Day 1-3 of the MBA Programme

Day 1 -Aug 29, 2011

As a former project manager I have an appreciation for a project plan. Specifically, I enjoyed the satisfaction of overseeing a project and achieving significant milestones. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t rival the thrill of hitting the game winning shot, riding a motorcycle, or participating in a fantasy football draft (all which I have experienced), but achieving milestones are always satisfying. This post launches the moment my wife Amy and I had been waiting for and what brought us to Ireland in the first place, the beginning of the MBA program orientation week.

It was a day of welcoming. After 8 hours my class had been officially welcomed into the school by the Dean, MBA Program Manager, Admissions Manager, Academic Director, and International Director. I learned that 55% of our class was international, that UCD Smurfit was a leading European and worldwide program, and that I had 39 other classmates in the full-time MBA students. Most importantly I learned that this was the right place for me to pursue my MBA.

The day ended with dinner and drinks at a nearby pub for international students. I still chuckle when thinking of myself as an international student as an American, but I happily joined 20+ other students from Vietnam, China, India, Canada, and Japan in the opportunity to enjoy our first pub date!

Day 2+3: Aug 30-31, 2011

What do you get when a Chinese, Indian, American, and two Irish guys get together? That would be my MBA study team for the semester! As you can imagine there may be some challenges working with individuals from different countries, religious beliefs, and professional backgrounds. The college’s solution to these potential issues was to provide a variety of team building exercises during the MBA orientation week. I will highlight the two days of team building below.

Day 1 Team Building

Imagine the following scenario:

  • You are in a group of five people and the goal is to make a hexagon shape with a rope…while blindfolded
  • You are then told that your team needs to work with two other teams
  • However the three ropes are all different lengths and you can’t touch them until everyone if blindfolded
  • Confused? Well don’t worry, 40 MBA students were too and looked like a clump of spaghetti noodles rather than an organized circle of shapes.

    Day 2 Team Building

    After learning the importance of leadership and communication it was time for more team building. We were split into eight teams and given the following instructions:

  • The goal is to get the Jeidi back home
  • To accomplish this you need a guide to build the ship and materials
  • Materials will require cash
  • Cash can only be earned by a variety of “earning games”
  • The “jedi” ended up being a golf ball and the end goal was to get the ball from start to finish into a bucket. Eager to show our new-found MBA leadership skills, our groups tried coming together in a more organized fashion. The end result was a full day of strategizing, earning Monopoly money, buying random materials, and finally successfully building a track for the golf ball to find its way home in the bucket! Team building can be exhausting but rewarding!

    – Justin Thomas, FT MBA