4 Tips for B-School Group Projects

In business school, group projects are a way of life. Most of your core classes and many of your electives will involve assignments where you must work in teams to get the job done. With so many ambitious, driven personalities in one environment, how can you work together cohesively? How can you make the experience less antagonistic and more enjoyable? Tips for tackling business school group projects include identifying the strengths in your group, deciding on the project’s goal, and devising a plan.

When taking on b-school group projects, don’t panic. Here are four tips to memorize now:

1. Discuss the project with your b-school group members

Even though your professor may have discussed the project in class, and even though the project may be clearly outlined in your syllabus, each of your group members may have a different interpretation of what the project entails. Listen to each person’s perspective on the project, as well as the ideas he or she has for executing it. Don’t be afraid to share your own ideas too. You may not necessarily wish to lead the project, but steering the direction of the conversation in a productive manner will help to generate a positive experience.

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2. Identify the strengths of your b-school group

Next, figure out who is good at what tasks. Then determine what each person actually wishes to do. It’s important to note that these might not be the same things. For instance, your group member with a financial consulting background may have a talent for creating spreadsheets. However, she may be attending business school to transition into a career in marketing, and would thus prefer to construct the PowerPoint presentation. Insisting that she spend all of her project time managing information in Excel may not yield the best results. Instead, jointly decide what roles your project requires and who would be the best fit for them.

3. Decide on your b-school group’s goal

Ensure everyone is on the same page about what you wish to accomplish with this b-school group project. One classmate may hope to achieve the highest grade possible in order to maintain his GPA, while also using this opportunity to make connections in a new industry. Conversely, another classmate may hope to get the project done as quickly as possible, so that she can concentrate on recruiting season. Your group should come to a consensus on your goals for the project. Set expectations for the time, effort, and deliverables each person will contribute in order to minimize tension and confusion while you work together as a team.

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4. Make a plan for executing your b-school group project

As a group, answer the following questions about your project:

  • Who is going to do what?

  • What is the deadline for each part of the project?

  • Where are we meeting?

  • When are we meeting?

  • How are we going to turn in the project?

Write down the answers to all of these questions so that each person can understand what needs to get done. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will go smoothly in completing the project. But writing down a plan of action will provide an organized framework.

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Overall, clear communication is the key to executing a successful group project in business school. First, discuss the project. Second, identify the strengths of your individual team members. Third, determine what the goal of the project is. Fourth and finally, devise a plan of action so that each person is aware of the expectations for the project. By following these four tips, you will be able to conduct your b-school group project in an effective and efficient way.


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