MBA Chronicles: Learnings from a writing task

Ete Grant Written by hotpen · 1 min read >

My MBA journey, though in its early days is turning out to be a revealing one. During a writing diagnostic test, it occurred to me that the saying English is a foreign language is somewhat apt. For someone who spoke English as a first language, it was an interesting thought. One which would be further reinforced by the challenges I experienced during my first writing task on the Executive MBA programme. Speaking English is certainly different from writing in English.

As the facilitator announced the series of tasks to be undertaken, I was excited as I considered myself an avid writer. However, my enthusiasm waned when I was faced with writing an 80-word mini-pitch explaining why my start-up should be granted access to an international competition offering $10,000 seed capital.  As short as the task seemed, it took well over an hour to put together.

To start, I did a mental check and reckoned a good place to begin would be my comfort zone-the pharmaceutical space. A step described in the Havard Management Communication course as mind mapping. Just this time, I did it in my mind and not on paper. Mistake number one! I wrote the first few words but clicked the backspace key twice as much as I typed. The words did not seem to add up, neither could I tell what came next. I had a brain block. Honestly, the shorter the piece the more difficult it is to decide what is important.

I realised that writing for leisure was a different kettle of fish from writing for business. The catch here was to gain access to a competition offering a $10,000 seed capital. So, one must get it right, the first time. I would later go on to learn on the Havard course that defining your purpose and understanding the audience are two important foundational tenets of communication. Need I say that if you have not been on this course, you are missing something.

One common mistake in writing is delving into the piece without jotting down ideas first.  I am guilty of this. By doing so, the fundamental stage of preparation is missed. This stage includes researching, generating ideas, and then organising them. Other important stages are drafting, revising, editing, and correcting. The entire process would result in a good business write up, persuasive enough to win you that long-awaited big contract.

While doing the writing task, I relied solely on my brain (a topic for another day) and my brain did fail me. I lost precious time writing and rewriting because I had skipped the important stage of preparation.  Now, I am taking deliberate steps to unlearn and relearn new techniques in writing, as well as, free up brain space, by adequately planning before writing.

The writing task was no easy feat, but I overcame it. I handed in my 80-word mini-pitch before the deadline. Presumably, I produced a piece good enough to preserve my self-acclaimed status of an avid writer. However, only time can tell, I promise to be back to tell you how it went.

#EMBA27 #MBA Chronicles

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