Orientation is about getting to know new people. And one of the keystones to our educational approach at the Babcock Graduate School of Management is teamwork. So what better way to combine the two than with humor?
For the second year in a row, the admissions staff and the full-time program director turned to Second City Communications, the improvisational theater troupe, to help break the ice and promote teamwork among the school’s newest group of full-time MBA and MA students.
Second City Communications is the corporate learning and corporate entertainment division of the improvisational comedy theatre, The Second City. Yes, that Second City of “Saturday Night Live” fame, which spawned such famous comedians as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Dratch, Amy Sedaris and Steve Carell. And that’s just from its Chicago Mainstage.
The improvisational training workshop forces students to overcome their nerves, explained Stacy Poindexter Owen, admissions director. “It is one of the highest-rated exercises during orientation,” she said. “Students are hesitant when they first hear ‘impromptu,’ but they ultimately encourage us to bring in Second City again next year.”
Exercises led by the Second City hosts included pairing up students for communication drills during which they had to constantly interrupt the other in order to stress the importance of listening. Another exercise involved members of study groups coming up with a new product, a tagline, a jingle and a national spokesperson – in the span of 3 minutes.
Following are some student comments about the Second City workshop from the orientation evaluations:
- “I’ve always loved their stuff. I think this is a great exercise for group bonding.”
- “The Second City workshop was good and I learned a great amount about myself, communication and transferability of certain skills that I simply hadn’t thought about before.”
- “The Second City workshop helped break the ice in the best way possible.”
- “Second City workshop – fabulous. A great way to meet some more classmates, as the groups mixed and mingled throughout the whole session. Great presenters, great energy, very applicable to team dynamics and just general solid communications.”