Before we started the Project Management Introduction Week, there were some interesting comments about the subject from our lecturers:
‘Some of students slept at the School of Management building during the project week…’
‘I’ve seen some groups finish their work at 4am in previous years…’
I could not believe that when lecturers said that. To be honest, I thought this is not a problem because I had an experience ‘sleeping at the office’ when I was working as a consultant in Korea. Before the project management week, we had to do some online learning which took about 20 hours to finish.
For the first two days, we had 8 hours of lectures, starting at 8:45, finishing at 17:45. After the lectures, we had to do some group work as well.
I got a new group for only PMI week. I was working with students who I hadn’t spoken to last semester. Since we don’t really know each other well, we started having a chat and asking the basic questions. ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Where do you come from?’ ‘What was your undergraduate study?’ ‘Do you have working experiences?’ ‘Do you have any specific role that you want to take for the team’
Based on our conversations, I became a team leader. I wasn’t sure whether I should take the role or not since English is not my mother tongue. But I took the role, because I am good at organising stuff and have project based work experiences.
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Monday, we got home around 8pm. (It was fine, not a big deal!)
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Tuesday, we got home around 8pm. (Still okay!) Some groups stayed until 11 pm on that day.
On Tuesday, I applied what I learnt from previous working experiences: ‘Preserve your energy until you know what to do!’
I was not sure what to do for the next few days, so I informed to our team that we would have to stay later on Wednesday and Thursday but on Tuesday afternoon I said ‘I can let you guys go now if you guys are happy with that?’
My team was happy with my decision. So we went home early.
Some people said ‘Kelly, where are you going? You are a project manager!’
‘Yes, I know! But everything we made today would be changed on Wednesday and Thursday anyway! So I want to go home now.’
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On Wednesday, the project managers had to give a short presentation about the team’s strategy briefly. I did our team’s presentation. It wasn’t that good. Of course, I spent less hours on that than the others! Also on Wednesday, we had to prepare for the ‘real’ simulation on Thursday.
I DID NOT SLEEP.
I let my team members go home around 4 am. But one member did not want to go home. He was too passionate to stop work. I felt I could not leave my team member alone in the room because I was the person who has to take care of all of the members of my team.
Around 6 am, I told him: ‘Hey, I appreciate your work but you are the most important person who has to play the game and you have to keep your energy. If you cannot keep your energy, the preparation that you’ve done is useless. Please go home. I know you have passions to finish this, but sometimes you need to understand the time constraint.’
Well, that’s what my manager at previous work taught me. (My manager Hyong Wook Kim was one of the students of Christopher Martin, who had done his master’s degree at Cranfield University 12 years ago. That’s how I got to know about Cranfield University!)
Eventually I got home – at 7 am on Thursday! I took a shower and went back to the room to work. (I couldn’t believe that I was still alive and functioning!) We played the simulation (the MBA students did same thing as we did – we played the simulation at the same time).
We finished the simulation around 7pm (having started at 8:30am!) and after that, we had to prepare presentation and report, which were due on Friday!
The intensity of the week basically meant I had no sleep Wednesday, Thursday or Friday – I was really surprised that I was up until 2am on Friday! I worked out that I’d had no sleep for 42 hours! I actually feel like I am a super woman!
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I was so tired that I forgot one of my team members name. Kla, I’m sorry! Plus, I am still recovering my body balance. Last week was unhealthy week for us. But I really enjoyed the PMI week and also realised that I enjoy being a leader. Also, I taught one more thing to my team members! In Korea, we always have dinner with clients and team members after we deliver the final presentation! So since my guys got me as a manager, they had to adapt to Korean rules! So we had a dinner night!
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(We wanted to go to Milton Keynes, but was not able to manage it due to few members having a submission deadline in three days.)
It was such a great week! Working with new friends, getting know them well, and gaining practical knowledge about project management! So, so useful for management students.
I would like to thank you to my team members.
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- Serge Marescalco
- Helen Rabot
- Aphimuk Aroonwetchakul (Kla)
- Yebei Ning
- Yi Du
P.s. A special thank you to my manager at previous work, Hyong wook Kim. During this challenging week, I was able to utilise some of the skills that I’ve learnt from you including MS office skills, project management skills, time management skills and communication skills + Korean dinner cultures. Thanks for that!