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:
Brent Burger, Online Class 31
At first there was some nervousness - meeting numerous people for the first time, embarking on a rigorous journey, uncertainty, etc. However, as soon as the very first ice breaker at breakfast I felt instantly more comfortable for what was ahead. The team-building events like the mini escape room challenge with trivia and more were fun, and throughout the first day we started working in groups and slowly became familiar with one another.
A key interaction for me was an exercise where we teamed-up with one other to share a significant event in our lives. I found that my teammates and I had a lot more in common than I would have ever imagined. It was a moment that started to solidify trust among us. We exchanged phone numbers and started a group text session shortly thereafter.
Team building activities deepened our trust and gave us a very good idea of how we'd like to work together. They also highlighted the fact that there is strength in teams - they can accomplish so much more than individual efforts. Connections were also made by listening to one another's views and stories during the Ethics class. I think this was another great idea - to have time devoted to class participation even though we would be primarily working together online.
The social events were great with two dinners (and of course wine) to help us wind down after a series of action-packed days. It was a fabulous time to relax a bit and engage in great conversation. We ate, we drank, and we continued to bond over bowling and other games. I was amazed at the skill level of our team.
It was honestly a wonderful experience for us. There were so many things that were done perfectly which really made us feel welcomed and comfortable.
Nisha Gurung, Online Class 31
Where do I start? Initially, I expected this to be like any other orientation experience, with a general introduction to the classes and program, but instead it turned out to be an unexpected and fun 3 days that I will always remember. When they tell you that this is a unique program and great investment for enhancing your career, it's true.
For me, the best part of the orientation was meeting my classmates. Going through this experience in this small, intimate group gave us the opportunity to connect from the very first day. Before joining the program, I always heard how your team and classmates will become your family and believe me when I say that every bit of that is true for even the most introverted person.
I'm writing this post in my second week and I’m already very close with my team as well as my other classmates. We of course work together on team assignments, but my classmates go above and beyond to check in on how I'm getting by with my personal work too. My classmates have shown me such consideration even beginning on day one of Orientation when we were challenged to various teambuilding games. They were thoughtful of the fact that I'm not from the U.S. and made every effort for me to understand the clue or phrase of the game. My team ended up winning, I think much in part to this team effort.
Orientation brings the students together, builds strong relationships, and helps you really set the basis for the teamwork that you will utilize throughout the entire program. I truly cannot wait for the international trip just to see them all in person again.
After my 3 day "vacation" from my work, I returned already feeling like a different person and more aware of what I wanted for the future.
Ben Jacobs, Online Class 31
Orientation was an intense experience, but it really helped me get ready for the start of the program. It just immerses you in the EMBA program right away. The days are very long, but very productive. There's nothing I would have cut out to make them shorter. The team-building activities, both during the day and at the dinners, helped to build relationships very quickly. Having an in-person class to start the program was a treat, and it felt really important to start meeting with your team in person before shifting to the online format.
The support from faculty and staff throughout the three days was great and gave me confidence that I wasn't on my own going into this. I thought orientation did a great job of finding a balance between being fun and challenging. It could have felt overwhelming, but I found myself feeling very motivated at the end.
Read more reflections and perspectives from our past orientation experiences:
- 2021 Orientation - A Cultural Approach to Developing Relationships
- On Campus Orientation - Three Action Packed Days