Throughout our coursework we learn about the importance of having diversity in teams and how diversity can improve the strategic decision-making process. As a part of our 2009 International Operations Case Competition team I was able to witness this theory first hand. Diversity can come in many forms, and through our team’s composition, we were able to take advantage of this point to bring back a 1st place win for the Broad School. First off, this competition gave me an opportunity to work with 2 classmates that were a part of my original first-year team as well as 2 classmates that I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with before. The mix of old and new teammates was useful in bringing together ideas for teamwork, case analysis, and presentation style from multiple sources and a broader base of experiences.
Later on, the diversity in our areas of focus turned out to be a great asset. We assembled a team with members whose focus included Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Finance, and Strategic Management. Even though the “operations case competition” name implies a significant focus on topics more aligned to the supply chain management area, our specific case had a marketing slant to it. While some schools may have stacked the deck with an all supply chain team, the Broad School was ready to take on this challenge.
Finally, even the diversity in the nationality of our teammates helped us to create a solution that was different from those presented by other teams. As we learned during our case analysis, one of the emerging markets for the company featured in the case was China. Having a team member who could provide insight on the business climate and some general business practices in China gave us an edge when developing our multi-national recommendation for the competition. In the end we were able to bring together a diverse team to meet a common goal: a victory for Broad. For me it was a great experience to see the concepts we talked about as universally accepted business theories uniting in a very real way.