A new experiential learning program for first-year Broad MBAs builds leadership skills in an intensive three-day program. BroadWeek brings all first-year MBA student teams together at Michigan State University’s Henry Center for Executive Development where they work with the leadership training company Humanergy as well as representatives from top companies.
During the program in mid-October, all 18 first-year teams went through a series of challenges that tested their teamwork and leadership skills in a competitive environment.
“Employers always emphasize how important it is to teach our MBAs to work as part of a team,” says Dale Wilson, the faculty director for BroadWeek. “Everything in the business world is done in teams with people from different disciplines. That’s the environment we’ve created in the Broad College and BroadWeek takes that even further.”
David Wheatley, the principal of Humanergy, led the teams through a series of exercises. The goal was to provide teams with a practical, fun experience that builds on what they learn in the classroom.
One of the challenges the teams tackled involved putting on a trade show using only basic presentation materials and a booth and selling their team’s strengths to their peers in the program, which were judged by a panel of representatives from GM, Deloitte, Cisco, P3, and Whirlpool. One of the teams played up their flexibility since its members come from diverse backgrounds, with individuals from three different countries, some with children and spouses.
Another challenge provided teams with a box of paper clips they had to use as currency to trade up for goods or services in the community. The winning team worked with area restaurants and businesses to collect $750 worth of gift certificates and products they then raffled off during the event.
“These students have been working for six intensive weeks so far in the program with their noses to the grindstone,” says Wheatley. “BroadWeek was a chance for Humanergy to work with them to build on how they collaborate, make make-or-break decisions, and do the right thing for an organization. These are skills employers are looking for. I had a blast watching them and at the end of the day I had a big smile on my face.”