One of the best things about attending the full-time MBA program at the Wisconsin School of Business is the opportunity to spend a full semester diving headfirst into management topics that you’d maybe only heard of in passing. Take, for example, our fall session of Negotiations, Bargaining, and Dispute Settlement for Managers (or, as we call it, simply Negotiations). Taught by renowned human resources expert and researcher Dr. Charlie Trevor, the course was a trial by fire into real-world negotiation scenarios, and I loved it.
Ranging in size and scope from salary negotiations to multi-nation economic development plans, the experiential learning exercises in Negotiations allowed us to step outside of our comfort zone to try and maximize value creation for our side of the aisle. We learned how important advance preparation and anticipation can be, the merits of arguing on interests versus positions, and how to spot a counterpart who just wants to gum up the works.
For me, the biggest takeaways from Negotiations included a greater confidence in my personal ability to approach and succeed in business deal-making, a fuller understanding of the importance of relationship building across integrative bargaining situations, and a handy list of “watch-outs” for various scenarios that may negatively impact a deal. Plus, I’ve gained another valuable “tool in the toolkit” as I look forward to a career in brand management where influencing, persuading, and negotiating are essential elements of the job description.