The Ten Commandments of Group Work


(Scroll half-way down the page if you’re here for the serious stuff)

1. Thou shall upload numerous photos of your group ‘working hard’ into the early hours to Facebook, evidently the most productive use of thy time.

2. Thou shall draw obscene images of male genitalia on your group member’s iPad during particularly fruitless brainstorming sessions. Thou shall do this often and it shall never cease to amuse thou.

3. Thou shall post infinitely affectionate and enthusiastic comments on assessed discussion forums, with generous use of emoticons that reflect the exact opposite of what thou are in fact feeling.

4. Thou shall master the art of gentle rejection: ‘I absolutely LOVE the idea, your creativity knows NO bounds…but let’s see what else we can come up with’.

5. Thou shall spend on average, 11-14 hours a day at university and often question why thou pays any rent at all when a sleeping bag and pillow in Cave 9 would have sufficed as a cost and time-efficient communal set-up.

6. Thou shall, at times of severe hysteria, develop an incomprehensible secret language or series of in-jokes with the group members thou are closest to. This will generate raised eyebrows and looks of concern from the surrounding public.

7. Thou shall conveniently ignore the grapevine about thy group members moaning about thou, because thou have been guilty of doing the same.

8. Thou shall not apply the “If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine” principle during inter-group communication, even when thou is fully aware thine idea has zero copying potential.

9. Thou shall attempt to waste at least 40 percent of thy group meeting purchasing, consuming and disposing off thy coffee.

10. Thou shall acknowledge that behind the success of every Strategic Marketing male, are the five female group members who make the magic happen. Fact.


Okay in all seriousness…here’s what I have learned from group-work after the six assignments just gone by. Group work is the Dickens. The best of times. The worst of times. So here goes:


1. When you first meet your group members, don’t judge them or underestimate them from the small-talk; if they made it on the course, they are no less capable of performing than you are.

2. You will find yourself encountering language and cultural barriers along the way, but don’t let this put you off. Everyone thinks and works in different ways, so accommodate their speed and style rather than imposing your own. It gives you the transferable skills you will need in the large multinationals you dream of working in when you graduate.

3. Accept constructive criticism. Your objective should be to inflate your grade, not your ego. No one cares if you got Student of the Year five years in a row in your pompous private school back home.

4. Network outside your group when you get a chance and share your knowledge. This not only adds to your learning experience but helps you understand the people you might be working with in the next term.

5. Put your best foot forward for every assignment. If your grades don’t match up, assess your shortcomings with your group so you don’t repeat the same mistakes in future. There is a lot more to learn from failure than success.

6. Everyone is not good at everything; this is why you have been put into groups in the first place. Play to your strengths, do what you have promised and don’t be afraid of confessing you need help. Especially if you own a Mac and find yourself incapable of performing the simplest of tasks.

7. Don’t share the weaknesses of your group members with others. Chances are, they’ll find out. What happens in Cave 9 stays in Cave 9. Yes, I am obsessed with Cave 9.

8. Spend some time getting to know your group outside of university; the informal eases the formal. The best way of doing this would probably be, cue music: SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS, SHOTS SHOTS! Or just a walk around the nearest museum…whatever floats your boat.

9. Delegate. This is the best way to work around that all too common feeling of being swamped by an influx of deadlines. Divide the different pieces of coursework based on what interests each group member and what skills they can bring to the table. Brainstorm as a group, but execute in sub-groups where necessary.

10. Have fun with it. You don’t want to look back at your time on the course and remember the feeling of dread when heading to group meetings every morning. Share your personal experiences, bring the banter, and most importantly, allow some time for laughter. It makes all the grueling hard work worthwhile. Don’t have too much fun though. Like don’t sleep with the company or something. That could royally fudge things up.


3 comments for “The Ten Commandments of Group Work

  1. Nice one Mia. I believe in the combination of your thought never underestimate as everyone is not good at everything. There has to be something brilliant even in one’s silence. 😉

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