Now that the students had gotten to know each other, it was time to get into the actual learning. We started the day off with a negotiation lecture given by Prof. Marwan Sinaceur. Before we knew it, we were off negotiating billion-dollar deals. The students were given a quick briefing about the ‘red banana’ market and their roles in the deal: two competing buyers were trying to convince a sultan to sell them red bananas to stop two epidemics. We got an hour to plan our negotiation strategy and to do the actual negotiating — all the students actively took part in trying to reach the best deal for them in truly absorbing negotiations.
After this activity, we moved on to trying to sell novelty paper clips — for a higher price. The students took turns on giving it their best shot as the reluctant professor turned every offer down. But progressively, the students started getting closer and closer to the core issue. It was more about painting a larger picture by better understanding your client’s needs, rather than focusing on the actual product. By the end we had a whole amphitheatre full of Picassos.
After 7 hours of negotiation practice the sports team put together a basketball game. Things got sweaty! The format was knock out, the students made a line and took turns trying to score. If the person behind you scores before you, you are out! Some also played ping-pong and badminton. One of our counselors put his life on the line for the sake of the game!
We closed the night with a lecture called “leading from the cockpit” by EasyJet pilot Alex Kuhlman. He showed us real life examples of leadership gone wrong in the context of aviation. He introduced us to a set of principles for better management of human resources in a catastrophic event in the cockpit. These principles happen to transfer quite naturally to more day-to-day business situations, and will surely be of great use for our bright young minds.