As you might expect, the first week of classes involved a fair amount of syllabus distribution and “course housekeeping.” But make no mistake we hit the ground running.
Through the miracle of modern technology (specifically Carmen, the online course management tool) we were able to begin our case discussions immediately. In two courses, MBA 812 Managerial Economics and MBA 800 Financial Accounting we read a prepared business case analysis for the first day of class.
This got me thinking that as recently as five years ago (when I was an undergrad) assigning pre-work and distributing syllabi before a course started was much trickier business. It was so tricky in fact, that most instructors avoided it. However, now that there is a central course management tool, material and assignments can be distributed and the instructor can reasonably assume that everyone in the class has all the information.
In addition to my pre-work assignment I spent a fair amount of time this week collecting supplies and books for my five courses. Books and course packets are fairly expensive (read more about that here). However during my trip to Ireland, I was able to built relationships with a few second year students that I was able to leverage to get many of these items used for a considerable discount.
The Fisher College of Business full-time MBA class of 2011 has officially been orientated. The second week included several important activities like an intake appointment and mock interview with the Career Management office, and an introduction to case discussions with Jay Dial. Perhaps the highlight of the week was the Summit Vision team building experience which my team participated in on Wednesday.
Summit Vision is a team building and corporate development company based out of Westerville, Ohio. They use “…adventure and experiential learning tools [so that] people have the opportunity to reach their full potential–both individually and as part of a larger team.”
Specifically, my core group teamed with another group to create one ten-person team. Throughout the morning we were challenged with physical and mental exercises that tested our problem solving, inventiveness and perseverance. Each station, while fun, was designed to make us work as a team towards a common goal. Some of my favorites include:
Zip Line – Wheeeeeeeee!
Pamper Pole – Climb up a telephone pole. Get yourself standing on top (easier said than done—it is the size of a dinner plate). Leap out 8-feet in the air and try to grab a trapeze bar.
Building Blocks – Each member armed with a signed 4×4 block, our team crossed a stretch of grass without touching the ground.
Spider Web – Each team member crossed trough a different hole in a bungee cord spider web—without touching the web at any time.
It does sound like a lot of fun and games, but we were forced to focus as a team, find a solution and amend it as we worked towards our goals.
Week one of MBA orientation is complete. It was mostly as you might expect: an introduction to the college and each other and setting of expectations. In addition to the administrative topics covered, we had a valuable opportunity to hear Craig Morrison, CEO of Hexion Specialty Chemicals, speak on the topic of integrity in business.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the week was meeting our core groups. The first year of the full-time MBA program is a set curriculum. Across all these (core) courses, we work in one team. Needless to say, the prospect of meeting a randomly-selected group of peers that you will be working with for the next nine months can create anxiety. However, I’m very pleased with my team. We are a diverse group of focused and energetic professionals representing experience all over the country, and on three continents. Over the next week, we will get to know each other better before plunging in to the first quarter.