Regular readers of the blog might have noticed a drop in the number of posts published since the past 2 weeks. Here's why: the new class of 2014 is immersed in UCLA Anderson's comprehensive orientation program called the "Leadership Foundations". The result: we're all super-busy and super-excited!
When I first looked at the schedule and read that we have to go through a 2 week long orientation, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing - wondering whether we'll have to sit for long hours in a big hall listening to an endless line up of speakers from all over Anderson dole out endless "leadership anecdotes" and whether i'll be able to stay awake at all given that the day starts at 8 am. Oh, how wrong I was! The Anderson orientation, like everything about the school, is such a wonderful experience. Let me give you a lowdown.
We started with the UCLA-wide New Internation Students and Scholars Orientation (NISSO) and Anderson's Internation Student Orientation Day (ISOD), which were both full of very useful information about visa, job search, culture issues, campus resources, etc. for international students. It was a pleasure meeting the Anderson MBA Admissions team that recruited us all, and the Parker CMC staff that have already begin the hardwork to prepare us to get recruited to our dream jobs.
The Leadership Foundation course started next and we're into the second week already. The case readings for each day of the course were already given to us. While going through them, many students imagined a boring classroom discussion. However, to our surprise, the whole program is group-discussion oriented and hands-on. On the first day, we did some excellent role-playing for a case and learnt important leadership lessons. Earlier in the day, Assoc. Dean of the MBA program, Robert Weiler left us spellbound with his welcome speech. An international specialist was also invited to speak about his experiences with the various cultures around the world and we had an interesting time as he talked about some extremely hilarious cultural habits, eg. What does an Indian mean when they shake their head side-to-side. The second day saw some interesing discussions over John Wooden's leadership style, a group activity to find a murder suspect in an interesting case, among others. In the end, we constructed a Lego model in a group which taught us what can go wrong in planning and strategizing even though everyone in the team is doing their part of the role perfectly. We've already been assigned into 5 sections of 70 students each and learning teams with 5-6 students each and we go through the program together each day. We're also preparing for the section cup and you'll soon see some hilarious moments from the cheer and skit we're supposed to do soon.
Another interesting aspect has been the awesome food! Every afternoon, we sit on a different tables with randomly picked people so that we get to talk to as many classmates as we can before the real grind starts in 2 weeks. We also had out first Anderson Afternoons last week - free food and drinks in the Anderson north lawns. To sum up, the experience till now seems to suggest that the MBA program at Anderson is not just gonna be another line in my resume, but a whole array of life skills in my armoury. I'm so happy I decided to invest in this program!
PS: we at UCLA are fundraising for three non-profit organizations in the US- Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and Project Echo. This is a part of the Challenge 4 Charity - an annual fundraising effort across several west coast B schools. Please consider making a small donation because it can make a huge difference to somebody's life! Thanks in advance for your contribution.
~Ayushman Jain, '14