One-Year at Goizueta: Chris Luders – Orientation or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Core Values

Before I start discussing everything we did in the first official week as Goizueta Business School students, I wanted to provide you with a brief introduction of myself and my background. I am a lifelong Georgia resident who grew up in Duluth, GA, a suburb of Atlanta about 30 minutes from downtown. I received my undergraduate degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2009, and have spent the past four years working in the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting. As of May 10th, I am now an MBA Candidate in the One-Year Accelerated MBA program – and I’m thrilled to be a new addition to the Goizueta community!

Now, on to the good stuff…

The business school program for one-year students commences with four days of orientation – including two days on-site at the business school and two days off-site at Emory’s Oxford College campus in Covington, Georgia. The first two days were a blur of activity and the highlights were numerous – I’ll just focus on a couple of the sessions that I found impactful.

Goizueta Business School courtyard:

One compelling session was an introduction to the Birkman Method, a personality assessment approach that the Goizueta Business School leverages to help its faculty, staff, and students better understand their key interests and characteristics. Professor Peter Topping was able to expertly navigate the process and help us understand how these personal characteristics can impact our leadership style and preferences in working in teams.

Professor Steve Walton led us through another extremely compelling session, giving us a brief introduction to the case study teaching method before launching us into a spirited discussion of Zipcar’s customer strategy. Even in this early “simulation” of a classroom experience, I was impressed by the insight of my peers and the strong facilitation of Professor Walton.

The on-site orientation days wrapped up with our very first Kegs in the Courtyard event, a weekly happy hour when the Goizueta students, faculty, and staff take a couple of hours to catch up with each other while enjoying snacks and frosty beverages.

Early the next morning, my classmates and I arrived early to board a bus to Emory’s Oxford College campus in Covington, Georgia. Oxford College is a gorgeous campus east of the city with verdant trees and expansive courtyards. Emory College was actually founded at the Oxford campus prior to the Civil War, and it continues to provide undergraduate students with an option to receive a world-class liberal arts educational experience in a more intimate community.

Courtyard at Oxford College:

During our off-site orientation days, Oxford also served as the backdrop for a number of teambuilding activities that would bring our one-year class closer together. As a group, we went through a number of exercises designed to help us learn to rely on one another, and to realize that communication is key to success as a member of any team or organization. I won’t spoil the details for you, but I will say I also learned that you can’t move a river!

We were also given plenty of free time to sit down and learn more about our classmates over a meal or a drink. During a facilitated session, I got a chance to get to know the four other members of my core team for the summer at a much deeper level – we shared information about our backgrounds, our aspirations, and some of the greatest challenges we’ve faced in our lives so far.

Dean Brian Mitchell wrapped up the week of orientation with our first official lecture as Goizueta students. Drawing from his own life experiences, Dean Mitchell shared valuable wisdom with us regarding how we should position ourselves for success, growth, and satisfaction in our next year at MBA students. We left Oxford College at the end of orientation week reflecting on our MBA goals and what it means to be a member of the Goizueta community, and anxiously looked toward the commencement of classes the following week.