Surprises during MIT Sloan Orientation

We concluded orientation for the MBA program last week – four days of a packed schedule getting to know our classmates and the program. At the beginning of orientation, I did not have many pre-formed expectations for the week but I did think it might be a lot of cheesy bonding activities, obligatory trust falls and awkward introductions. What the week ended up being instead was very different. Here are my top surprise takeaways from MIT Sloan Orientation.

  • How great it felt being away from my phone. In keeping with Sloan values, we did not have our phones or electronic devices turned on during the different classes and formal sessions. I was surprised at how much I valued that norm, especially as someone that always had their phone on them. I actively started implementing that rule not just in class but also in between sessions, while meeting new classmates. Prior to orientation, I spent a weekend with classmates rafting and camping in Maine – also without access to technology – and it ended up being an incredibly rewarding experience.
  • At the same time, I don’t think I could’ve anticipated the number of Whatsapp, Slack, email and Facebook notifications I would be flooded with when I was looking at my phone. These messages included everything from classmates helping each other figure out course registration or parking spots to discussing 30th birthday plans for someone in the class. #sloanieshelpingsloanies
  • Learning a chant for my cohort (Baltic) that includes the words “Winter is coming.” I won’t go into too many more details, but not being a “Game of Thrones” viewer, I can only imagine we are warning the Sloan community of the brutal Boston winter ahead!
  • The emphasis on leadership and teaming the events during orientation had. I spent a considerable amount of time thinking and reflecting on my leadership style and how I worked in teams, which will be valuable as we balance multiple group-based action-learning projects this semester.
  • Similarly, I genuinely appreciated the focus on having a growth mindset (based on Carol Dweck’s research) as a leader that Sloan instills in us. We discussed the future of jobs and preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet, which requires cultivating a mindset that is readily responsive to a rapidly changing world economy.
  • The level to which I trusted my core team (group of 7 first year students within cohorts) less than 24 hours of being introduced to them. I felt comfortable doing things I haven’t done before (e.g., being blindfolded or climbing a giant ladder in the woods) and relying on them to literally have my back. The program did a great job in facilitating the ease with which we were able to successfully learn about our core teams and launch them.

    Cohort members climbing the Giant's Ladder during orientation

    Cohort members climbing the Giant’s Ladder

  • The time we spent talking about our values and how they will impact businesses. I saw it tie back to Sloan’s mission statement and the school’s genuine desire to help mold a specific kind of leader – one that I identify with. For example, we played the “beer game” led by systems dynamics professor John Sterman, and discussed  implications of employees displaying selfish behavior in a business and stressed on the value of adopting a systems-wide approach in evaluating business operations.

    Sloanies during the beer game

    Sloanies during the beer game

  • How fun it was meeting everyone. It felt really exciting getting to know all the other people in the program. As I walk around Central and Kendall and run into classmates or their significant others, it represents a great moment of reconnecting with friends.

Mallimalika Gupta

Malli is a first-year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to Sloan, she worked as a consultant with PwC in New York City focused on strategy, innovation and program design in digital health. At Sloan, she will focus on technology-based innovation and consumer-centric product design within companies. Malli enjoys dancing, reading, looking at cute pets on Instagram, comedy, trying different kinds of food and travel.


1 Comment

  1. “The level to which I trusted my core team”
    Pretty inspiring thing and alot of trust and knowledge in this post to share and apply in life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *