Una semana en Barcelona: welcome to our Online MBA’s Educational Week

From Monday, 26 June to Friday, 30 June, it was time for another online MBA educational week. With a focus on sustainable business, conflict management, and negotiations, the students’ trip to lovely Barcelona was truly a great and worthwhile experience. The week allowed a welcome reunion with fellow students, a valuable progression of soft skills and a taste of Barcelona’s vibrant culture in between.

This educational week was one of three mandatory educational weeks in the Online MBA track’s blended format, which allows our students to freely choose the topic of two educational weeks – the third week’s is mandatory in Maastricht. Fifty Online MBA students chose this week, with its theme and focus on Sustainable Leadership Skills in a Challenging New World, to further develop their soft skills in a face-to-face setting.

As the Online MBA track is largely taken online (students follow 10 online courses and 3 educational weeks), a educational week with an on-site reunion and face-to-face learning always adds an extra dimension to the programme. From Monday to Friday, students work hard on their own soft skills, new tools to implement into their professional environments, and group assignments.

New perspectives and a raised awareness on old beliefs

When it comes to soft skill development, our students agree that they have left Barcelona with a tool kit filled with leadership skills they can immediately implement into their professional lives. The educational week has offered new perspectives on old beliefs, awareness on relevant topics such as inclusivity in today’s world and has shed new light on the students’ own biases.

Noud van der Locht, Online MBA student, explains: “This week unquestionably advanced my negotiation skills, but it also served as a powerful reminder of the immense diversity present in our world. It made me realise once again that my Dutch perspective on matters or global issues represents just a fraction of the many ways problems and topics can be perceived and approached.” Noud’s fellow student, Djordje Vukovic, agrees. “Amongst tons of very valuable inputs I heard and practiced in this educational week, I can immediately better recognise and measure my own biases. Not only has this week allowed me to further improve my negotiation ability and conflict management; it has also raised my awareness of how important inclusivity is in this contemporary world and how to create an environment where everyone feels respected and valued. These are all things that will help me lead my hybrid teams with Courtesy, Candor, Curiosity, and Courage.”

 

Group assignments to gain new insights

To gain these new insights, students participated in lectures and group assignments that challenged them to think beyond their own beliefs and solve problems differently.

Noud worked on a project to support the United Nations’ sustainable development goal 3.4, revolving around mental health. With colleagues from India, Brazil, Ukraine and Italy, he developed a business model to support mental health via the metaverse and avatars to increase the percentage of people discussing their mental health issues in a more anonymous way.

Noud: “Working internationally expands my horizons, enriches my personal growth, and strengthens my leadership abilities in an increasingly complex and tensioned global environment. Meeting my peer students was a fantastic experience where I had the opportunity to meet both familiar faces from previous encounters and new acquaintances from online meetings. With everyone sharing the same ambition for the week, strong connections were quickly established, leading to a week filled with enjoyable learning and fun.”

Djordje spent his time working on a start-up company project with real-time simulation of power stages of motor power drives. The project’s focal sustainable development goal was retrofitting the industry and increasing resource-use efficiency. With this focus in mind, Djordje and his group members focused on increasing energy use efficiency and substantially reducing energy load usage at automatic burn-in, substantially reducing requirements and CO2 emissions during reliability and approval testing, using technology to increase resource use efficiency while reducing waste and outages.

Djordje: “It was a truly great experience to meet online colleagues with very different expert backgrounds and other business areas working on the same MBA goals. The group project highlighted the importance of communication skills, empathy, a personal approach and the ability to adapt to uncertainty to encourage teams to face challenging environments.”

Strengthen mutual connections with on-site meetings

Looking back at the added value of a week full of on-site meetings in addition to the Online Courses, Djordje leaves Barcelona full of enthusiasm about the Online MBA’s blended format: “This week, and especially the group project, strengthened our mutual connections already established when we performed online group assignments and participated in the webinars. The internationality of this educational week is impressive – there are participants from all over the world. This internationality gives a special note to the whole MBA programme. The blended format is an ideal solution for professionals who want to further develop their skills without making sacrifices. The flexibility of the Online MBA enables us to fully follow the programme – without giving up a professional career or weaken our precious family life.”

 

This article presents a recap of the Online MBA educational week on Transformative Leadership for Future Challenges at EADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. Our Online track has a blended format, both face-to-face as online and is part of the executive modular part-time MaastrichtMBA programme. The programme has a Triple Crown accreditation and is aimed for professionals with at least 5 years of working experience.

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