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Release: Aug. 13, 1999

New UI MBA students team up during IMPACT week

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Faced with challenges such as writing a complex business plan to learning business lunch etiquette, first-year University of Iowa MBA students will learn the value of teamwork in the business world during IMPACT Week 1999.

Starting Aug. 16, some 93 first-year MBA students new to the Henry B. Tippie School of Management will participate in IMPACT, which stands for Involvement, Motivation, Professionalism, Achievement, Challenge, and Teamwork. IMPACT is the orientation for the MBA program.

Team building activities are a key component of the week, and include running the High Adventure Challenge Course at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area north of Iowa City on Wednesday, Aug. 18. Student teams will also present a case study to local business leaders and top executives from Sprint to conclude the week on Aug. 20.

Jeff Emrich, coordinator of IMPACT 1999, says the week's events are designed to help students learn what will be expected of them in the MBA program. The activities also allow students to get to know each other, and to become acquainted with the resources and support available at the Tippie School of Management.

"It's more than orientation," Emrich said. "IMPACT week introduces them to the program, and also gives them new skills they will need to be successful in the MBA program and in their future careers."

At the start of IMPACT week, the MBA students are assigned to work in teams, bringing together individual skills and experiences that can benefit the entire group. The students stay in these groups for the first year of their studies. Students from 14 countries are represented in the on-campus, full time MBA class.

The teams learn cooperation through several activities, such as the High Adventure Challenge Course, a series of high and low obstacles carefully placed in an outdoor environment. By overcoming both physical and emotional obstacles, participants build self-confidence and group trust.

On Thursday, a mock business luncheon is scheduled in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Led by a representative from At Ease, a business protocol consulting firm, students will learn how to communicate in an informal setting without committing a social faux pas or two. The students will have some interesting food situations to contend with, such as eating a messy plate of sauce-covered pasta without spotting your tie or blouse, or how to properly eat a salad laced with unpitted olives and huge cherry tomatoes.

In a diversity training session, the students will learn how to work with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

The students will also face real-world business challenges, such as preparing a case study about development of new corporate and consumer markets for Sprint Internet services. At the end of the week, students make presentations to a "board of directors," which includes area business leaders and five Sprint executives.

IMPACT week includes presentations from Jerre Stead, chairman and CEO of Ingram Micro Inc., and Paul Buchanan, vice president of Sprint, who will share their experiences in the business world.

Kathie Decker, director of MBA Career Services, will encourage the students to focus on career tracks and internship possibilities even as they enter the MBA program. Other sessions include diversity and career training.

On Monday teams will get a lesson in new product development. They will be given a package of materials such as drinking straws to build a device to break the fall of an egg from the second floor Galleria of the Pappajohn Business Building.

Most IMPACT Week activities are in the Pappajohn Business Building, except as noted. For more information about IMPACT week, contact Emrich at (319) 335-1042.