The Babcock Graduate School of Management welcomes the full-time MBA class of 2010 with a week of activities Aug. 18-22, including a communications workshop by Second City of Chicago, whitewater rafting, a panel discussion about personal and professional ethics and a chance to give back to the community the students will live in for the next two years.
“The primary goal of orientation is to acclimate students to Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University, the Babcock School and each other,” said Jan Pagoria, director of student services. “We also strive to set academic expectations while providing a baseline of teamwork that will carry them through their MBA experience.”
The one-week orientation kicks off Monday with a welcome by Wake Forest President Dr. Nathan Hatch, Dean Steve Reinemund and full-time MBA program director Dr. Sherry Moss followed by a communications workshop presented by Second City Communications.
For the third year in a row, the improvisational theater troupe is being used to help break the ice and promote teamwork among the school’s newest group of full-time MBA and MA in Management students. Second City Communications is the corporate learning and corporate entertainment division of the improvisational comedy theatre, The Second City, which spawned such famous comedians as Tina Fey and Steve Carell.
“The improvisational training workshop forces students to overcome their nerves,” said Stacy Poindexter Owen, director of admissions.
Other highlights of orientation include participating in a “Doing The Right Thing” panel discussion on personal and professional ethics. Called “Challenges and Benefits of Living the Ethical Life,” the panel will be made up of a student, an alumnus, a staff member, a professor and a dean.
The second half of “Doing The Right Thing” is called “Challenges and Benefits of Getting Real in Communicating About Race and Culture.” Guest speaker Bruce A. Jacobs, author of “Race Manners for the 21st Century,” will discuss current challenges of fear, stereotype and resentment, and provide techniques for honest, constructive dialogue that can lead to richer, more meaningful personal and professional relationships.
On Thursday, students will participate in the Challenge Ropes Course and whitewater rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte.
“We believe that putting team members into challenging situations is a great way to surface issues which will challenge them throughout their core MBA education and in their business careers as well,” Moss said. “You can tell a lot about how a team is going to operate through its first year when you observe them working together during initial team-building exercises. When expert facilitators debrief them after these experiences, teams can begin to work through potential difficulties.”
Students will wrap up the five-day orientation program with a community service project by spending Friday afternoon giving back to the area by playing games with seniors, landscaping, and sorting and preparing school supplies, among other volunteer activities. They will then celebrate the completion of orientation week by taking in a Winston-Salem Warthogs game.
Of the 81 new full-time MBA students, 33 percent are women, 15 percent are international and 9 percent are minorities. Their average post-graduate work experience is four years. Classes for the full-time program begin Aug. 25.
Although the Master of Arts in Management program started July 21, its students will attend the orientation sessions for new MBA students. This year’s MA in Management program has 28 students, who come from 10 different colleges and universities. Thirty-six percent of the students are women and 18 percent are minorities.