Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome MSBA Class of 2013

Welcome Class of 2013
 I'm pleased to welcome the Class of 2013 to campus begin our year long journey together.  As with our first two classes, this is a diverse group representing 9 different undergraduate universities, ten different undergraduate majors, and 3 different countries.  Our students range from schools in California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina and the DC area and represent a wide array of experiences, backgrounds and cultures. This will indeed be an exciting year and I'm looking forward to learning from these students.

Chris, Caroline, Adaobi and Tracey
enjoy the fare at Colonel Brooks
 We have a tradition of beginning our journey with orientation activities prior to classes commencing.  Because our students study as a cohort, it is important to establish trust and a sense of teamwork early on.  We started with a Meet and Greet at the venerable Colonel Brooks Tavern last Tuesday.  A sad note; Colonel Brooks is closing in September to make way for new facilities to serve the CUA community.  Progress is good but sometimes it causes sad farewells! 

Students prepare for their
first challenge
Bright and early the next morning we traveled to Darnestown, Maryland to spend the day with Eriq Powers at Go-Adventures.  This is our third year with Eriq and he did his usual great job.   The students shared information about their backgrounds, their reasons for being in the program, and at the end of the day, what the experience meant to them.  We worked on teambuilding, developing trust, leadership and communications.  By the end of the day, we discovered we had a highly functioning team ready to tackle this rigorous one year graduate program.

Adaobi leads Chris across an obstacle
This exercise teaches students the value of trust as they are led blind folded through the woods and across obstacles.  Only non verbal communications are allowed!  Many students are initially uncomfortable with this evolution as they are used to leading rather than following.  This teaches the important skill of learning to depend on teammates.  As one student astutely pointed out, "you have to be a good follower in order to be a good leader". 

This is probably what construction
on the Alaska pipeline looked like
Next came the problem solving and communication evolution.  Students were given limited resources to build three pipelines on a 10 degree pitched hillside to deliver a marble to a central location.  They first had to decide whether to work together and share resources and institutional knowledge or compete with each other.  They correctly decided to work as a team toward the common goal.  However, after initial good communications and sharing to gather the resources, the "doing" took over and they set about the work as separate teams without proper leadership and planning.  Halfway through the alloted time and realizing they were behind, they called a timeout to correct the problem.  While only one team successfully delivered the marble to the central storage facility, the impact of lessons learned was clear and a second attempt would no doubt have proved successful.  

Tracey explains her teams solution
as Caroline, Winfred and Anthony look on
Our final orientation exercise took place on campus where expectations and procedures were clearly defined.  The MSBA program adopted a Professional Code of Conduct last year that spells out our expectations for attendance, dress standards and classroom participation.  The program models business behaviors and we seek to practice these behaviors down to the smallest detail.  Borrowing on a popular sports metaphor, "you play like you practice", we intend students to adopt these behaviors as second nature.  During this session we introduced and practiced a case study discussion which the students will use throughout the program.  This affords them an opportunity to not only hone their critical thinking skills but also their communications skills as demonstrated here.

Enjoy more pictures of our orientation activities soon on our facebook page, Catholic University MSBA Program and stay tuned throughout the year as these students learn and accomplish great things.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis

No comments:

Post a Comment