MBA Education

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Taking meal times as a learning opportunity

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 3:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 July, 2014, 5:38pm

Because my role requires shift work, I am sometimes on duty overnight, and during those long but busy hours, you often find yourself thinking about your next meal.

“What shall we order?” is probably the most common opening for any casual conversation among my co-workers. Deciding gives people a chance to chat and make suggestions, and is also a golden opportunity for all us to try out a wide range of different cuisines. For example, during my first few overnight shifts, I developed a taste for the famous roast chicken dishes sold near Wanchai area. In fact, I credit them for helping me get to know my new colleagues, giving me energy and extra nutrients and – eventually – a reason to buy new trousers in a bigger waist size.

Working with people who are on rotating shifts is definitely challenging. You do, though, interact with different supervisors and more co-workers, and that can help in learning about the business and the “tricks” needed to handle assignments more effectively. Another plus, not available to colleagues on the day shift, is being able to watch live broadcasts of late-night football matches during our breaks - unfortunately, though, without any alcoholic beverages.

"Where shall we go to eat?" That same basic question is also regularly asked when you studying with a diverse group of classmates, and there too is presents an opportunity to try out a world of new flavours and colourful recipes. For instance, I’ve had a remarkable Moroccan dinner with my classmates. Trying tagine, couscous, mojito and mint teas not only introduced us to those traditional favourites, but also sparked discussions around the table about national dishes and cultural differences, and inspired me to visit these countries for myself before too long.

All this also helps in expanding my own Eating Guide and provides knowledge which may be useful in other areas of life. For example, the talk might touch on simple issues like tipping behaviour or the most popular movie stars in different countries, details which can smooth the way when travelling on business or dealing with international clients.