I recently had the opportunity to work on an international consulting project for BMW in Munich, Germany. I used this chance to work for a top-notch company and put into practice many of the skills I have learned as an MBA student at the University of San Diego.
One of the skills I enhanced while working in Munich was communication. The team I worked with was comprised of four different members, all of whom hailed from different countries. Our different experiences and perspectives allowed us to create a more valuable final deliverable, but it did require all of us to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our internal communication. In order to be successful, we had to consider our cultural differences as well as any possible language barriers.
Another skill I developed further was an understanding of how professionalism differs from culture to culture. While I typically utilize humor in my workplace here in San Diego, the German culture typically frowns on its use in a business context. The German culture also places an emphasis on promptness. Arriving early for a meeting is considered arriving on time. It was important to adjust my conduct to meet the demands of the culture I was working in.
3. Market Research
The third skill I developed was my ability to conduct market research. While I had learned the frameworks needed to conduct research in the past, this was my first real opportunity to apply them in a practical setting.
4. Presentation Skills
While working in Munich, I also improved my presentation skills. I work in a small business where we are in constant communication within our team. For this reason, there is never really any cause for a formal presentation. Working through my courses at USD, I have been called to present on several occasions, but to do so in a boardroom setting with executives from BMW required an extra level of preparation. I learned that it is best to listen carefully to the questions that are being asked before answering, to ensure that I was providing an answer of value.
Finally, the fifth skill that I developed while working in Munich was flexibility. International consulting projects are inherently messy, and it is vital that as a consultant, you are able to decipher the problem and solve it efficiently for your client. While this is occurring, team members are changing their schedules, there are requirements for the courses and for work back home, and there is an entire city you are hoping to explore. Remaining flexible to all of these changes was required to ensure that the team was able to move together to reach the final goal.
This list of skills I developed and improved upon in Munich is hardly exhaustive. As I work towards my graduation in May, I will always look back on Munich as a capstone experience that allowed me to apply my education and see just how valuable it truly is.
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