The last two weeks have been amazing. On day one we all drew a name of one of our classmates out of a bowl and were promptly assigned our first project: get to know your new classmate and be prepared to give a 90 second summary of who he/she is next Monday. It was a great opportunity to get to know someone you may otherwise not have met immediately. Some of our classmates got a little more creative than others…In my case, my counterpart ultimately won the “most creative presentation” award for his epic slideshow and showmanship.
Mornings during week one were devoted to “Math Camp”, a refresher class taught by Professor Ansari to help level the playing field and give us expectations about where we need to be. It was fast paced but manageable, the “poets” are indeed out of their element. We also found that we needed to have HP 17bII calculators (at least they were strongly recommended). In addition to Math Camp, Professor Thomas Lin taught two days for accounting refresher for anyone that didn’t do well on the inventory accounting test, or anyone who just wanted to sit in.
We had a family day that allowed all of the spouses and family members to meet. Being an older demographic, many of the students of IBEAR 38 have families, and many of them have left their lives in their home countries to travel to LA for the year (much respect!). The IBEAR staff delivered a summary of the class, after which we had a catered lunch at the Park La Brea playground. It was great for the spouses, partners and children to get to know each other, and for the kids to have the opportunity to play together. The spouses have also formed a club, and will plan events to keep them busy while we’re studying accounting…
Our class has found a multitude of opportunities to socialize during this two week period. It’s been a blur of happy hours at Molly Malone’s, free concerts at The Grove, and late night gatherings in our apartments. They don’t advertise it very well, but the USC Marshall IBEAR MBA provides a stipend for all admitted students that choose to live at the Park La Brea apartment complex near West Hollywood. This, combined with the fact that over 90% of the class have relocated to Los Angeles, ensures that we are all living near each other and has provided a really great opportunity to get to know everyone. The breadth of the class is remarkable and everyone really wants to make the most of this experience: former engineers, financial analysts, marketers, military professionals, and much more. The program is going to meld us together, allowing us to learn from the vast array of experiences, producing well rounded leaders and critical thinkers.
We topped orientation off with a two day trip to Temecula, where the professionals of Action Learning Associates ran us through a series of drills and exercises intended to break down barriers and help us get to know each other. It’s been a tremendous experience, there’s no better way to describe it. Everyone had the opportunity to showcase their strengths, find their weaknesses, and grow as a team. Congratulations to all of my classmates that conquered their fear of heights on the ropes course! After two days of discussions, problem solving drills, practical exercises, and social engagements, I don’t think it’s possible for such a diverse group to have grown so close at a faster pace. Over the last 38 years, the IBEAR MBA staff have absolutely developed a proven system for building teams. Despite the fact that all of my classmates are highly experienced and accomplished professionals, I can’t help but feel that everyone has grown in some way already, and we’ve only just started.
Now…Term 1 begins.