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New UI MBA students team up during IMPACT week

Faced with the challenges of writing a complex business plan and learning business lunch etiquette, first-year University of Iowa MBA students will learn the value of teamwork in the business world during IMPACT Week 2000.

Starting Aug. 14, some 76 first-year MBA students new to the Henry B. Tippie School of Management will participate in IMPACT, which stands for Involvement, Motivation, Professionalism, Achievement, Challenge, and Teamwork. IMPACT is orientation for the MBA program.

Team building activities are a key component of the week, and they include running the High Adventure Challenge Course at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area north of Iowa City Wednesday, Aug. 16. Student teams will also present a case study to a panel of business leaders to conclude the week on Aug. 18.

Jeff Emrich, coordinator of IMPACT 2000, says the week's events are designed to help students learn what will be expected of them in the MBA program. The activities also allow students to get to know each other, and to become acquainted with the resources and support available at the Tippie School of Management.

"It's more than orientation," Emrich said. "IMPACT week introduces them to the program and also gives them new skills they will need to be successful in the MBA program and in their future careers."

At the start of IMPACT week, the MBA students are assigned to work in teams, bringing together individual skills and experiences that can benefit the entire group. The students stay in these groups for the first year of their studies. Students from 12 countries are represented in the on-campus, full time MBA class. This year's class includes students from a wide range of professions, including medicine, dentistry, law, nursing, architecture, engineering, banking, brand management and sports management.

The teams learn cooperation through several activities. On Monday, Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m. in Room S401 of the Pappajohn Business Building, teams will get a lesson in new product development. They will be given a package of materials such as drinking straws to build a device to break the fall of an egg from an 8-foot drop.

The students also will tackle the High Adventure Challenge Course, a series of high and low obstacles carefully placed in an outdoor environment. By overcoming both physical and emotional obstacles, participants build self-confidence and group trust. This activity is at 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 16.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, a mock business luncheon is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Led by a representative from At Ease, a business protocol consulting firm, students will learn how to communicate in an informal setting without committing a social faux pas. The students will have some interesting food situations with which to contend, such as eating a messy plate of sauce-covered pasta without spotting their tie or blouse, or properly eating a salad laced with unpitted olives and huge cherry tomatoes.

In a cross-cultural training session at 8 a.m. Aug. 15 in S401, the students will learn how to work with colleagues from different countries and backgrounds.

The students will also face real-world business challenges, such as preparing a presentation about the challenges and opportunities that Pillsbury Co. faces in the e-business arena. At the end of the week, students make presentations to a "board of directors," which includes area business leaders and Pillsbury representatives.

IMPACT week includes presentations from Jerre Stead, former chairman of Ingram Micro Inc., and Chuck Tryon, director of e-business at Pillsbury, who will share their experiences in the business world.

Kathie Decker, director of MBA Career Services, will encourage the students to focus on career tracks and internship possibilities as they enter the MBA program.

Most IMPACT Week activities are in the Pappajohn Business Building, except as noted. For more information about IMPACT week, contact Emrich at (319) 335-1039.


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