18 May 2022

Think Again – My MBA experience as a book

Author: Chelsy Greenman - International Full Time MBA student

My colleagues and I on the International Full-Time MBA course come from a wide range of backgrounds. We’ve all had different jobs in all different sectors, and a multitude of different degrees from universities around the world. Personally, coming from a humanities background, I decided to do some extra reading before the program started. I wanted to familiarize myself with certain topics and there are plenty of MBA reading lists available online. One book published last year that I think needs to be on everyone’s MBA reading list (if not everyone’s reading list in general) is Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant. As I finish my MBA core courses, I can’t think of a book that better exemplifies the experience.

Intelligence is Rethinking

Because of our various backgrounds we all have pre -conceived ideas about different subjects. Just from country to country, businesses are run differently, and organizations function differently, despite similarities like name and sector. Coming into this environment, especially with frequent group projects, we are challenged constantly by new thoughts and ideas . Grant argues that real intelligence is the ability to re -think and change these pre -conceived ideas based on new information. This MBA experience wouldn’t be possible if my colleagues and I weren’t willing to listen to our professors and each other, and possibly to change our minds.

Being wrong isn’t always bad

I have always been a firm believer in learning from mistakes, and an MBA will discuss this subject a lot. The list of errors companies have made over the years is longer than successes, but we still talk about those wrong choices because there are lessons to be learned there. Something impactful from Think Again and the MBA that I have learned is that organizations with culture s that allow for mistakes and risk-taking can see an increase in innovation and employee satisfaction. I can attest to this even during our courses as we are given the freedom to try, and possibly fail, but we learn from each failure to get better for the next time.

Collaborative Approach

A lot of time is spent during an MBA discussing leadership, managerial skills, and interpersonal communication. We talk about everything from leadership style to negotiation skills. Every time this subject is approached, I think of Grant discussing a collaborative approach in Think Again. We’ve learned over the years that things like psychological safety, non-judgmental questioning and common understanding are all part of being a great leader. Creating a collaborative environment rather than an adversarial one can produce a much more effective and efficient environment. This has certainly been my experience at POLIMI GSoM; I don’t believe we would learn or succeed as much if we weren’t encouraged to collaborate frequently, and in a respectful way.

Admittedly, I am a big fan of Adam Grant in general. I had high expectations of the book since I’ve read his other work, and he’s a very well-known and well-loved professor at Wharton Business School. He is a psychologist, and his writing can sometimes be very technical, but Think Again struck a balance between the technical and metaphoric to create a very engaging story. There are anecdotes throughout the whole book that really solidify the messages Grant is trying to convey. I highly recommend anyone to read this book – but especially MBA students, teachers, graduates, and those of you considering an MBA. I think it perfectly captures my experience here at POLIMI GSoM.

18 May 2022

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