ONE-YEAR AT GOIZUETA: BRETT PATTERSON – Enota Team Building Experience

Welcome to Goizueta – meet your 61 new best friends!” accurately describes the whirlwind that was the first week of Onboarding for the 2016 One-Year MBA Class. The two week Onboarding experience was divided into a Community focused week followed by an Academics focused week. Amid the student and faculty panels, helpful information presentations, and many delicious boxed lunches, what stands out the most in my mind is our class’s trip to the Enota Retreat Center in Hiawassee, Georgia.

It would be an understatement to say that a few members of our class were a little worried when we were told we would be going camping, but I think it is safe to say we had a blast! The majority of the trip included participating in a series of team building challenges with our new study teams. Our team had failures and successes, but we learned there are several things to keep in mind when faced with a challenge, whether in the middle of the woods or in Economics class.


  1. Communicate – There is no way you’ll make it through any of the challenges without communicating with your team. The trick is you just might not be able to talk… Whether you are using your words or have been limited to your mime skills, communication is key. Your team can’t read your mind. If you have an idea, share it! If you have a question, ask it!
  2. Be flexible – Don’t be afraid to admit an initial idea isn’t working and needs abandoning. Odds are your first idea for a solution to a team building problem might not work. It’s important not to get stuck on one idea because it was your first one. Be flexible, ready, and willing to change directions.Bucket Challenge
  3. Get creative – In most challenges, there are multiple ways to arrive at a solution. Feel free to chart your own course to the destination. Question the rules and don’t make assumptions about what you can and cannot do. Is the team in need a little extra height to complete a task? Who says you can’t grab a picnic table to stand on?
  4. Be a supporter – Leadership is incredibly important, but everyone can’t be the leader at the same time. Many of us come into business school having a resume boasting leadership positions and teamwork skills, but no one cites their skills as a supporter. Note I said supporter, not follower. A supporter is an active role that requires you to support the leader by having a voice, volunteering a hand, or maybe even playing devil’s advocate.
  5. Have fun! – If you aren’t having fun, you’re probably doing it wrong. In addition to the sunscreen and bug spray, the most important things you can pack for the retreat (and for your entire school year) are a smile and a positive attitude! Community Onboarding and the Enota experience are designed to introduce you to the Goizueta community, but also a time to begin fostering relationships with your team and class as a whole. It doesn’t hurt that the first evening in the woods is celebrated with a large bonfire, s’mores, and of course, a keg!