Personality Development as part of the MBA

Today I am officially 3 weeks into MBA classes but it feels like I have been here for much longer. This is probably because of the 3 week pre-MBA program that took place right before the 4 day MBA orientation. I am loving the MBA journey so far, but my favorite part has been the self-development lab (SDL).

The first class that I took at Rotman was a module of the Self Development Lab- Voicing Yourself, during the pre-MBA program. I opted for this course because I had heard from upper years that this 10 hour module had helped them improve their presentation skills. I went in for my first ever class at Rotman expecting a series of lectures and maybe the opportunity to present. I was in for a huge surprise. On arriving I was surprised to discover that the huge lecture hall had no chairs in the middle of the room, they were all aligned on the side of the rectangular hall. The instructor arrived, dressed in sweatpants and instructed us to remove our shoes and to sit in the middle of the room, on the floor! She started off by introducing herself and telling us that her course was ‘quite the revolutionary course’. At that point I didn’t understand what she meant but on Friday upon finishing the module I knew exactly what she meant. Next she started making us exercise.  I found it hilarious that 70 MBA candidates were stretching and jumping on the first day of class.

Olivia told us how her exercises will help us enhance vocal performance, improve breathing and also help with stress. After exercising she once again gathered everyone on the floor around her and told us a story that started with Once Upon A Time, about a hunter and a woman. Once the story was finished she asked us to find a partner and to repeat the story to each other by taking turns. The day ended with a group exercise involving the story about the hunter.

Since I had to go for work right after class, I went in wearing dress pants and a tucked in shirt and came out with disheveled hair and wrinkled clothes. After the first day I debated whether it was even worth it to go for class the next day. I ended up going for it. The next day was similar to the previous day- exercising, story time and then a bunch of interactive exercises. What was different about the second day from the first day was that by the end of the 2nd class I was completely and absolutely in love with the class and with Olivia! Obviously after the dressing up mistake I had made on the first day, I made sure that I changed into lose, comfortable clothes for class. Within just 2 days I felt the effectiveness of Olivia’s methods. Each day Olivia taught us something new. And guess what? Just after 10 hours of classes I felt my vocal performance and presence began to improve. Since taking this module I have given 2 presentations and I feel a significant improvement in the quality of my presentation skills from before. I can’t wait for more interactions with Olivia. There is so much that I can learn from her!

The other SDL module that I took during the pre-MBA was Self-Management. I expected a class in which an instructor would help with managing time and give tips about balancing many things at once. Once again I was in for a surprise. The instructor, Maja, is a psychologist who specializes in the field of personality development. During the 4 lectures, she taught us about how the unconscious mind plays a role in our daily performance and how past demons prevent us from reaching full capacity. What I liked the best about the course was that she taught us how to deal with negative emotions and bad past experiences. And to my surprise her techniques actually worked!

This week I have another session with the Self Development Lab, this one is with my team. A class presentation that my group gave was recorded and now we will get to see how we present to others on video! I am excited to receive feedback on how to work on my presence and presentation skills. More on that later!


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