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Adventure in Vietnam in the Cass Business MBA Program

Cass Business MBA

A few weeks ago, a number of MBA alumni and current students from City University London’s Cass Business School took a trip to Southeast Asia. The trip was to celebrate the end of the MBA International Consulting Week and was part of a pilot Leadership Expedition. It’s all part of Cass Business’ plan to develop a more adventurous MBA program that encourages students to build an explorer mindset—able to read and respond to rapidly changing business environments.

The trip took MBA students, alumni and faculty to Hanoi, Vietnam before heading into the mountains to hike Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. Cass Visiting Faculty and experts in leadership, Dr. Rodrigo Jordan and Gabriel Beck—two outstanding mountaineers—led the expedition.

For first-time trekker and associate dean of MBA Programs at Cass Business School, Sionade Robinson, it was an experience. She recently shared her thoughts on a blog, What I Learned When I Changed My Shoes.

“A few weeks ago I did something extraordinary I had never, ever, contemplated before, Robinson said. “I climbed a mountain. Not an especially tall nor difficult one but still a challenge.”

For Robinson, she expected the learning experience to be rather immediate and intense with practices of communication, teamwork, and motivation, but it was more than that.

“What did surprise me, in addition to the reflective learning, was the opportunity to observe their leadership practices as expedition guides and as facilitators of our desired outcome – the summit,” explained Robinson. “World class mountaineers hone their skills in some of the world’s most challenging environments, developing a sophisticated social and emotional intelligence that rapidly builds trust, confidence and a sense of cohesion. Watching them was a masterclass in which they demonstrated a number of hugely valuable leadership practices.”

She then distilled her leadership lessons learned into five simple points:

  1. Spend time with each individual, getting to know everyone. It’s worth your time.
  2. Share your expertise to help other become more competent and confident in the outcome.
  3. Create a relaxed environment through warmth and good humor.
  4. Provide reassurance and encouragement when there is anxiety.
  5. Demonstrate adaptability in style as the situation changes.

“Reaching the summit of Fansipan was an unforgettable experience, one it was my privilege to share with our MBA students, alumni and colleagues,” said Robinson. “It has resonated far beyond my expectations.”

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Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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