Prologue

Prologue: It’s about Teamwork

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.

Karen Bonner,
MBA ’13
Oregon Ducks Football

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Prologue: Soaking It In

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!

Jessica Zutz
MBA ’13

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Prologue: More than the Sum of Its Parts

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.

Jessica Zutz
MBA ’13

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Describe Your Closet

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
JD/MBA ’13

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Of Nerves and a “Coconut”

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
JD/MBA ’13

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Win the Day: MBA Prologue Day 1

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.

Green & Yellow DucksThe “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!

~Katrina

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Class of 2012’s Final Prologue Presentations

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.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Rafting Signals End of Prologue

We left the classroom behind – trading in our shirts and ties for wet gear – and made haste for the white water rapids of the MacKenzie River today. It was the last day of prologue, and we were about to celebrate by throwing ourselves down a freezing river torrent on top of inflated urethane boats.

Truth be told, the horror stories we’d heard from last year’s group had many anticipating a miserable event, but thankfully those conditions didn’t present themselves today. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with a temperature of 75 degrees, and the water was a chilly, but not unbearable 55.

The day offered its fair share of excitement, too.  The water fights started early, the day was split by a great lunch along the river, and we saved the best rapids for last.

At one point, the lead group even lost two of its crew into Martin’s Rapid as the boat hit a large rock and nearly capsized. The skill of the boat leader allowed the crew to stay upright and round up their members out of the water before anything serious happened. In the end, it turned out to be one hell of a story for the ride home.

So, now that prologue is officially over, we’ve got a long weekend to relax before it’s back to work next week with the real thing – accounting, finance, marketing, management and org. behaviour, and statistical decision making.

I think I’ll spend my weekend catching up on my sports (MMA in particular), but also some college football – including, of course, the Ducks game on Saturday against #6 ranked California.

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Communication

If I’ve learned one thing about the MBA program over the last two weeks, it’s that communication skills are absoultely critical. I can’t – we can’t – survive without them.

We have essentially spent our entire prologue orientation working on improvisation, critical thinking, and presentation skills – all of which came to a head today with the presentation of our final 25 minute case study on P&G in China.

The case itself focused upon P&G’s luxury skin care brand, SK-II, and the specific troubles it had in the Chinese market circa 2006. While not a tremendously difficult case study – it lacked any and all financials, thankfully…as those are quite laborious – it dealt with a lot of the more abstract and soft topic issues that frequently crop up within upper management decision making.

After working the better part of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on the case, we presented our solution to a panel of judges posing as P&G executives. It was an opportunity to simulate real work pressure and re-introduce many of us to the case study teaching method that so many MBA courses subscribe to these days.

The presentation aspect also provided us with the chance to practice our oral communication skills, and build our confidence for the semester. I can only speak for myself in saying that I really enjoyed the presentation aspect. I’m not sure that speaking on cosmetics is really my thing, but it was all the more challenging as a result.

In the end, I was also very lucky to work with three outstanding people – Orit Ofri, Doug Anderson, and Taggart White – and it was truly a pleasure to share the experience with them.

So…prologue is pretty much over now. We’ve got a variety of house-keeping issues tomorrow morning, and will be following it up with some OMBA Center lectures tomorrow afternoon (SAC, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Warsaw).

Then, on Friday, we’re heading up to the MacKenzie River for some white water rafting. I come from the prairies and we don’t have anything like that, so I’m really excited to get out of the class and hit the rapids!

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student

Don’t Ever Be Late…

I walked into the first lecture on Wednesday morning 10 minutes late – a lecture on professionalism in the academic setting no less. Sweet.

Nice work, Kelsey!

Talk about a great start to the more serious side of OMBA prologue. The best advice I heard all morning came from the Head of the Leadership and Communication Center, Anne Forrestel: “get over it!”

Thanks, Anne.

Anyways, in the following two days we’d go on to spend the better part of each 8-5 in the classroom going over teamwork drills, presentation skills, persuasive writing workshops, and case study analysis tools. We were then split into 13 case analysis teams of four students each, and given two case studies on Procter & Gamble’s cosmetics exploits in Asia.

The first case study was assigned on Thursday and due Friday morning. It only required a small 5-7 presentation, but we took it quite seriously considering that it was more or less a trial run in anticipation of the second, much larger case that was to come next week.

My group’s presentation went well enough, and was just about what I expected from a team that was given very little time to develop any chemistry or cohesiveness. It definitely gave us the opportunity to form a bit of that chemistry, and certainly also work on our presentation skills.

The analysis and presentation weren’t an overwhelming amount of work, but by the end of the week I think everyeone within the program was more than happy to trade in their dress shoes for a pair of work boots, and hike up to Mount Pisgah for an afternoon of community service.

Moreover, I think everyone was just happy that the weekend had finally arrived. It was time for some much needed R&R, a little tailgating, and a lot of football.

Tomorrow, it’s Oregon vs. Utah. Go Ducks!!

Written by grimstad@uoregon.edu

Senior Honors Business Student