Three and a half days

Bhaskar Dutt, TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

Class 11 is almost halfway through the first quarter! Many of us have been out of school for a decade or more (drat, now I’ve made myself feel old), so getting into the groove of attending classes took some work. It’s been an exhausting but exciting ride so far and I’m really looking forward to the rest of it!

Since this is my first TMMBA blog entry, it probably makes sense for me to talk a bit about our first taste of it – the orientation experience. We had an intensive three and a half day orientation session in December, after which we got about a month off before classes started in earnest early in January. Those three and a half days served as a great springboard into the TMMBA program. Even prior to orientation, we had been assigned study teams. Meeting our study teams and getting to know them a bit even before classes started was fantastic. We had also been assigned daunting stacks of reading material for two classes that we would be taking as part of orientation, Ethical Leadership and Building Effective Teams.

I was very impressed with the content of both those classes. I had never really thought ethics in business would be a particularly interesting or complex subject, but Scott Reynold’s class showed me how naive that view was. The animated and thoroughly entertaining discussions in this class brought home to us how multi-dimensional a question as simple as “What is the right thing to do here?” can be. By the end of our short crash course in business ethics, Scott had provided us with an appreciation for this complexity and a framework for evaluating such questions that I have little doubt I will be revisiting at some point in the course of my career.

The reading we were assigned for Building Effective Teams resonated strongly with me. My own interests lie in the direction of team-building and process engineering (I currently serve as the scrum-master for my team at work), and so as I read about practices adopted by various successful teams, I thought frequently about how I could apply them at work. Here again Greg Bigley’s thoroughly entertaining teaching style brought the material to life. Various in-class exercises helped us get a feel for the concepts we were learning about while simultaneously forcing us to get to know our new classmates better. I came away from this class with a new appreciation for how important good team dynamics and norms can be to the success of the team. I’m going to keep all the reading material we were given for this class – I am certain I will want to refer back to it soon.

Another high point of our whirlwind orientation was the business etiquette dinner. Held at the swanky Bellevue Club, this event was designed to give us the basics of etiquette in business meals while simultaneously allowing us to get to know each other a little better in a fun setting. There was a great deal I learned here, from how to hold a wine glass, napkin, and small plate in one hand to where to seat guests relative to hosts. The food was delicious, the setting was beautiful, and the company was delightful! This was the first time the TMMBA program has organized such an event and I consider it an unequivocal success.

There were also numerous informative presentations from TMMBA staff about the various services the program offers as well as the beginning of an ongoing class in professional communications that looks like it is going to be invaluable to our careers. At the end of the three and a half days I returned home, exhausted but also thrilled about my new experiences. What a great introduction to the program!