BBA Orientation creates lasting bonds between students

Students accepted to the BBA program attended Orientation at Kaplan Mitchell Retreat Center August 25 – 26. The overnight retreat is designed to facilitate students’ transition into the BBA program while beginning the process of building leadership capacities like resilience, interdependence, and coping with risk and ambiguity. The retreat includes team-building activities as well as academic sessions on advising, career services and study abroad.

Teams of students rotated through various activities over two days, including a ropes course culminating in a zipline return to the ground, a construction project in which teams build a boat that will support two members across a pool and interactive community-building sessions. In the evenings, students were free to mingle and get to know one another around the campfire or a board game. “This structure allows students to get to know one another in a variety of ways and inevitably ends up forming long-lasting friendships and teammates for class projects,” said Jessica Lowy, assistant dean of Advising and Academic Affairs for the BBA Program. “We often hear from students that they’re relieved when they walk into their core classes their first week and are able to recognize the faces of their teammates and new acquaintances from the retreat.”

Carlos Gutierrez Aza 20BBA participated in Orientation after being accepted to the BBA program last year. Before Orientation, Gutierrez Aza felt unsure about his decision, questioning whether the program was a good fit for his goals and personality. After attending the retreat, his outlook changed. “It introduced me to the values and creed of the program that changed my outlook on the culture,” he said. “And it got me more and more excited about my education as I learned of all the resources, opportunities, and valuable lessons I was about to immerse myself in.”

Gutierrez Aza returned to BBA Orientation this year as a student leader, this time with the goal of understanding his place in the Goizueta community. As he candidly shared his experience with the incoming students, Gutierrez Aza was able to reflect on it more deeply and understand it better himself. In turn, he encouraged the students to set personal goals and continuously reflect on them. “At the end, seeing them accomplish those goals and express their achievement verbally allowed me to understand the Goizueta values even better, and to find my place as a leader in the community,” Gutierrez Aza said. “I think having a positive impact on these students is the best form of legacy I can have.”

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