Until a few weeks ago, it had been more than 4 years since I last stepped foot on a university campus. If you can believe it, I was looking forward to wearing business suits and early morning starts as part of my MBA experience.
We did both during IMPACT Week, plus a ton of other things: ice breakers, faculty director chats, a 6am start for a road trip to Des Moines to visit Nationwide and Wellmark, a 10pm stretch for group presentation preparations, and a chance to listen to Jerre Stead, Chairman and CEO of IHS Inc., talk about his early career and share invaluable stories about the ups and downs.
However, the most engaging activity of the entire IMPACT Week was the Case Competition. The class was divided into groups that will work together throughout the first semester. For many of us in the class, this was the first time we laid eyes on a company’s annual report, so trying to get our heads around it was one thing, while trying to propose effective solutions was an entirely different proposition. Our group brainstormed for hours, inking the whiteboards with existing problems and expansive solutions for our “client” United Stationers. Though boiling down the avalanche of ideas to a streamlined train of thought was probably the hardest thing, it was by far the best learning experience. All the teams worked hard and came up with innovative recommendations that were presented in front of an elite panel of judges that included guests, alum, faculty and second year students.
Ultimately, the most valuable take away of IMPACT Week, for me, was the experience of working in teams, with each member bringing different qualities to the table and trying to maximize each of our abilities.
What’s even more exciting is that the journey is not over; it has just begun.