One of the main roles of an executive is to create value for the company and, therefore, to its shareholders. For this reason, value creation is a popular topic among MBA programmes, and the Tsinghua-INSEAD Executive MBA (TIEMBA) is no exception.
We have studied the concept of value creation from a company perspective, and considered different angles such as: measuring the returns of a new project to decide if the company should make such an investment, ensuring that goals are properly communicated and can be easily linked to the company’s strategy; and engagement with and knowledge of contemporary concepts of strategic management.
However, we should consider that the ability of firms to create value for their shareholders is also related to the performance of the firms’ employees.
Therefore, I, along with my cohort, have been considering the idea of value creation from a professional perspective as well, frequently asking to each other the following question: What can we as a group do to enjoy all the benefits that our Executive MBA brings, under circumstances that currently prevent us from being physically together in the classroom?
Our cohort has already found many ways to further enhance our EMBA experience.
One example involves one of our group assignments which is due at the end of next month. This assignment is focused on the topic of value creation from shareholders’ perspectives. For our initial discussion, instead of getting right into the details of the business case, my team members decided to have an ice breaking call. Because we haven’t met in person as an entire cohort yet, due to the travel constraints resulting from the pandemic situation, this kind of initial activity becomes not just useful, but essential, in building relationships within our cohort.
The complex discussions about which beta and rate should be used in the business case in question ran smoothly, as we knew each other better. We are still working toward the conclusion of the assignment, but we are certainly working well as a team.
Therefore, my first tip for teamwork during such an exceptional situation is: use part or all of your initial conversation to build relationships or reinforce the ones that you already have.
This simple activity can make even complex tasks easier to work toward completing.
My TIEMBA cohort has also found a way to reduce the distance that the current travel restrictions for Beijing have created among us. The agenda for the most recent module in January included topics such as financial and non-financial performance measures, return on investment, and compensation, all of which are closely related to the creation of value for a company. Looking at this comprehensive programme, it became evident to my cohort that discussions would be an important tool to help us more deeply understand the cost accounting concepts and streamline the learning process. Therefore, those of us who are based in China found alternative ways to be together, either sharing our homes with other classmates or booking hotel conference rooms in low-risk areas.
The effort we took to be together despite the Beijing travel restrictions has undoubtedly helped us bond us as a class.
Finally, this time of pandemic has even brought some unexpected pleasant surprises. Since our entire class has not been allowed to be on campus for the EMBA classes recently, we have frequently been meeting each other during the two-month interval between modules. Some of these gatherings have occurred during holiday periods such as Christmas, when we had the opportunity to meet our classmates’ families, further expanding our circle of friends.
I would say that this is an example of lifetime value creation, further reassuring us that the value creation of a challenging endeavor like an Executive MBA programme can be maintained – and in some ways, increased – in the face of a global pandemic.