I am a full-time MBA student at Norwich Business School. The UEA and NBS provide vast of opportunities for their students in terms of learning and gathering experience. Lloyd, Tony, Michelle, Alex, Mazen and myself (Gyuzala) took an opportunity to compete with global business school students in Warwick Business School Case Challenge 2017. The case challenge requires to focus on innovative solutions for current complex problems in healthcare, this year it was Sepsis disease.
My ex-director used to say to me that, if you don’t challenge yourself, you will never learn and develop. This became as my credo during my professional and personal lives. Although I was aware that my MBA timetable is full and there are some deadlines in assignments, I made a rational decision to participate this competition. Now, looking back, analysing the pathway with my team, I would definitely repeat this again if I had a chance to do so. It was a fruitful experience for all of us. It was challenging to all of us, as we were struggling to find two more MBA students to complete the team. People were busy with full workloads, and some of them did not want to put more responsibility and stress on themselves. After three weeks of searching and finalising the group of six, we completed our team when Alex, a Master’s student of Marketing and Management from NBS stepped up to the challenge, and played a key role in our team of more experienced MBA students. We called ourselves ‘Diverging Lens’, as we all are from different backgrounds: HR, Finance, Engineering, Sales and Science. Diversity in our pre-MBA experience brought us a view on the Sepsis problem from very different perspectives.
Part one of the competition was to create a poster describing Sepsis. We had to show our knowledge in the disease, the care pathway gaps, and how developed and developing countries tackle the barriers to the treatment. That was challenging, as we had to switch from business backgrounds into medical and scientific areas. However, when we finished with the poster we were happy with it and had enough knowledge to go for the final part of the competition. Second and final part, was to create an innovative solution that changes the way sepsis is managed in the UK. When we stepped into this stage, an interesting part of the competition begun, as we had to come up with a solution to something that we had no experience of. There were lots of debates, assumptions and suggestions from our team members. At that point, we were requested to use our knowledge gained in the Business School into the medical issue. That was an amazing part, at that point I understood how much we gathered from the modules so far on our MBA course. Using the WHY? model we came up with the real problem in the management of treatment. Then we put our focus on the problem and started to think what needs to be changed from operations and strategic perspective in order to reduce death from this disease.
On the day of competition at Warwick Business School, we were given 3 hours to put things together and present our solution in front of the judging panel. I was touched how six different people from all over the world, who knew each other just for a couple of months could work collaboratively when they face pressure. There were no significant debates within this period of time, we agreed our roles and started to work. It was fantastic. The process was smooth, we knew that if we do not work in the most efficient and professional way- we will fail. No one said that, but everybody knew. We kept motivating each other, emphasising our strengths instead of weaknesses.
Our team was the youngest team in this competition as we started the MBA course only in January, all other teams already on the way to finish their MBA in a couple of months. Despite that fact, I am proud and confident that we were strong competitors to them. This was really great experience for myself and other members of our team. We did a lot of networking and have lots of new valuable contacts. When the winners were presenting their presentation I understood why it was not us, but it is all about an experience and knowledge and I think that was the reason we came here to NBS. To know that we are not far behind the top business schools around the world, however, made me feel proud of the work we have done.
With thanks to Gyuzala Muzafarova for contributing to the NBS Blog.