Back Home and Reflecting on Indonesia

After 33 days of travel, I am finally back home from G-lab… sort of.  Yet another Boston storm has derailed my travel, so I’m stuck in JFK until tomorrow.  The past week of post-G-Lab vacation and 40+ hours of travel have given me lots of time to reflect on all that I learned over the course of this amazing experience.  G-lab has truly been one (if not THE) best learning experiences I have had yet at Sloan.  I learned so much over the past month, but I think most of it can be summed up into 3 buckets:

1) Cultural Immersion G-lab allows students to dive deep into a culture in a very unique way.  To start, working in a country is very different from simply visiting as a tourist.  You get a chance to see the way people really live day-in and day-out, and to gain a better understanding of how business gets done.  In addition, our host company did a great job at truly “hosting” us – we had many lunches and dinners out at unique restaurants we may not otherwise have tried.  We also had the chance to shop at a local market – another thing that would be difficult to do without a local chaperone.  Lastly, being in country for over a month provides plenty of time to travel and explore.  For our team, we spent one weekend in Jakarta; one weekend in Jogja; and one week in Bali/Lombok following our project.  It was an incredible adventure!

2) Team Work G-lab puts a whole new perspective on team-work.  People may think that the “core” team experience is the most intense team experience at Sloan, but I would argue that G-lab tops it.  First of all, you are not only working with your team, but also living and traveling.  You are with your team through the good (fun weekend trips), the bad (traffic delays), and  the ugly (everyone getting sick after drinking bad water).  On top of that, the projects are challenging and require the entire team to work together.  For our team, that meant many hours of the four of us brainstorming, debating, and collaborating on what to do.  The project can’t be successful if each person takes one work steam and works completely independently.  All of this can lead to stress, but strong teams are able to work through it and persevere, ultimately learning lifelong lessons about the value of team work.

3) Start-up Life My G-lab experience was the first time I had worked at a start-up, which was eye-opening for me.  Coming from a large, blue-chip “machine” I took for granted that processes, structures, and strategies were already in place.  I learned a lot on this project about the growing pains of start-ups – as they grow, they need more structure and discipline, which can be difficult to implement, especially in the tech industry.  We relied heavily on our core courses, specifically OP, to guide us to the recommendations.  We also brought ideas from our own backgrounds – both prior to Sloan and our internships.  Having a diverse team paid off greatly as we were able to provide well-rounded and balanced recommendations.

On a final note, I wanted to share this picture of our final day in the office.  We wanted to treat the office as a thank-you for all of their hospitality and assistance.  We decided that Dunkin’ Donuts was the best choice as it is a “Boston” treat!  The office loved it and needless to say, all of the 2 dozen donuts were gone before we left.

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Thank you KASKUS for hosting us! We had an incredible experience and will never forget our time in Indonesia.

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