I’m writing this post in hopes of reaching the prospective students interested in the Goizueta One Year MBA program. Particularly, I want to address the aspect of leadership within our program and the opportunities that exist. The fact is, there is not enough time in my day to describe everything that falls under the aegis of leadership within our program, nor can you adequately relate through my words the experiences of which I write. Nevertheless, this subject is dear to my heart, and I’ll give you a glimpse into an opportunity that I wish you the good fortune of experiencing for yourself in the near future.
I began this post with the intention of telling you about my role as One Year Class representative to the Goizueta Business Association (our student body). I was going to go into detail about my opportunities to work with the administration to develop our program structure and make elements of the curriculum better. I was then going to write about the One Year MBA class leadership positions such as Social Chair, Academic Affairs, Cultural Affairs, Honor Council, Alumni Relations, etc. and give you examples of how these positions contribute to our program and Goizueta overall. And then I was going to regale you with stories of all of the academic and professional clubs, the interests groups, the charitable activities, the social events, and the networking opportunities, all within the context of the roles that One Year students play as representatives, planners, and participants in these undertakings. Rather, I think that our time would be better spent telling you about the real leadership opportunity that Goizueta offers.
As you are likely aware, Goizueta prides itself in creating an intimate community of professionals, each willing to extend advice and aid to fellow alumni. Many others and I can attest that this is a fact, both within the current student body and within the alumni network. I will go further and argue that the One Year Program exhibits this mantra as well as any program within any institution in the nation. Concisely put, we are a tight-knit group with a profound respect for and willingness to help our Goizueta brethren. As this is a claim-to-fame of many educational institutions, you’re likely wondering how, if at all, Goizueta accomplishes this goal to a greater extent than other universities. Well, here is my attempt at an answer.
What follows is a short summary of our story, highlighted with the topic of community and life at Goizueta. First, let me tell you a bit about myself. I entered the One Year MBA program in May of 2010, not long after returning from a 13-month deployment to Iraq. After 4 ½ years of military service, I made the decision to return to the civilian world and pursue a career outside of the profession of arms. Coming from the United States Army, an institution that lives and breaths leadership, I felt a sense of uncertainty, perhaps even animosity, about the much lauded leadership component of my perspective curriculum. Please understand – I was very excited about delving into the world of finance, marketing, and strategy, subjects with which I was barely familiar; but, the leadership component, for lack of a better expression, was a story that I felt that I had already read. As has so often been the case in my life, I could not have been more wrong.
From our first moment at Goizueta, we began an array of team building exercises with our soon-to-be classmates. I refer to the other students as classmates, but I do not do them or our program justice by referring to them as just classmates. So, from here forward I will to refer to them as family, as each and every Goizueta student is more like a brother or sister than merely a fellow pupil. We spent our first days at Goizueta in the woods, scaling walls, navigating zip lines, and stumbling our way through all sorts of other exercises meant to teach us about leadership and communication. This was all a precursor or a subtle attempt to prepare us for what we would come to regard as the most taxing and rewarding summer of our lives. We spent the next 3 months, morning to night, pouring over case studies, working in small groups, delivering presentations to business professionals, and doing our best to attend the litany of networking events that our career management center kept in the queue. We did all of this just to spend every free minute planning our next group party, outing, or barhopping soirée. I tell you this for one reason, to give you a realistic picture of the components that hone the consummate professionals who graduate from our program each May.
Amidst this academic and social bedlam, we were forced into roles as group leaders, presenters, coordinators, and subject-matter experts. Our individual team members became our closest friends as we worked our way through the barrage of assignments, projects, and the never-ending list of deliverables. We worked with, relied upon, and, most of all, learned from our newly acquired family in ways that we never anticipated. We realized very quickly that our true leadership curriculum was not defined by the positions we assumed, or the classes we took, but by the interactions and relationships we maintained amongst ourselves. For the first time in many of our lives, the leadership lectures and trainings that pervaded our previous work and school experiences became clear. Our understanding of leadership ability transcended our previous, and all-too-common, misconception of leadership as simply management style. We now understood leadership as our ability to inspire, motivate, and grow with those around us. We noticed, both within ourselves and through the perceptions of others that we were developing as leaders in ways that we couldn’t previously conceive. We emerged from a hellish summer with a newly formed sense of pride, belonging, and confidence. After three months we joined and became a part of much larger community (the 1st and 2nd Year MBA programs), and our ties therein gradually are becoming equally as strong.
Many soon-to-be MBAs will focus their attention on a larger schools under the assumption that the greater number of alumni will advantage their future career. While I cannot say that this is false, I find it difficult to believe that another MBA program could equal the advantages that the Goizueta community provides.
So, now I’ll answer the question I posed earlier. How does the One Year MBA program at Goizueta Business School offer leadership opportunities? The answer is very simple. It does so by creating an intimate community.
I hope you’ll be a part of our community soon. Best of luck.
Jason M. Gordon
GBA VP: One Year MBA Representative