Now that the dust has settled…

I have been back in Boston for almost a week. Now that the dust has settled and my jetlag has subsided (somewhat, anyway!), I have had some time to reflect on my experience. In between the loads of laundry, problem sets, and papers that greeted me upon my return to Cambridge, I jotted down a few of my thoughts that I wanted to share. In addition, the Guangzhou China Lab teams had the opportunity to meet as a group with our advisor to debrief about our experience on-site. It was interesting to see that we all had common experiences (and discussed many points that were similar to what I had jotted down) in spite of the fact that we worked on very different projects that were in very different industries.

First, I realized how much more information I gained by being on-site as opposed to working on the project remotely. We continue to learn new information about our company every day. Thus, this experience has not only taught me the importance of face-to-face interaction, but is has also made me realize how important it is to ask probing questions, and to continue to dig deeper, to really understand a company and its processes.

A second realization that I had is how challenging it can be to work on projects without being able to access certain websites or use programs like Dropbox and Google Docs. I did not realize how much I relied on technology to work efficiently in a group setting until this experience. I also did not realize how restrictive other countries could be when it comes to accessing certain Internet sites or technology.

Third, I gained a lot of insight in the different forms and styles of communication in China, as compared to the United States. I realized that we use a much more direct method of communication in the United States, compared to an indirect approach in China. I also realized that this difference in communication style could potentially lead to some misreading and/or misunderstanding of cues and messages.

These are just a few of the insights that I gained from my time in China. All in all, this was an eye-opening experience that taught me a lot about the difference in business cultures that you can encounter when working in today’s global world. I hope to continue to build on this experience by taking on more international projects through Sloan’s many “action learning” courses, as this experience affirmed my longstanding desire to work in emerging markets.

Sahar Dar

Sahar is a first-year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management. A native of the Midwest, she comes to Sloan after 7+ years working in Chicago, first as a corporate M&A attorney, and then as a law school administrator and adjunct professor. While at her law firm, Sahar established and ran a pro bono program for domestic violence victims, which she later expanded to a citywide legal clinic that she directed for two years. Sahar received her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a certificate in Business & Public Policy from The Wharton School. She also holds a BA in International Studies, Psychology, and Economics, from Case Western Reserve University. At Sloan, Sahar serves as a Vice President of the Real Estate Club, the Travel & Hospitality Club, and the Net Impact Club, and is also on both Sloan Senate and the Graduate Student Council. She is passionate about community service, and enjoys reading historical fiction novels, playing board games, travel, movies, acrylic painting, and Sudoku puzzles.

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