Looking at the hordes of students wandering around campus serves as a reminder that Prologue (and all delicious food it came with) is over. Thanks to an intensive, jam-packed and rewarding two weeks, the newest cohort at the OMBA program could not be more ready to begin the newest chapter of our lives. In addition to equipping us with the knowledge to transition properly into an MBA program, Prologue gave this years’ first years an incredible opportunity to get to know each other well before tackling this transition. To Rebecca Monro, Lori Abrams, Perri McGee, Holly Coble, James Chang, Jessica Best, our other professors, staff and volunteers: thank you for taking the time to make our lives THAT much easier. Refresher courses in accounting and statistics were probably not on everyone’s wish list, but they are currently invaluable as each and everyone of us continues our re-adjustment to thinking like a student. Thank you for conducting resume and professionalism workshops with us, so that we don’t have to learn MBA conduct by making a mistake first. Thanks for introducing us to our peers and alumni well before class, for teaching us how to work in a team and most importantly, for teaching us proper water fight etiquette on the perilous (a.k.a frigid) waters of the McKenzie River.
As a result, we are that much better prepared for the rigors of a graduate business program. Not only educationally or professionally, but with the comfort and relationships between our newfound peers made possible through two weeks of Prologue. If the frequency of questions concerning our two weeks (from 2nd years, faculty & staff) is any indicator, it is that Prologue means a lot to LCB and that its significance will continue to grow. Reflecting on these two jam-packed weeks reveals that it served a tremendous purpose in bringing our class (and our future network) together. Even though the individual goals of this network vary, our desire for success is collective and Prologue allowed for us to attack this objective as a cohort from the get-go. The logistics and stress behind moving to a new city and enrolling in post-graduate education are tough enough on their own – I’d hate to have had to add 36 awkward introductions on day 1 to that list. Once again, a big thanks to everyone who made this year’s Prologue possible, we look forward to witnessing bigger and better ones in the future!
-Ron Li, Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, Class of 2014
Prologue — it was a complete mystery to me before starting this program unique to the University of Oregon. What did these two weeks have in store for me?
Well, before I can elaborate on that, I should introduce myself. My name is Paul. I was born and raised in Northern California and lived most recently in San Francisco, where I was working as a Software Engineer at a Y Combinator startup called Heyzap. My undergraduate degree was in Mathematics, and I got that degree from Purdue University in Indiana. While both my trade and my academic history helped me develop strong analytical abilities, I felt a burning desire to be an innovator. Before I could achieve my goal of becoming a successful innovator, I knew that I had to develop myself as a business person.
As I’ve always had a secret love for the Pacific Northwest and also because there are many exciting things going on here at the moment, I knew that an Oregon MBA would provide me not only with the knowledge I needed to innovate, but also with the network and credibility necessary to establish myself quickly in this beautiful part of the country.
The first step to building myself in this program was prologue. Whew! What a whirlwind the first week was. I totally botched an improv activity by misunderstanding the directions, and while I was embarrassed, I knew that the lesson learned (namely, that I need to become a better audial learner) was valuable. And this was just the first day! The rest of the week saw us do multiple presentations, and also form teams for a group presentation, which was a bit choppy but straightforward.
However, the second week was mostly devoted to a big presentation that was to be done in front of many important people in the department. The teams that I talked about earlier were selected on the basis of diversity, and by the time this presentation was being created, I understood the ways in which we were diverse: our personalities! Group work became rough as we realized how different our personalities were (aside from the common “stubborn” trait), but our storming somehow resulted in norming. Reviews of our presentation marked us as having great synergy and seeming like good friends, and we ended up advancing to the finals of the presentation competition. So to recap, you go from not knowing anyone to arguing while developing a competitive presentation to giving as convincing a presentation you can to a large audience within a week and a half… and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
The program ended with a day in Portland. As I am part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track, I was both honored and thrilled about the opportunity to go to the Portland Incubator Experiment’s headquarters, where many budding startups were writing code. While I didn’t see anyone using the best text editor in the world (emacs) I saw a lot of awesome entrepreneurs and coders working hard in developing Portland as a technological hub. Oregon is quite synonymous with innovation, and seeing great coders in Portland makes me very optimistic about what the future holds here in the tech world.
Paul Chun, MBA ’13
Just when I was hoping for a “Prologue taper,” things ramped up.
The end of Prologue seemed to be a never-ending mountain climb. Anticipation began to build on Tuesday as we spent the day preparing for our first major presentation. My group chose not to break for lunch or dinner and instead ordered a pizza for delivery and worked straight through until 9:00 PM. By the end of the day we were completely drained, and I think we determined that a break of any kind might be a wiser practice in the future.
On Wednesday we got to see how nicely we all clean up. We all arrived in our “presentation best” and practiced until the bell tolled for our respective turns to present. The presentations themselves were fabulous. It was evident that every single group poured a lot of time and effort into every word that came out of their mouths. When all was said and done and we had consumed our fair share of Qdoba Mexican food, the winning teams of F (Mike, Mavis, Gary, and Pam), L (Alexandra, Matthijs, and Jeff), and G (myself, Shannon, Paul and Tim) were announced.
The chance to give the presentation a second time was a somewhat welcome opportunity. Welcome because it gave us a chance to fix any mistakes we had made in our first go-around but a bit unwelcome because our brains were completely fried at that point. It was fun, though, to be in a big lecture hall with so many people, pretending we were making a $10 million presentation. When all was said and done, Team L took first prize, Team F followed in second, and Team G rounded out the top three. All of the teams were jubilant and should be proud and excited for the two years that lie ahead of us.
The mountain climb, it seemed, was finally over. Before we strode out of Lillis to enjoy a pizza party along the river, we were reminded that Thursday was the Portland professional day. Each of the centers would be visiting with various companies in Portland in order to glimpse the connections the Lundquist College of Business has, but also more importantly to showcase the alumni success and network in the Portland area. The 7:00 AM departure from Eugene was going to be rough, and so, the climb wasn’t over yet.
Jess Zutz Hilbert
The first week of Prologue had it all. From a tutorial on case analysis, to a networking workshop, to community service trail-building at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, we had a busy and engaging introduction to the Oregon MBA. The week definitely ended on a high note, as we spent Friday rafting the McKenzie River, a true introduction to the natural beauty and outdoor opportunities of Oregon for our incoming class. Activities continued this weekend as many of us attended the second home football game for the Ducks–a decisive 56-7 victory over Missouri State.
It’s hard to believe that a week ago I was looking forward to starting Prologue and nervous about meeting my cohort. Reflecting on the past week, I am impressed and inspired by my fellow students, and I can’t wait to get to know them more during our second week of Prologue.
A little about me: I’m a Eugene, Oregon, native, although I attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, and worked at an accounting firm in Los Angeles before returning to Eugene to pursue the Oregon MBA and enjoy the rainy weather. At the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, I hope to gain skills and experience that will help me transition to a career in event management or marketing.
From the first week of Prologue, I can tell that learning how to effectively work in a team setting will be a cornerstone of the Oregon MBA experience. We received our team assignments for our case presentations next week, and we will continue to work in these groups over the first term of classes. Understanding how to perform well in a team will undoubtedly help us in our future careers, although I can tell that we’ll put these skills to use in the short-term in the form of frequent pickup softball, football, and basketball games. Experiential learning? Here we come.
Though the work week officially ended on Thursday, our cohort had some very important business to take care of on Friday–tackling the McKenzie River. The annual Oregon MBA raft trip began with high expectations on Wednesday. All of the groups were paired off and tasked with embodying a movie from a list of selected classic movies provided by Perri. The winner would win a fantastic mystery prize. We were handed a blank white corrugated plastic sign to decorate and told we could spent no more than $5 on props. And just like that, the creative wheels were turning.
The movies chosen were Terminator, Robin Hood Men in Tights, The Godfather (my boat), Jaws, and Star Wars. As we walked into the Grad Lounge on Friday morning for some coffee, most groups (with the exception of mine) had really creative and awesome signs ranging from superimposed images of the group members on Star Wars characters to a fake hand in the jaws of Jaws. For us, The Godfather would become “The Gangfather” and we recreated the logo on our sign just before we left Lillis and boarded our bus.
At the river edge, a brief safety talk was highlighted by the fact that the water temperature was 43 degrees Fahrenheit. I shivered just at the thought of standing near the river, and made it my goal to avoid the water at all costs. As a cohort, we decided that we were going to stay mostly dry for the first leg of the float down the river because the air temperature wasn’t much higher than the water.
Naturally, the second you put a paddle in any grad student’s hand and push them on a raft into the river, his or her first instinct is to splash the person in the nearest boat. So we were all dry for exactly six minutes.
The Gangfather boat certainly stayed in character as we bounced around the river soaking as many boats as we could. Our guide, Jerry, offered a plethora of advice for firing our water cannons and proper usage of the bailers. In fact, our boat literally had several lines of attack. The front two people bailed water at the opposition as fast as possible, the second two behind them fired the water cannons, and the four people in the back were tasked with paddling to maneuver us away from situations should they turn awry. Mixed between all the water fights, we cruised through some fun Class 2 and Class 3 rapids and certainly took on our fair share of frigid water in the process.
At lunch the Gangfather boat took home the gold in the boat theme competition and by that point, every single other boat (with the exception of the designated dry boat) seemed to gang up on us.
Overall, the cohort had only one person go overboard completely unintentionally (Mitzi- you were such a trooper!), and so I’d say our casualties were low. We had a great time on Friday, but the bus ride home was pretty quiet as we reflected on the week, or were just drained from the physicality of the day and the afternoon before. I can’t believe that Prologue is more than halfway over. But there is still so much more to come! In the meantime, GO DUCKS!
For some reason, the word of the week this week was gestalt. Mikaela dusted off the word on the first day of Prologue and much to my surprise and delight, Joe used it once again later in the week. Perhaps it will become a game of sorts for our cohort; find a way to fit the word “gestalt” into any classroom conversation at least once a week. Or maybe it will go back into hibernation. It’s anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, it was a particularly relevant word as the second half of the week rolled around. By Thursday, we were all anxious to put some of the skills we had acquired to use. Our groups assembled and gave our first presentations of the year. Though we were dressed in our finest torn up jeans and ratty t-shirts in preparation for our work project that was occur in the latter half of the day, we gave and observed stellar presentations across the board and got feedback on how to take our work to the next level.
After lunch, we loaded into vans and drove to the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum to build a new trail. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we were mostly expecting to be doing simple tasks such as spreading around bark mulch. We were all wrong. Essentially, we became one of the largest, most overqualified work crews Mt. Pisgah has ever seen. We pushed wheelbarrows full of pickaxes, mattocks, and rakes up almost a quarter of a mile and then we set off to hack away blackberry bushes and dig ditches along the side of the trail. It was truly back-breaking labor, and I almost felt like I had more dirt in my shoes than I moved anywhere else.
The highlight of the afternoon, for me at least, was the end when we began to spread gravel on top of the trail bed. The newest guys and gals of Oregon MBA literally ran up a 30 degree incline with wheelbarrows full of gravel so that those less ambitious (myself certainly included) could spread it. We are seriously strong, and strong-willed as a whole, and it was impressive to see our collective physical strength and ambition after having spent the week cooped up in classrooms.
Despite our beliefs during construction that we were all actually mauling and destroying forward progress towards building the trail, I think we all were able to step back at the end of the day with some sense of satisfaction that we made serious progress towards a place the community will truly enjoy. Even if I am still blowing dirt out of my nose several days later. As the sun went down, we left Mt. Pisgah with visions of whitewater dancing in our heads in great anticipation of our rafting trip the following day. And just like that, our fourth day of Prologue was over.
Our second day of Prologue began with a delicious breakfast hosted in the Lillis Atrium, as the misty rain the Pacific Northwest is so famous for literally rained on our outdoor breakfast parade. We were greeted warmly by Dean Kees de Kluyver after our breakfast and heard from a panel of alumni about networking tips. We then practiced those tips over coffee (thank goodness) with other members of our cohort as well as the alums who so graciously offered their time to answer our questions.
During the afternoon, we discussed the results of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality tests we took on the first day. I have to admit, going into today I was completely skeptical about the MBTI. I honestly didn’t see it’s place in the Prologue curriculum, and in addition, I just figured that in the grand scheme of things, the results didn’t matter. I couldn’t be happier that I was proved wrong.
Chuck Kalnbach of Leadership and Communications walked us through what each section of the test meant and then even illustrated with our classmates. He asked some of our classmates simple questions, such as “Describe your closet to us.” I was so surprised to see how responses from some of my classmates were so different and yet so neatly fit into each of these categories, without them even being prompted or instructed to answer in a certain way. Already, after only a few hours, I am a complete believer in the importance of taking and understanding the MBTI and how it can affect group and business dynamics. And to think just a day earlier I thought the whole thing was a waste of time. I suppose that just goes to show you how lucky we are to be attending these daily sessions with the Leadership and Communications faculty. Even the most staunch opposition can be swayed by their methods!
I know that we’re only two days in, but I’m sure the best is yet to come. We’re all beginning to familiarize ourselves with one another and I just can’t believe that people aren’t excited for our upcoming Mt. Pisgah trail adventure on Thursday and our rafting trip on Friday. However it’s time for me now to start another first: a case analysis.
Jessica Zutz Hilbert
After months of Facebook introductions, hours spent reminding myself how to calculate probabilities, and about thirty minutes spent trying to decide what to wear on my first day of business school, I have survived days 1 and 2 of Prologue. Not that I was worried. After all, this is my second orientation in two years and going into today, I already felt like I had a bit of an advantage as I’ve spent the past year familiarizing myself with the ins and outs of Eugene, Oregon.
Let me step back and introduce myself. My name is Jessica and I am a concurrent JD/MBA student just now embarking on the journeys associated with being in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. A (proud) product of Wilmington, Delaware and alum of Stanford University, I came to the University of Oregon a year ago initially drawn to the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. However, my late grandfather’s instructions that I could do whatever I wanted…after I got a law degree, convinced me to start my studies at the School of Law first. I have loved the small size of classes at the law school and am even more excited to be a part of a program where experiential learning is valued and I won’t get lost in cavernous lecture halls where I couldn’t name ten people in the room.
Our first day of Prologue was what one would expect—kind of. The schedule was discussed, the guidelines were established, and we found out that a member of our cohort goes by the nickname “Coconut.” We spent the afternoon participating in a workshop conducted by an improv group called “On Your Feet,” which had me literally in tears of laughter. Brad, Shelley and Daryl walked us through some hilarious comedy, but more importantly, showed us how transferrable some of the pillars of the discipline were essential to a successful career in business. I had an incredible time yesterday and truly learned a great deal from “On Your Feet,” but I also laughed and shared profound and highly personal stories about leadership with my newest colleagues. I’m already impressed with everyone and am sure my esteem will only go up.
At the very end of our day yesterday, our groups were announced. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I was eagerly anticipating this announcement, as we will be working with this group of three other people for the entire quarter. Excitement and relief were my two dominant sentiments after the groups were announced and I think we all left with a strong sense of camaraderie.
Jessica Zutz Hilbert
Note: While second-year MBA students are in China, first-year incoming MBA students are just starting Prologue, an intensive two-weeks for skills and team-building preparing them for the success in the Oregon MBA program. These first-year MBAs are sharing their experiences in real-time on UOBusinessBlogs. Follow the tag “Prologue.”
“Lundquist leadership is being considerate, actively engaged, and inspiring others to grow with you every day.” To wrap up Day One of Prologue, our mini groups were tasked with summarizing the day in 16 words within three quick minutes – each group made a valiant attempt.
After a morning of important speakers from the Lundquist College of Business, each setting a portion of the stage upon which we, as MBA students, will be operating, we enjoyed mingling with our fellow classmates for the first time in the Grad Lounge in Lillis. Food is always a smart way to instigate interaction and Perri, Holly and Misty stepped up with a key deliverable – dessert! In true University of Oregon style, “Duck-ies” were plentiful, in both “day” options – green or yellow. Given that this past Saturday’s Ducks game was a “yellow day” everyone began to mentally prepare his or her “green day” outfits for the upcoming game. Even if we weren’t quick enough to capture our student football ticket for this week, the tailgate atmosphere is worthwhile on its own and given last games’ turn-out, will likely be well attended, regardless of intent to go to the game.
The “On Your Feet” workshop literally got us on our feet interacting with one another on a more personal level. For the rest of the afternoon, Anne left us in the capable hands of the improv (also known as “theatre sports” for those of us in Warsaw who only pay attention to sports-related concepts) folks and Brad, Daryl and Shelley led the way to uncovering insightful leadership stories and our naked coconut, along with many important lessons on how to work well together in a highly effective team.
1. Notice more → be purposeful
2. Be fit and well → positive mantra
3. Be changed by what you hear → re-incorporation
4. Accept all offers → acknowledge it
After a race to the Duck Store to claim our course pack, our class parted, with some favouring Taylor’s, others the tennis courts. As the focus shifts to networking with alumni tomorrow, we read “Shift” as our bedtime story and either dreamt about slimy moss or a beautiful girl named Alexandra!
Wednesday afternoon brought the Oregon MBA’s class of 2012 together for the final case presentations of Prologue. Prologue is a two week orientation for all incoming Oregon MBA’s and it provides a chance to get acquainted with faculty, staff, and fellow students. Each day provides an array of hands on learning exercises culminating with a 15 minute presentation on a global business crisis case study.
For many of the class, this is their first time working on a formal business case and it allows the staff in the Leadership and Communications Center an opportunity to create carefully selected groups of 4 to 5 students with varying backgrounds and experiences that contribute to a solid team experience. More than anything, Prologue gives the incoming MBA’s a chance to bond together and show their skills, experiences, and personalities to each other before they hit the ground running with fall term classes.
This event is the first time groups put together a formal presentation, and they all wrapped up to the sound of applause and cheers. The day concluded at Roaring Rapids in Glenwood for some well deserved pizza, refreshments, and reflections on reaching the first milestone in the Oregon MBA program.
Below are some thoughts from members of the class and Doug Wilson, a Leadership and Communications Center faculty member, on what the experience was like.