fun, and a ton of work” promise we heard from the MBA office earlier. As we zip up our lessons and wave Mexico goodbye, we kept a corner of ourselves intact, for the memories of Rosarito, for good.
-Tina Li D’Amore
Tina is a first-year IMBA student at USD.