On Monday evening of Keystone Week, the MBA Class of 2014 filed outside to the Jenkin’s Courtyard for what they thought was just a networking barbecue.  Immediately they were greeted by surprise as their second-year classmates stood above on the balcony applauding and cheering a warm welcome to the Goizueta family.

Dating back to the fall of 1997 when Goizueta underwent monumental change with the new building and revised curriculum, the Clap-In tradition serves to bolster community spirit and engagement by formally merging the returning second year students with their new first year colleagues.  The custom also works to remind second-year students of how far they have come, and excite first-year students about the journey ahead.

“We have such a strong sense of family here and we have this tradition of students paying it forward,” says Professor Patrick Noonan, the original mastermind behind the tradition. “They come to a great community, they are welcomed, they are helped, and then they turn around and do it for the class after them to keep that legacy of spirit and community going.  The Clap-In really embodies that pay-it-forward spirit that is essential not only to the Goizueta experience, but also to the real world of business.”

In the early years of the Clap-In, second-year students would remain silent and serious until all first-year students made their way into the courtyard before erupting into applause at the signal of their class president.  Over the years, however, the tradition has evolved into instant clapping and cheers while the students walk out.

Despite that shift, first-year MBA student Brian Bland recalls “I was quite convinced that we were going to be hazed!”

“It becomes a ruckus ceremony.  It is applauding, and whistling, and shouting, and it is just a real fun celebration.  We are literally applauding you for your decision to come to Goizueta and welcoming you into our family,” says Full-Time MBA Program Dean Brian Mitchell.

Following the excitement of the Clap-In came the Annual Coke Toast as scheduled.  First-years and second-years alike raised their bottles while 2013 MBA class Vice-President Amanda Goodman toasted to the start of a new academic year.

During her speech she offered three pieces of advice.  Her first encouraged her fellow classmates to think about their future insisting that only when they are confident about the direction of their life, will they be able to “pass around the Goizueta legacy and show the world how great you are.”

Goodman’s second recommendation was simply to learn.  She motivated her peers to “think outside the box” by forgetting about what they think they are supposed to do, but to instead try classes that they have never taken before.

Her final and most important words of guidance were with regard to the Goizeuta community. “Meet the people who are standing next to you.  These are going to be not only the future leaders, but also best friends for the rest of your life. I challenge all of you and myself to come to everything, to say yes all year to going to academic events, social events, sporting events, speeches, lectures, anything.  We can only make this community as great as it is if we all come together.  So with that please raise your Coca Cola.  Here is to a great year and for a future as being apart of the Goizueta family!”