It’s being a while since I wanted to write this post. The Global Institute (GI) -our course during August- has turned out to be really demanding: too many readings, assignments, and events! On average, we have to read one case and around 40 – 150 pages before each class. Plus team meetings, assignments, midterm tests, school events, parties, BBQs, dinners, parties, pool parties… have I mentioned parties already?
Anyways, I wanted to write about Orientation, a three day event that took place before classes started in August. During these three days, students are assigned to a section -there are 6 sections- and then are divided into teams of 5-7 people. We will be working with our teams until December, so it is a big deal. Besides this, we learned more about Duke, Fuqua and participated in the Section Olympics. Oh, I almost forgot… AND WE PARTIED ALL 3 DAYS!!
My first day of Orientation started as I approached the parking lot at Fuqua, where several people with blue t-shirts –members of the Orientation Team- were dancing and singing to the music coming from a car parked next to them. As I stopped at to the parking gate, they started cheering and greeting me. They had posters that read “Welcome class of 2015” in many different languages. Fuqua is diversity. I was finally going to meet my 439 classmates!
I headed to the Geneen auditorium where I sit with the rest of my section, SECTION FIVE!!! I was happy to see many of my Language Institute classmates in my section. Our Deans and second year students welcomed us. The theme during the morning: “welcome class of 2015”!
Everything happened so fast after this, but something remained stable: a huge smile in each and every one of us who were in the auditorium. Each section was sent to a different class, and we were welcomed by several second years that explained us what Orientation was all about, apparently we had to win the Section Olympics. They taught us different types of cheers to support our section and all the competitions that all sections were going to participate. “You are here to win the Section Olympics”, they kept telling us. We got our section t-shirts and learned our battle cry: stand up and scream “FIVE!” 5 times, every time we heard someone saying “five”, or after one of our section-mates played the vuvuzela –yes, we had FIVE (obviously) vuvuzelas. Apparently, once back at Geneen, the loudest section could also win points.
What happened next was probably one of the loudest experiences I have ever faced: 432 people screaming in the same room, playing vuvuzelas, dancing, clapping, banging in the walls… During the next three days, every silence in the auditorium was instantly followed by all six sections screaming and cheering. By the end of the week almost most of us lost our voices.
We witnessed incredible and inspiring speeches, like Alison Levine’s about transformational leadership, drawing parallels between her climbing experiences and business world. We also learned more about the academic calendar and how our first year would be like.
Obviously, we had awesome parties, which will be hard to forget, especially the Super Hero and the 80s parties, awesome!
Section Olympics was awesome, having competitions as varied as scavenger hunt, Duke Trivia, arm wrestling, limbo contest, and many more. Each competition was more fun than the previous one, but the climax came with the dance competition. Fuqua also has talent! My section decided to dance Aqua’s Barbie Girl, the performance was fantastic! Finally, my section made it 4th. Some of us are already thinking how to win Section Olympics next year, as many of us want to be part of the Orientation Team.
Orientation was really intense, fun and touching. For me it was more than just the beginning of my MBA. It helped me reaffirm my beliefs that being a student at Fuqua represents a great commitment to my classmates, to Fuqua, our community, and the rest of the world.
Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ve been really lucky with the team I got: four Americans and one Indian. I will talk about them in my next post!