Welcome to Durham MMS Class of 2015! If you think that orientation week at Fuqua consists of casually mingling among your new program buddies over a drink or sitting in boring lectures hours on end, boy, are you in for a surprise. You are thrown into the deep end and I guarantee that you will be exhausted by the end of the week. But did I enjoy it? I loved every minute of it. Orientation really sets the tone for the 10 months ahead. It isn’t just about learning new faces or understanding how to navigate through the building. Instead, by the end of the week, we weren’t just close friends, but a part of the Fuqua family. Below are several highlights of my orientation week for the Class of 2014:

Program Launch: Following several speeches from the directors of the MMS program and from the Dean himself, we were split into two sections, blue and white. I got placed in the white section and was assigned to afternoon classes. I’m not much of a morning person, so needless to say, I was very pleased! We were also assigned to our first MMS team for group assignments. The MMS program places tremendous importance in fostering teamwork and many of our graded assessments are team-based. Teams include a diversity of undergraduate degrees, nationalities and personalities, which make for very dynamic discussions during team meetings! All of us are able to contribute to our teams in unique ways.

Team Dynamics: With our new teams, we were given our first team-building activity in which we had to create a skit to illustrate how our individual differences combine to create the perfect team. After a fruitful discussion, my team decided that for our skit, we’d each bring in a particular type of food to represent both our personality and ethnic background, with the intention that our food would mesh together to create the perfect dish, representative of our perfect team. Sadly, rice, chicken, yogurt, salsa and kimchi didn’t combine well together … Luckily, our self-inflicted pain cracked up the audience and we were rightly awarded second runner-up for our creativity and humor.

Section Olympics: This was a big, competitive face-off between the blue and white sections. Chubby bunny, limbo, water balloon toss and of course, tug-of-war were some of the activities we competed in. It was a chance to showcase our competitive sides, and at the same time, get to know each other better. My section dominated the entire afternoon and won every single event! Props to the blue section though for being a worthy competitor! It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

What a close contest!

What a close contest!

Triangle Training: I’m not sure that there’s a more effective way of building trust in a team than to have two people support each other on a high wire, hanging over 10 feet off the ground. There is no way of getting from one side of the wire to the other without the full support and trust of your teammate. Activities like these were what Triangle Training was all about. The organization that runs this event each year for MBAs and MMSers advocates team building through physically entrusting yourself to a teammate. It was an intense full-day event during which we worked through a series of exercises to better understand the components that make up an effective team. My favorite and most challenging activity was building a tower from plastic crates while standing on the crates themselves! Definitely not for the fainthearted.

Learning to trust teammates 10 feet off the ground!

Learning to trust teammates 10 feet off the ground!

End of Week Celebration Dinner: Having had such a long and tiring week, we wound down by hitting up Tyler’s Taproom, a local bar in Durham! It was finally a chance to relax, have a beer and chat with fellow classmates about the experiences of orientation week. It was a great start to my MMS life!

End of week reflection at Tyler's

Week-end reflection at Tyler’s