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Students Start MBA Program Climbing Ropes, Camping Out

The 62 newly-minted, incoming first-year students in the Tippie College of Business MBA program may someday use their degrees to work in plush offices and spacious corporate boardrooms.

But they'll start in a cabin.

The students, participating in the Tippie MBA's IMPACT (Involvement, Motivation, Professionalism, Achievement, Challenge, Teamwork) orientation the week of August 15-20, will spend the second night of the program camping out at Camp Wakonda in Central City, where they'll get to know each other with a barbecue, marshmallow roast, and playing board games like Pictionary and Texas Hold 'em poker.

On the third day, students will participate in a rigorous ropes course that requires them to perform such activities as climbing nets, jumping from platforms supported only by a rope, and crossing aerial rope bridges.

The students will camp out on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 16, and perform the ropes exercises on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Dwight Bailey, director of student services for the Tippie MBA program and IMPACT Week coordinator, said the camping trip and ropes exercise not only build community but challenge students to explore their strengths and limitations while having fun.

"The fulltime MBA program comprises 21 very rigorous months that require students to move beyond their comfort zone," Bailey said. "The ropes course is designed to do just that. The program emphasizes such values as teamwork, risk taking, and learning how to exceed your own expectations, values that will translate beyond their MBA days into their careers.

"Our incoming students have excelled academically and professionally, but they don't know each other," he said. "The camping trip and ropes course are a great way to not only get to know the people they'll spend the next 21 months with in the classroom, but introduce them to new ways of interrelating with other people."

The ropes course is particularly helpful in building self-confidence, Bailey said.

"Ropes courses create a great opportunity for groups and individuals to learn how they perform under pressure, how they give and receive support from other people, and how collaboration can help an individual achieve more than they could have achieved individually," he said.

Other IMPACT Week events include a luncheon where students learn the rules of dining etiquette, and a keynote address from Richard Myers, retired minority leader of the Iowa House of Representatives and the owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership.


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