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Maryanne on her MBA project: “Collaboration is the biggest lesson of any team project”

Maryanne on her MBA project: “Collaboration is the biggest lesson of any team project”

Current MBA student Maryanne Wanjohi of EMLYON’s International MBA, originally from Kenya is consulting a French organisation for her MBA project to reduce their service innovation process from 7 to 3 years. Maryanne’s career objective is to become a Relationship Manager to help clients add value to their organisations, so has found her Entrepreneurial Leadership MBA Project invaluable in developing her research and decision making skills, as well as given her a detailed understanding of the service innovation process.

We catch up with Maryanne about how the Entrepreneurial Leadership MBA Project has developed her professionally, what has been the highlight of the experience and how it is helping her move closer to a career in consulting.

MBA projectMaryanne, could you tell us more about your Entrepreneurial Leadership MBA Project?

My client has a service innovation process that currently takes 7 years. With the increasing aggression in the market, they would like to reduce the innovation time to under 3 years. For the MBA project, we are therefore required to define a framework that will shorten the innovation time.

The implementation recommendations are on Key Success Factors of the chosen innovation framework. This should include organisation, governance, and internal processes that the client can use to ensure a successful implementation. We are also required to provide supporting evidence on where the chosen framework has worked/failed, so this will include presenting case studies of companies that are already using the framework, or those that tried and failed.

What was it about the MBA project or company that particularly interested you?

I saw the MBA project as a perfect way to use what I have learnt as an MBA student in a real world context. The project was attractive because I knew it would extensively utilize my knowledge gained from courses in Strategy, Organizational Behaviour, New Ventures and Presentation Skills. These have indeed come in handy so far.

What are your career objectives and how does this MBA project fit with those?

My background is in the Service Industry in Banking. Upon completion of my MBA, I want to be a Relationship Manager. I want to be able to help clients manage their businesses and add value for them by using my acquired knowledge to propose new business lines within their companies. The MBA project has challenged me with regards to innovation and strategy execution, giving me knowledge that I will be able to put to good use in the future.

How have you developed your skills/industry experience during the MBA project so far?

I have developed strong skills in research and decision making. I have also learnt to appreciate group dynamics.

The project has involved intense reading on service innovation frameworks, so I have learnt a lot about New Service Development. I had to make a decision on which innovation framework would meet the client’s needs. It was a painful process because it would have been my wish to present everything I found out, which had been a culmination of 3 months of research!

Finally, it’s important to mention prioritisation and time management. The MBA project doesn’t have an allocated time in the MBA calendar per se. It goes hand in hand with the courses and job search. All these are different tasks and one needs to be wise enough to know how to balance the three. You cannot choose one over the other as they all need to get done. With time, you learn how to use 24 hours in any given day to be efficient and effective.

Our tutor Zied Guedri has been very supportive, always available and very generous with information. He has gone out of his way to make our work valuable and has given us space to learn and grow during the project.

What has been the biggest learning from the experience?

Collaboration! This is the biggest lesson in any team project. You have to continuously communicate, compromise and cut losses.  I call them the 3Cs. I have truly grown from my team experience in a great way. With lessons for each team member, at the end we exceeded the client’s needs. We are now working hand in hand to deliver a useful implementation plan for this coming July.

See Maryanne speaking at the World Entrepreneurship Forum, 2014

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