MBA students fine tune business skills during Day One Challenge
Equipped with a business problem and my laptop, I looked around the room at five of my peers who I had only known socially, at most, before this day. The six of us had just left a debriefing with the CEO and CMO on the first day of our internship. Well, not our real internships; luckily this was a trial run. And so, the Day One Challenge began, “Let’s introduce ourselves and talk about what skills we bring to the team.”
The challenge is a fun experiential learning opportunity and a way for students to draw upon their mastery of core semester concepts while working within realistic constraints of time, task and team. The “three T” characteristics are vital for success in many business environments and business students need to be prepared to balance pressure on day one of the internship or job. Hence, the premise for “Day One” readiness tested by Friday’s challenge.
The day is not only a simulation of the first day on the job or internship, but also the culmination of a semester-long course called IMPACT. Throughout the semester, the IMPACT curriculum is designed to give students insight into the practice of management and the skills needed to tackle ambiguous, complex problems with little direction or assistance.
Here is the basic premise of the day: We meet in the “launch room” and are assigned a team of classmates who we have never worked with before. Then, we are provided a business case, assigned a second-year coach and asked to complete an analysis and presentation within a four-hour timeframe. At the end of the four hours, each team presents to a panel of alumni and faculty judges who are acting as company executives. Afterwards, each team and all the volunteers converge for a celebratory networking event.
I like to think of the Day One Challenge as a high-pressure test that helped my classmates and I recognize the skills we have built over that past five months. Next semester, we will have the opportunity to apply and fine tune these skills in our IMPACT360 courses.