23 October 2018

Meeting new people is exciting. And you’ll meet lots of new people whose accomplishments will blow you away in your first weeks in Edinburgh.
Building Better Teams with the Master's in International Business students at the Army Barracks

Everyone I’ve met seems to be trilingual and has completed double degrees and/or has come from an impressive career. I'm sure I will learn a lot from the diverse perspectives and experiences my fellow students will bring to the table this year.

But how to learn all the names?!

Having been raised in Europe, I tend to struggle when trying to pronounce Asian names correctly. The Asian students possibly share these same issues when trying to remember Western names, however most of them attentively use English names to make it easier for people like me. And thus, bubbly Xiang has become known as Sky, tough Xinyi goes by the name of Maggie, and handsome Yukun is Hubery.

Not only have we been learning each other’s names, but these first weeks we’ve also been talking loads about our hopes for our future careers. That’s where the Student Development Team comes in. This team, which is based in the Business School, is committed all year long to helping us make the most of our personal development and supporting us to work towards our professional goals.

To this end, we had a workshop called the 'Belbin Workshop' today. You may think upon first read that Belbin is a Hobbit character in one of Tolkien’s books. Think again! Belbin is a renowned psychologist who came up with a test that measures a person’s preference for a specific team role. Upon taking the test, we learnt that there’s such a thing as a Shaper, a Monitor Evaluator, Resource Investigator, Specialist and so on. There is also such a thing as a Plant. (Turns out we have few of those on our Master’s programme, which is a pity since those would have had great potential to flourish and go on to become sturdy oak trees under the influence of Scottish rain).

During the workshop we talked about the importance of teamwork, what factors might influence the success and failure of a team’s actions, and how we personally prefer to operate in a team. Such insight will prove to be extremely helpful since we have to do a lot of group work this year!

All in all, it was an educational workshop and afterwards we wandered off to our choice of activities. I am off to Peffermill Fields for my field-hockey practice. Here, the game of introductions starts all over again. I walk up to one of the girls in my team and confidently ask her: “What’s your name?” Her name is Milly. The others are called Molly, Daisy, Annie, Ellie, Abby, Polly, Charley and Sophie. Or was it Julie?

That’s just a small bunch of the girls on the team. There are many more girls that I still need to introduce myself to and for this next round of introductions, I decide to take a different approach to remembering all the names. I walk up to one of the girls on my team and ask: “What’s your name?” “It’s Lucy.” That’s my cue to test my new strategy! “So…do you also have a Chinese name?”

Elaine Kreiken, MSc International Business and Emerging Markets