It seems like it was just a little bit ago that I was writing my initial blog post before starting this program. I remember sitting and wondering what exactly the program would entail and what my classmates would be like. It is safe to say that the month of May has definitely flown by and with it so did the Plus 3 Program. I feel like I have learned tons of new skills that I can use in the business world and have had several eye-opening experiences that showed me more of the world around me.
Over this experience I have learned several key lessons. The first of these lessons was how to effective work as a team over a strictly virtual setting. Throughout my first year at Pitt I always found that group projects were particularly challenging and frustrating to undertake in the remote learning process. It seemed like my classmates would all be on different pages from each other and there were some serious problems with communication. I never got to know any of them on a personal level or build any kind of meaningful relationship as partners. It always seemed like everyone was just doing the bare minimum of what was required and no one had any really passion for any of the work they were contributing. That is why it was so refreshing to work with a group of creative, driven, attentive, and passionate students for this project. I feel as though I really got to know and understand my fellow teammates and I built more than a few meaningful relationships throughout the duration of the program. Each member of my team really brought their own ideas and perspective to the table in group discussions and the development of our project together. I feel like this program has really helped me to feel completely confident in breakout room discussions. A lot of times in my classes at Pitt being sent to breakout rooms would very often result in awkward silence as everyone sat in the room with their cameras off and microphones muted. During this program however, I found myself really engaging in interesting and helpful dialogue with my classmates. I began to feel a lot more confident in my ideas and suggestions and did not hold anything back in terms of project input. I feel like all my team’s members really stepped up to the plate and made the best of what could be an awkward situation.
Another key lesson I learned was how to work with a cross-cultural team. As someone who has never left the United States before, I was very excited to get to know and interact with peers from around the world. I learned a ton about different cultures from all over the world. I feel like this is the type of information that is really only possible to learn through experiences like Plus3. I am really glad that I decided to apply for this program as I feel it has personally really helped to expand my view of the world around me. I found it particularly interesting to learn about the Brazilian healthcare system and how unfair and biased it can be. It really made me sympathize with the cause I was working for and inspired me to try and take on the project with the best effort I could give. It was really interesting to hear about the mission behind Senior Concierge, not to mention get a valuable behind the scenes look at how the company functions. It was also extremely rewarding to work cooperatively with students across the globe. There were initially some hurdles to overcome like the differences in time zones and slight language barriers but my team quickly overcame them and banded together. Everyone really had their own expertise within our project and it led to me getting to learn a lot more about both different sides of business and culture. It was also really fascinating to learn the differences among how communication works in different countries. I particularly found learning about high versus low context communication to be very true in my experience growing up in the United States. Plus3 really helped me to broaden my horizon, which is something that I cannot say about many academic experiences I have had in my life.
A transferable skill that I have learned through this program would definitely have to be gaining experience working under strict deadlines with limited of information available to me. I know that this will be quite common in the real world of business, as everything in the real world is not nice and structured like they are in my classes. I felt like I got my first real hands on experience in the world of business and I really loved it. The pressure of each upcoming deadline applied the pressure needed for my team to constantly keep innovating and stay on task. The consulting experience I have gained will also be a very valuable tool in my future career. It was great to get a real shot at analyzing and advising the direction of a real world company. It is not just a simulation and the stuff that we suggest actually matters and can really end up making a difference. I loved being given responsibility like this and I feel like my peers and I lived up to the demanding task we were all given.
In a professional interview I would describe this project as an opportunity I had to do consulting work with a real world senior care company based in Brazil. I would also describe how through the program we worked hand in hand with cross-cultural teams to develop our own strategies and implementation for the future of the company. I plan on pitching this as a great learning experience and a way to get more involved in the business world as early as possible before entering my career. I believe that employers will see the value in having real world experience and that this program will definitely help me to stand out from the crowd on resumes.
I am definitely sure that I made the right decision when signing up for the Plus3 program. Even though it was all virtual this year, I still found that I had a great time and really enjoyed myself during the course of the program. I have so much new knowledge to take away about the workings of healthcare industries and how businesses are conducted. I also gained valuable experience and knowledge about the analysis and implementation involved in the consulting process. Not to mention the valuable real world and hands on experience I can walk away with. Working with a cross-cultural team proved to be an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience and I was glad that I was able to create meaningful new connections in the short span of a month. I would like to send my thanks to the Pitt Abroad staff, the Campus B staff, and anyone else who helped to make this program as special as it has been. This is truly an experience that I will not forget and is an important stepping stone on the path to success in my future career.