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September 29, 2017

MBA Leadership Training Places Emphasis on the Importance of Teamwork

A group of 22 Chico State MBA faculty, staff, and students posing for a photo during their team and leadership building course.

A group of 22 Chico State MBA faculty, staff, and students gathered together for a leadership training course in Paradise, California, on September 22, 2017. 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.

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.   

A close up of MBA student climbing to daring heights at almost 60 feet.

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.

 “This experience gave me the confidence to handle any task put in front of me.  If I can climb a pole 60 feet above the ground, I can do anything!” said Francisco Garcia, one of the participating MBA students. 

The activities were a great way to connect MBA students with each other early on in 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.

MBA students gather around fellow student and place their hands encouragingly on his shoulder before they lift him up in the ropes course task.

“The leadership event was a one of a kind experience for me. It opened doors to new horizons during my first semester in the MBA program and taught me how values like teamwork, self-control, and team engagement plays a huge role in our success,” said first semester international MBA student Kunal Bhavsar. “It boosted my confidence throughout the semester where overcoming challenges is common.  This day helped me to learn lessons about how to build trust, work as a unit, and take some risks in life.”

“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.”

Matt Meuter
MBA Director, College of Business