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November 3, 2016

Taking MBA Student Leadership Abilities to New Heights



Chris Small and other Master of Business Administration Program students test leadership skills through a ropes course as part of the MBA Leadership training event hosted by Odyssey Teams, Inc, on Friday, September 16, 2016 in Paradise, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)
Chris Small makes the leap from a 60' telephone pole as part of the MBA Leadership training event.

A group of about 25 Chico State MBA students gathered together for a leadership training course in Paradise, California, on September 16, 2016. The MBA students faced daring heights as their leadership and team-building skills were challenged through a ropes course designed to test their individual and collaborative confidence. MBA Director Matt Meuter partnered with Lain Hensley from Odyssey Teams Inc., to give MBA students a real-world learning experience while challenging them in ways not taught in the classroom.

“It is an exercise Odyssey Teams has developed as a way to get the students out of the classroom, for a different type of learning experience,” explained Meuter. The challenge gave the students the opportunity to do something ambitious and demanding that relies on the help of others during the process—none of the activities in the ropes course were done alone.

Xeng Thao (left) and Omkar Sali (right) trust each other as they walk across a high wire as Master of Business Administration Program students test leadership skills through a ropes course as part of the MBA Leadership training event hosted by Odyssey Teams, Inc, on Friday, September 16, 2016 in Paradise, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Xeng Thao (left) and Omkar Sali (right) trust each other as they walk across a high wire for the "Flying V" challenge. 

Students braved the climb up a 60-foot telephone pole and jumped from the top to grab hold of a bar just out of reach. It was an exercise that according to Meuter “can only be done with the encouragement and motivation of their peers.” Another challenge called the “flying V exercise” forced partners to lean on each other while balancing on a thin cable 50 feet in the air.  The exercise illustrated that without full commitment, trust and dedication to your joint success, the partners could not succeed. In both experiences, students were supported by a team on the ground using both verbal encouragement and managing the safety lines.   

Meuter noted that while the fear of heights is one of the most common fears, he is always surprised by what the students can accomplish when they face their fears and work together. One of the participating MBA students, Jenni Lee, said, “The exercise really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me develop as a leader by showing me that even though the activities may have seemed individual, we really had to work as a team for everyone to succeed.”

The activities were a great way to connect MBA students with each other early on this program. The MBA program is challenging, so getting students out of the classroom and connected with each other can aid them tremendously throughout the program.

Maya Grunder (center) and other Master of Business Administration Program students test leadership skills through a ropes course as part of the MBA Leadership training event hosted by Odyssey Teams, Inc, on Friday, September 16, 2016 in Paradise, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

MBA students encourage each other as part of the MBA leadership training event. 

“Of the day, it was evident that each of us was confronting something; I confronted my fear of failure,” said participating MBA student Leslie Amani. “I was moved by how generously we all encouraged and connected with one another, and these supportive character attributes have continued back into our MBA classes. This event was an incredible gift to us and a highlight of my semester.”

“The activities are a great parallel for many business-related activities they will do throughout their career,” said Meuter. “It can be completely terrifying to put yourself out there, but when you trust yourself and rely on the support systems around you, amazing things can happen.”


Faculty  Matt Meuter climbs up a tree to walk across a high-wire as Master of Business Administration Program students test leadership skills through a ropes course as part of the MBA Leadership training event hosted by Odyssey Teams, Inc, on Friday, September 16, 2016 in Paradise, Calif.  (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

MBA Director Matt Meuter.

Matt Meuter
College of Business
530-898-4820
www.csuchico.edu/mba 
mba@csuchico.edu