Executive MBA Fall Residency

Fall Residence is the official start of Foster EMBA classes in year-one. It is a tough yet energizing week. Students arrive on a Sunday afternoon in late-September at a local Washington resort and are on-site through Friday. Foster EMBA takes new students off-site to allow them to focus on studies and minimize other distractions. Students reach Fall Residence, having spent weeks ahead of time preparing, eager to engage with the faculty and each other. It is an intense week of refining assignments, class discussions and learning, bonding with their Learning Teams, getting acquainted with their classmates from both the Monthly and Weekly cohorts, and enjoying what little free time they have taking in the local scenery or trying to sneak in a workout.

At Fall Residence, a typical class day starts with breakfast about 7:30 am and students conversing with each other as well as faculty and staff. The morning class session begins at 8:15 am and finishes about 11:30 am. After lunch, students tend to get some fresh air, check-in with their office or respond to email, or chat with one another before their next class begins at 12:30 pm. The afternoon class concludes about 3:45 pm. Following the afternoon class or just after dinner, students may have an optional “Help Session.” Help Sessions are TA-lead supplemental sessions in support of quantitative courses. Teaching assistants in the EMBA program are typically doctoral-level students studying in that course’s academic discipline. History tells us that financial accounting and microeconomics can be the two most challenging classes for many EMBA students. After dinner, students often can be found with their Learning Teams reviewing class materials, relaxing on the property getting to know classmates, talking with their families, working out, or responding to work emails.

It is a well-known fact that the most difficult time for Foster EMBA students is autumn quarter of year-one. There are three big reasons for this: 1) it’s a transition – learning how to balance work, family, school, among other life responsibilities; 2) it has been quite some time since most EMBA students were students – those academic skills can get rusty; and 3) students are part of a new significant team and classic forming, storming, norming and performing stages of team development are in full force. 

As noted, the Foster EMBA program is the first time back in the classroom in many years. Academic skills such as note taking, academic textbook reading, and homework are from days long past. It takes some time and work to get back into “student mode.” Fall Residence is an immersive experience back into the classroom. But one thing is for sure…Fall Residence is a shared memory for future alumni.