Emotional intelligence. If you had asked me what this term meant six years ago, I would have thought it was some Steven Spielberg project or a new radio talk show on CBC.
I am two weeks from completing an MBA degree at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and have just finished a 10-week MBA Community Service Initiative (MBA CSI) internship at Dawson College. At this point, I can define emotional intelligence as a person’s ability to read and understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, opinions and points of view quickly and without error. I can also define it as a person’s ability to read a situation and act on it based on the knowledge at hand and with consideration of the outcomes.
In my MBA courses, we learned that emotional intelligence is a ‘great trait to have as a manager’ or ‘essential to manage people well.’ I always knew it was important and believed that I possess some level of emotional intelligence. That said, this skill was never more used than when I completed my internship at Dawson College.
The internship called for two MBA CSI interns to create, design, schedule, organize and execute Dawson College Entrepreneurship Week. When I heard about the internship, I thought, “What the heck, I can take on more work. Plus, who doesn’t like running events?” My co-intern Lucy Zhou and I worked our butts off to put together a pretty good lineup of speakers and activities. Without making you feel too envious for not checking it out, here is a quick summary of what was organized:
Students could participate in two contests. One simulated Dragon’s Den in which students made pitches of their best start-up ideas to a panel of six judges. The winner received $1,000. Feeling envious yet? Another contest asked students to take one paper clip and barter for items of higher value throughout four days simulating Canadian Kyle MacDonald’s inspirational One Red Paperclip story. The winner received an iPad. Yup, that’s right, a real iPad from Apple.
Along with these two contests, students, faculty, staff and the general public were welcome to attend any of the stimulating speaker events, which included talks by representatives from Tuxedo Agency, SID LEE, Google and Beyond the Rack, to name a few. There was also a chance for students to “speed date” many of the speakers for 90 seconds to have a quick consultation on their brightest ideas. See? Pretty good lineup, eh? Oh yeah, there was also free booze and food, all four nights.
All in all, the internship at Dawson was a great experience and allowed two MBA students to put their learning into practice and make mistakes. It allowed us to use our emotional intelligence by reading situations, analyzing solutions, troubleshooting problems and making decisions to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved. Oh yeah, and we had to make these decisions fast. Really fast.
All this to say, you can learn a lot by doing an MBA, or any degree for that matter, but it is how you execute your knowledge and use your emotional intelligence that will really allow you to demonstrate and show off your acumen.
About the MBA Community Service Initiative
The MBA Community Service Initiative (MBA CSI) is a for-credit option at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business that couples MBA students with community organizations, small businesses and not-for-profit institutions where they provide business consulting services.
• MBA Community Service Initiative
• John Molson School of Business
• Dawson College