As part of Sloan’s inaugural class of Core Fellows, we had the unique opportunity to help define and shape the intent of the program. When I reflect on my second fall semester at Sloan, moments with my core teams and the other Fellows vividly stand out, whether it was cheering on my core team as they ascended the giant ladder at the Warren Center in the pouring rain, or sharing my experiences with the other fellows and learning how similar so many of us felt. Being a Core Fellow this semester has been a fulfilling and personally enlightening experience. While I initially thought it would be a great way to get to know a group of first years, I also found the Core Fellow experience to be highly insightful into how teams operate effectively.
One of the most unique attributes of the Core Fellow program is the opportunity to observe team dynamics through the states of forming, storming, norming and performing, and seeing how different teams established their norms and divided responsibilities. It was a very hands-on learning opportunity to see what teamwork and communication strategies worked well and when to step in and provide guidance and support. Sloan offers a wide range of leadership opportunities but the Core Fellow role is particularly unique in that one can observe the progression and formation of a team while providing indirect oversight. It could be challenging at times to balance the line between peer and mentor, but I believe this will be a valuable skill to take forward into my career.
Another defining part of the Core Fellow experience has been working with the other Core Fellows and building a community where we can share best practices and support each other. This is, in my mind, one of the most effective changes to Sloan’s previous pilot program and a true embodiment of the phrase “Sloanies helping Sloanies.” Having a platform to ask questions and share insights played an invaluable role in building the Core Fellow community, and ideating on how the program can be strengthened. For the incoming class of Core Fellows, my advice is to take the time to build connections with your teams and one another. As one of the first people to greet each core team as they begin their MIT Sloan journey, it’s a special opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the semester and share what makes Sloan so special.
Ada Li is a 2Y MBA and a Core Fellow at MIT Sloan.
The CDO, MBA Program Office and Leadership Center will begin accepting applications for the 2020 Core Fellows Program in Spring 2020. Be on the lookout for information sessions and reach out to your Core Fellow if you have any questions.