This sample mba essay answers the question - Describe when you were part of a team where the group process and/or intended outcome failed. What did you learn?
I am sure you might have faced failures in your work/college life. As you know, various factors influence the outcome of a group process. In some occasions, you might have played a major role in the negative outcome of a team. You have to be honest with it. The admission committee is not expecting you to blame your team members or lack of synergy (the most overused word in essays and in b-schools) for the failure.
Failures can be due to
1) Lack of skills/Early stages of skill development
2) Overconfidence: Another factor that affects novices is overconfidence. Once we have picked up the basic skills for any course of action, we normally tend to be a little overconfident in tackling the toughest of the problems. There is a thin line between being confident and in being overconfident. On being overconfident, we tend to give lesser priority towards planning and in monitoring the tasks. In your essays, mention how the lack of planning had an impact on the team's output.
3) Not giving your best: You can mention events where your team began to lose momentum and started giving less than 100% (due to fatigue, overconfidence, lack of confidence,clash of personality etc). If you have been part of a sports team at college, you might have faced this situation. Expand on the factors/events that had created this challenge. Have you faced a similar situation at a later stage? What actions were you able to take this time around that had resulted in a positive outcome? Compare the two scenarios and the factors that had led to the team’s failure in the first case. Give your perspective on such events with a clear explanation on what you have learned.
4) Unforeseen circumstances: Even if you have planned and managed your team effectively, there can be series of events that can derail your team. Be very careful with using this factor in your essay. Any indications that suggest that you are finding an excuse for your failure can hit you back with your candidacy. Despite the "unforeseen circumstances", were you able to lead the team towards the common objective? If you have tried hard and failed then "unforeseen circumstances" will not be a deal breaker.
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