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How a Dutch B-school , RSM Erasmus University , is helping its diverse
student body develop lasting networks:
One answer, at least at RSM, is technology. Dianne Bevelander,
executive director of RSM programs, is using software to map the
networks that students form among themselves and track the student
connections over time. School administrators hope to use the lessons
learned to teach students how to more effectively create the networks
they'll need to succeed in a global business environment.
Two weeks after students arrived in October, Bevelander asked
them to identify their personal networks. A questionnaire asked them to
name students with whom they work, those from whom they seek ideas, and
those with whom they socialize. Then Bevelander color-coded the three
types of connections to produce an image of the current class that, on a
PC screen, looks like a lacework project gone haywire.
But patterns emerge. "This group works well together as a team,"
says Bevelander, pointing at an octagon representing one student work
group. "But if you look at the social network, they don't talk to each
other at all." Indeed, the lines representing social connections all
lead to other groups. The lesson: Teams can get the job done even if the
members don't like each other that much.
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