Executive MBA Program Blog

Immersive Orientation Experience - January 2022

Posted by Jessica Serpe on Jan 25, 2022 1:02:32 PM


Twice a year, RIT hosts an immersive EMBA Orientation experience on campus. For 3 full days, our newest cohorts bond with their classmates through teambuilding and dinner events, dive into their first courses, and jumpstart their EMBA experience. In August we welcome both an online and on campus cohort, and in January we have an additional online start. We hear time and again, especially from our online students, that this opportunity to connect in person before starting the program is an invaluable way to promote growth, trust, and excitement across the cohort. Students often note how remarkable it is that they arrive to campus as strangers, and leave with the bond of close friends or even family.

But don't just take our word for it; read below to hear from three students who are hot off the press from this year's January Orientation experience:

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Topics: higher education, online learning, residency, Experiential Learning, Executive MBA

International Trip 2021 to Panama City, Panama

Posted by Jessica Serpe on Oct 26, 2021 10:42:50 AM


Each year, three EMBA cohorts embark on a 10 day journey together to a new country to learn about the international business climate first hand from industry leaders. This year's trip was one for the record books, with a total of 52 travelers including On Campus Class 28, Online Classes 28 & 29, and a group of EMBA alum who couldn't wait to experience the trip after being unable to travel in 2020 due to COVID restrictions.

Although each trip takes place in a new location each year, the focus remains the same: immerse students in the international business world and local culture, connect each team with a company for the international consulting project, and solidify the bonds that students have built throughout the program.

Panama proved to be the perfect location for this year's trip. Students learned about international finance, global supply chain, and various other local industries through business visits to the Panama Canal, Colon Free Trade Zone, and Panama Pacifico to name a few. They enjoyed unique cultural experiences like touring the Embera Village and meeting its indigenous people, cheering on Panama and the USA during the world cup qualifying match, and ziplining through the rainforest. They bonded with their teammates, cohorts, other classes and alumni over rooftop dinners and karaoke. 

These stories are best told from the students who experienced it all themselves; read below to hear from six students who left Panama with stories to tell:

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Topics: international, global

2021 Orientation - A Cultural Approach To Developing Relationships

Posted by Jessica Serpe on Aug 26, 2021 12:21:18 PM


Executive MBA Orientation

For three action packed days, our newest cohort made up of both Online and On Campus students met face to face to kick-off their Executive MBA experience.

Orientation is so much more than a simple meet and greet. Students learn the ins and outs of the program that lies ahead, but their experience goes far beyond that. They participate in multiple team building events including an escape room designed just for them. They receive their team assignments and begin work on the contract that will be the glue that holds their team together throughout the entirety of the program. They take an entire 1-credit Ethics course. They wine and dine, and continue to solidity their bonds into the evenings. Hear about the transformational experience first hand from three of our newest Executive MBA students who started their journeys earlier this month.

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Topics: online learning, Experiential Learning, Executive MBA

EMBA Globe Trotting Again in 2021

Posted by Jeff Davis on Aug 2, 2021 1:53:48 PM

This Year's International Destination Announced

The Executive MBA international experience is more than an international trip. Traveling with all three cohorts, you are immersed in the culture of a new city, where traditions and general business practices may seem unusual or even exotic. That is one of the exact reasons we select the locations we do — to create a transformative experience for our EMBA students. In addition to company visits, tours, and presentations from senior management, your team will serve as a consultant to an international organization, applying your knowledge and expertise to a specific client project. This trip is like none you have experienced before. 

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Topics: international, strategy, Experiential Learning

Into the Octagon: My EMBA Virtual Orientation Experience

Posted by Scott Garsed-Donnelly on Jan 19, 2021 1:24:56 PM


An Orientation Via Zoom - I'm Skeptical!

I really didn’t know what to expect from our three-day orientation session in advance of starting Class 29 of RIT’s Online EMBA program. I think so many of us – especially this past year – have sat through mind-numbingly long Zoom meetings, where you’re writing email and chatting online with colleagues about how you’d rather be watching paint dry than be here right now, all the while trying to keep at least a tiny part of your brain focused on the proceedings. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was worried that the next 20+ hours might end up like that, too. But given where we are in our global struggle with COVID, it makes perfect sense that what would normally be an in-person experience in Rochester would have to happen online. So I fretted a bit, prepared myself for the inevitable, and waited.

When my iPad and swag box showed up from RIT, it definitely raised my excitement level; everyone likes two Christmases so close together! So many great things in the shipment, and the book aimed at spouses and partners was a thoughtful, kind approach – being part of program that understands that this experience (and the workload that comes with it) affects everyone in the house set a great tone for my wife and me.

Then it was Wednesday morning, bright and early here in Mountain time. Coffee’d up, ready to go, and something felt… different. Sixteen strangers from around the globe (literally, this time), at first all just staring at each other through our webcams. But then, we started talking. First, as we were getting organized, then in Zoom chat while our moderators were moving things along, and then eventually in Slack over the course of the three days, we continued talking, sharing, and getting to know each other. Sharing our excitement and hesitations, our worries about numbers and schedules, our kids and our pets. It felt easy to talk with all these people – to laugh, and be nervous and confused, all at the same time. 



From conversation, to exercise, to breakout room, I think we could feel the group really gelling. Our Team Building + Ethics class that filled two hours of each day got our brains readjusting to thinking like students again, wrestling with tough questions while scribbling notes. Spending time with faculty in small groups gave us the chance to chat with them as people and partners, and hearing alumni validate our fears while talking us through their tips and tricks for program success put a friendly and successful face on our 17-month trek ahead.

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Topics: online learning, Experiential Learning, Executive MBA

Welcome to Your 100% Virtual Orientation...This is Your New 2-Dimensional Family!

Posted by Kelly Fidler on Jan 19, 2021 12:56:37 PM


How Powerful Can a Virtual Orientation Really Be?

When I first applied to the EMBA program at RIT, I knew it was the right fit for my busy working life, because I could complete the entire program online from the comfort of my home, or whatever hotel room I’d be hunkered down in on another business trip. There was the minor inconvenience of a global pandemic raging while I completed my application, but I was confident I’d meet the students and faculty in the New Year in person to kick off this next exciting chapter in my life. Little did I know I wouldn’t take another business trip, nor would I grace the halls of RIT before embarking on this journey.

We rang in the New Year hopeful for vaccines and freedom from lockdown, and before we knew it our Orientation Week was finally upon us. Despite having more than 10 months under our pandemic belts at this point, the surge persisted and we were forced to remain completely virtual. So many questions entered my mind.

Would a virtual Orientation even work?

Can you even make meaningful team connections without ever shaking a hand or laying eyes on someone?

Will I make any friends?

Can we possibly endure another 3 full days on Zoom?


Day 1

Day One of Orientation came bright and early for me on the West Coast, leaving me grateful for the short commute to my kitchen for coffee. Little did I know I’d be the rookie time zone warrior in our cohort, as colleagues soon dialed in from as far away as India and Uganda. With smiles and nervous excitement, we began Day One of the next year and a half of our lives.

We spent the better part of the day getting to know one another as a broader group and with 1:1 conversations before getting a chance to meet our smaller team. Jeff, Lauren, Emilee, and Jessica were fantastic facilitators, and in between finding fun ways to have us interact and getting us to journal our thoughts, they took time to field our many questions and familiarize us with the program flow team cohort structure. Dean Mozrall joined in to welcome us to the program, and we got a sneak peek into the concept of transactive memory, and how this collective memory would help steer our team’s success throughout the program.

After what was undoubtedly the fastest 8 hours of Zoom I have participated in to date, we closed our screens on a great first day, excited for what Day Two would bring.

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Topics: online learning, Experiential Learning, Executive MBA