However, I was fortunate enough to be placed in a project with two other students that were great teammates who turned into great friends.Our team for the Point-of- Care Diagnostics for Global Health capstone project consisted of three members: Hui-Ling Koh (BioE’14), Ian Legaspi (IEOR’14), and myself (BioE’14). Although I had never met Ling and Ian before we started the program, we discovered that we actually had a lot in common. Ling and I both attended the same high school, the International School of Beijing, and Ian and I went to UCLA for our undergraduate studies. The three of us also shared an interest in food. Almost all of our team meetings involved exploring the multitude of restaurants in Berkeley and its surrounding areas (Korean BBQ in Oakland is one of our favorites). Above all, we shared a love for Disneyland. One month into our project, we had already made a weekend team-bonding trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. It is fair to say that if you’re willing to spend 15 hours in the car and a whole day running around and lining up for roller coasters with someone, you’re no longer just capstone project team members — you are friends.
Our team made the extra effort to build a relationship with each other outside of school, which definitely paid off and translated into how our capstone team worked as a whole.Being friends with my team members really made working hard and sometimes going above and beyond much easier for me. Some specific examples I can think of are: running experiments at 1 or 2 AM, attending weekly lab meetings early in the morning, taking turns setting up experiments during spring break, and attending workshops and networking events in San Francisco. It also made me more open to offer and receive criticism, because I knew at the end of the day, they are my friends and have the group’s and my best interest in mind. As you will learn in the Organizational Behavior class, when you care about someone, you are willing to make compromises for them. Throughout the nine months, conflicts and issues are sure to arise, but when you care for and trust your team members, you will be able to work resolve and through them. I strongly believe that the M.Eng. program has helped me prepare for the professional world in many ways. Besides improving my technical skills by taking classes at one of the best engineering schools in the world, I have also developed the interpersonal skills that are necessary in any job you will take after graduation. However, what I’m truly grateful for was the chance to meet my capstone team members and all the other wonderful people in the MEng program. Hui-Ling now works as a R&D Engineer at Teco Diagnostics. Ian works at Connora Technologies as the Director of Operations. Michael works as a Technical Sales Engineer at COMSOL.
How Teamwork and Friendship Build upon each other was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.