Written by: Sangwoon Jeong, MBA ’24
In retrospect, I didn’t fully realize that the first year of the UB MBA program was structured around team-based activities. Cohorts operate in the first semester with one clear goal: winning the Corporate Champions Project. This experience strengthens the bonds between team members in the same cohort and teaches numerous teamwork and leadership lessons along the way.
Having more than 10 years of hands-on experience prior to entering the UB MBA program, I know how important teamwork is to an organization because it gives you a constant drive to innovate in the workplace. Without teamwork, a company can survive in the business world, but cannot prosper in the long run.
We live in an era where leadership and team spirit must be learned on the spot. However, unlike sports activities, it is difficult for some college students to immerse themselves in the leadership environment and learn true leadership through academic activities. I don’t think other MBA programs offer this opportunity like UB does.
Like a typical MBA program, the UB MBA provides opportunities to learn management concepts and professional skills but is not limited to that. Students are exposed to a variety of situations throughout the year to develop their leadership skills from their first day of orientation. You are loaded with many assignments, exams and presentations. But you’d be surprised how creatively students have to use what they’ve learned in class while participating in the Corporate Champions project.
All classes are closely interconnected to work on Corporate Champions projects, and students are required to work in all classes and execute the same steps as their team members. No one falls behind. It enables students to learn management expertise, knowledge testing and leadership skills applied in a variety of situations. Courses are highly educational and based on abundant academic resources. In-depth case studies incorporate all the knowledge you’ve learned in organizational behavior, accounting, statistics, management communications, entrepreneurship and more, and are highlighted in Corporate Champions Announcement Day.
Competing against each team for the victory of Corporate Champions allows students to naturally embrace their strengths and weaknesses. They can also embrace failure by forming solidarity, which is a key asset for students for the rest of the semester.
People say we live in an AI-driven society. However, team-based troubleshooting skills are still a much-needed strength in today’s world, and leadership based on them is unlikely to be replaced by artificial intelligence anytime soon. Cooperation is a human domain. In the UB MBA program, we are excited to learn how to develop team-based achievement and MBA professionalism. You’d be surprised to see these insights embodied in your daily life.
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Her insight reflects just one of the life-changing lessons I’ve learned so far in the UB MBA program.
Sangwoon Jeong is a current MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management.