Over the first year of any university course everyone has to deal with the inevitable ups and downs that will proceed, this is especially pertinent on the EBM such is the nature of the course that hard times lead to extreme frustration and often a sense of hopelessness however the opportunities and invaluable experiences that are gained is such that it acts as a constant reminder of why EBM is so unique and special.
ITM (In The Moment) is the team which I had the pleasure (at times) to be part of through this first year, were a team of 12 that if I was to write this before setting off for Budapest I would say bonded as a team beautifully but had something lacking, our anxiety of upsetting each other thus breaking the timetabled harmony that we comfortably and informally decided it was easier to make the status quo. With which nobody seriously challenged each other even when things went seriously wrong we took to approach of shaking our heads and saying ‘well do better next time’ avoiding conflict no matter how desperately it was needed.
The point at which travel money was made available was vital in my opinion as there is no real way to describe what was happening for the majority of ITM other than as being stuck in a rut, we blindly turned up to our assigned coaching sessions lacking energy and enthusiasm but that all shifted when Kellie (our coach) announced that travel money was made available by the university. Basic rules we set in that we could go anywhere but we needed to bid for it and I couldn’t over stretch the budget given to the EBM course as they were keen to send away as many teams as possible for obvious reasons. The result was maybe the most productive coaching session ITM has ever had, within the 2-hour time slot we managed to sort the destination, budget and a fairly detailed plan of how we were going to write the bid. Within the next few hours following that we knocked out the bid with a special shout out to Harry who stepped up as leader radiating his excitement about the trip to all members of the team resulting in the most highly motivated environment of the whole year. It was no surprise in honesty to any of the team when our bid got accepted, in the weeks between the accepted bid and going to Budapest the extreme difference that a simple attitude adjustment can make to the effectiveness of a team couldn’t possibly have been put more plainly in view we started to become the team that we always set out to be but never had achieved.
A fresh faced new team boarded the plane to Budapest with a sense of achievement that 11 of us including our coach Kellie (Nathan and James were unable to come) had actually managed to make it, with a small sense of anticipation as to the opportunities that were available in the Hungarian capital. As with 90% of the stories where everything is looking great it all comes crashing down around and this is absolutely no different when we went to meet the Budapest team academy (TA) on our first full day. ITM arrived at the doors of the where the Budapest TA studied and we were lead into an underground room that in honesty could only be described as dull, sandy plain walls, no natural light and a simple projector at the front with rows of chairs setup in a way that caused all of ITM to sit one side and all the Budapest TA to sit on the other to make the dividing awkwardness unbelievably blatant. The introductions were run by not the Budapest TA but 2 Finish women from the Jyvaskyla TA, whose names for the life of me I can remember but the again I need to know someone for about half a year before they get the pleasure of me remembering their name, the introductions were conducted with the high energy excitement that I think everyone can only expect when meeting people from the Jyvaskyla TA but what was noticeable was that out Hungarian hosts in my opinion seemed to resent this approach. This was highlighted by our first activity which was that we were put into groups with a mixture of ITM and Budapest TA members and given chosen topics to talk about such as our summer that we had planned and various other questions designed to get us talking however after about 5 minutes they made it abundantly clear to myself that they weren’t happy that I was here taking up their time they could be using to work, it’s fair to say it lead to the most subdued 30 minute conversation of my life however what happened was that the feeling of the Budapest TA started to be reciprocated by ITM turning it into an even more awkward and uncomfortable environment than before.
To reflect on what happened next is vital as it was for me a major turning point in the team as the head of the Budapest TA offered to give us a tour but only 5 out of the 10 actually went and the rest went back to the hostel. The idea that our professionalism had been compromised throughout the whole visit to the Budapest TA as we had a chance to show that we were better than them however we just reduced ourselves to the same standard was a view shared by many who stayed for the tour which on a side note was actually lovely turns out the head of the Budapest TA knows every possible fact about Budapest. This all came to a head when we got back to the hostel and rather than ignoring it and leaving the underlying tension to sit we finally brought out frustration to the surface, the idea most people have about conflict is negative but with a team like ITM conflict was and is still needed and this was the best example possible to show this as we ended in a reasonable rational conversation where we let our feeling known and moved on with everyone much happier that we could all have our say. We also had the pleasure of learning that Kellie must be given a 100-meter radius when she’s angry for our own safety.
Throughout the following days we stayed as a team seeing sights, going out on socials and just generally having fun. High points like spa days, going to the top of Gellert hill and becoming the best karaoke team I think TA has ever seen, they all served to break down that barrier that I think people couldn’t let down around one another which when broken down allowed us all to be more open and honest about our feeling to each other and since coming back there has been a substantial difference in the honesty we show to each other.
If I was to have to summarise what made this trip so impactful on the team it wasn’t so much the bond with the Budapest TA or the networking, it’s that were not afraid to push each other and question whether what someone else is saying or doing is right for where our team wants to go. Without Budapest I would have to question whether ITM could have got a fresh start and a more honest approach to the team that is so meaningful to our newfound sense of hope and direction into a new future for second year where I see such potential for ITM to make a real impact.
- Alex Brown, first year teampreneur from ITM