Building Lifelong Connections

I remember EPRIME weekend like it was yesterday. Mostly, I remember a blur of faces and names, handshakes and smiles, and a whole lot of advice. We were given advice on how much work we would get and how to manage it, on how to get along with our teams, on how to get involved in clubs, and much more. I remember walking back and forth past the club tables during our second day club fair and thinking how can I fit the most clubs into my already hectic schedule. My goal was to get involved. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there is only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week…no matter how you twist it, how much sleep you give up, there is a limit to how many activities you can cram in.

The next few days after EPRIME I began to reflect. My goal going into the program was to get involved, but what does that mean? I wanted to meet people, I wanted to make friends, and I wanted to make lifetime connections. Then I thought about the blur of faces and names that I couldn’t make out and I realized that those people, those faces, and those names are the key. The beauty of the evening MBA program is that you get to spend 3 years with a group of people that come from all sorts of places with all sorts of different life and work experiences. I realized that the key to getting the most out of my MBA was getting to know these people. So I decided to run for 2013 Class Representative for the MBAA.

My running mate Sergio Bustamante and I decided to maximize our chances of beating out the competition and run together. We won by a landslide, and even though we were the only two running, we put on a great campaign. Our campaign and promise to our class was to have fun, get to know each other and have a blast doing it! After the glow of victory subsided we began to think. Our goal was to organize social events outside of school that will help our class get to know each other on a personal level. The first idea was weekly Wednesday Happy Hours. Sergio had started this trend during the first week of school but it took a few weeks for the crowd to form. After some advertising and pre-class presentations and once everyone got settled into a routine and realized that they will need that drink after class, we began to see a good turnout.

We created a Facebook group page called, 2013 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. As weeks went by and we met more and more people our unofficial social club membership grew. It soon included many of our new friends from the 2012 class, which warranted a name change to the 2013 & 2012 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. Our happy hours became a mixture of classes, with some full-time students joining in as well. The third name change eliminated our graduation dates and it became just the Foster Evening MBA Social Club…I think the next and final change will eliminate the Evening designation, but we will first need to see more full-timers joining us!

With the help of my friend and classmate Brett Bennett I recently organized an eight-player poker game. The game took place on a ferry to Bremerton and back and was a success in bringing eight classmates closer. Tonight I am getting together for happy hour with some girlfriends before they scatter for the holidays. There was a recent dinner party put on by another classmate, Garrett. Other events in the works are ski/snowboarding trips, a girls’ trip to Vegas in March for one of our classmate’s bachelorette party, and more. As I make more and more close friends and connections, and watch my classmates do the same, I realize that we are getting the most out of our MBA experience.

Guest Blogger – Olga Shapiro, Evening MBA 2013