“Ahh!  Who are these new people invading our space?” is the thought that instantly comes to the mind of a One-Year student come August.  All 62 of us have ruled the school and owned the building this summer.  It was all about us and we had more space than we ever needed.  Gone are the days of taking over an entire auditorium style classroom for a team meeting and knowing that food buffets and snacks in the halls are exclusively for us.  As the First-Year students began orientation, we were still able to sneak a few free lunches from the halls, but we definitely began experiencing some older child syndrome as faculty and staff attention shifted.

To ease the “pain” prior to the full invasion of all MBA classes and the undergraduate BBA class, we participated in the Goizueta Keystone, two days before the Fall semester designed to integrate the One-Year and Second-Year classes into one Class of 2016.  As One-Year students we were certainly pumped to come back to campus and see our classmates that we had missed dearly during our 10 day break between the Core and Fall semester, but I was also very excited to meet some of our Two-Year classmates and hear about their summer internship experiences.  Keystone was split into two days and our entire Class of 2016 was split into three groups, appropriately named Coke, Tab, and Sprite.

Keystone Day 1

VaultWe were warmly welcomed back to campus at 8 AM with a full breakfast buffet and plenty of time to catch up on vacation adventures and career search updates.  We then spent the majority of the day rotating through three different workshops addressing our careers, our legacy, and our communication and listening skills.  We talked about our career paths along with our readiness and confidence going into the Fall semester, which was promised to be fully booked with recruiting events from on campus presentations and interviews to networking events at the Georgia Aquarium.  While we all are looking for that dream job out of b-school that will pay us the big bucks, give us great work/life balance, and immerse us in exciting and stimulating company culture, we recognized that being a member of the Goizueta community isn’t just a stepping stone in our career paths.  We want to leave a legacy behind us, but also for our future.  In discussing legacies, we participated in a neat and relatively new Goizueta tradition.  We were each given Goizueta letterhead and an envelope with which we wrote letters to future selves discussing our current experiences, our goals, and our hopes for legacy.  The letters will then be added to a vault that is prominently displayed in the building hallway until 2021 when we come back for our five year class reunion.

While the morning was a little more on the serious and introspective side, the afternoon was full of fun and getting to know our new classmates.  Following lunch in small groups with One-Year, First-Year, and Second-Year students, we went to improv class (yes, as in improv comedy class).  Again within small groups we completed a series of different activities, but rather than simply playing ice breakers and introducing ourselves, we were able to be a little silly, laugh at ourselves and each other, and learn a few things in the process.  Each activity focused on overcoming some of our ingrained bad habits when it comes to communicating and listening.  We learned how to best brainstorm, build on each others’ ideas, and listen better.

Keystone Day 2

ChickenOur second day was all about community service and getting to know our classmates while helping our community.  We spent the day at Camp Twin Lakes, a camp facility that hosts several different camps for children and families brought together through mutual loss or illness.  The campgrounds were vast and the entire staff was very welcoming to our large group.  During the day, we completed several chores and construction projects.  The list was long, but included painting a barn, building a fence, washing windows, feeding chickens, and even constructing a nature trail.

As part of the fence building crew, we certainly got a workout.  We measured out the area to be fenced (a future pasture for horses on the farm), dug holes, stammed pilings, and piledrived the large metal stakes that would support the fencing.  Our rag tag bunch came out of the job a little dirty and with a few bruises, but we finished in record time and were rewarded with a little field trip to the other side of the farm to visit and feed the chickens.wagon

Following lunch, we were put on window washing duty.  With spray bottles and squeegees in hand, it wasn’t long after we started washing that we began brainstorming more efficient, or maybe just more fun ways, for washing the windows.  Present a group of MBAs with a task and they are sure to come up with a unique solution!  Quoting our operations professor, we developed a complex system involving wagons and of course, a little competition.  In the end, our method might need a few revisions before we see it rolled out on the commercial window washing level, but we certainly had a great time and clean windows at the end of the day.