Fully clad in gym shorts and multi-colored bandannas, my Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team erupted into our emphatic team chant—complete with accompanying dance moves—as we headed into the North Carolina forest for our first event. We had just embarked on Team Challenge Day for the incoming Class of 2017.
As a component to Global Institute coursework, each section (about 75 students each) spends an entire day at Triangle Training Center in nearby Pittsboro, NC, and participates in outdoor team building activities and exercises, including a high-ropes course. The event is designed to complement the topics studied in our Leadership, Ethics & Organizations (LEO) course that we take in August before the first fall term begins. The sections divide into their C-Lead teams of 5 to 7 students and engage in several tasks and challenges that allow each student to develop his or her leadership, decision making, and problem solving skills within a team setting.
Team Challenge Day was one of my favorite events during the first few weeks of the MBA because it allowed my team to get to know each other on a more personal level than we had so far experienced. We were able to support each other when we were nervous or afraid, guide each other through particularly challenging tasks, and provide feedback at the end of the experience that highlighted our strengths and development areas.
Each team also had a facilitator from Triangle Training Center to really help us recognize individual differences that could help us become more productive as a whole. The facilitator provided guidance for optimizing team performance during the challenges and also previewed how the same teamwork concepts might come into play later in our MBA and/or professional experience. This certainly came in handy when the fall semester began and effective teamwork became a necessity for success.
And Team Challenge Day is also REALLY fun! Think of it as a ‘field day’ in elementary school but only for adults who all recently quit their jobs, love socializing and making new friends, and are about to embark on a transformative academic and professional experience.
One of the most iconic and anticipated moments of the day was when the entire section (remember, it’s 75 people) had to work together to get each person over a 14-foot wall without the help of any steps, ropes or other tools. ‘The Wall’ represents teamwork, overcoming challenges, and breaking down barriers among your section mates, and it symbolizes many of the academic, professional, and social obstacles we may face during these next 2 years.
Even though these challenges may seem intimidating, I’m happy that we have the wall experience to look back on and remind us that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to with a focused attitude, hard work, and the support of our team.
This experience was truly inspiring and one of the most memorable moments I’ve had at Fuqua thus far. If this is any indication of what the next 2 years will be like, I know I’ve made the right choice.