Blog: The “Quest” of Orientation



March 15, 2012

There are plenty of things to be nervous about when on the verge of a completely new experience. The very fact that things are unknown to you can cause uncertainty. Like any “born-again” freshman (first year graduate student, get it?), I was anxious to find all of my textbooks, understand my graduate professors’ expectations, and navigate my way to classes on time. All things considered, I was most anxious about orientation. I considered this four-day period to be the lasting first impression on my new professors, MBA staff, future colleagues and classmates.

Virginia Tech has a very unique orientation program.

Orientation events include several informative sessions, including second-year students sharing stories with us through a useful question-and-answer panel. First-year professors visited us during lunch to introduce themselves and discuss performance expectations for MBAs. Alumni gave insight for us to see their career impacts of a Virginia Tech MBA.

In my opinion, Friday of the orientation was the best day of the week. First-year students were divided into teams and encountered a series of challenges, called Quest. Quest dares students to assume leadership roles and be part of a team with fellow first-years. The challenges are designed to encourage trust amongst the team, set goals and communicate trial and error to complete the given task. The goal of Quest is to enable “new students to get to know one another in a fun and supportive atmosphere and to promote creative problem-solving and team-building skills,” says Barry O’Donnell, associate director of the Pamplin MBA Program.

My favorite challenge is the “Spider Web.” The objective of this challenge is to get the entire team through a spider’s web, without waking the “evil creature” up. It took several brainstorming ideas and unsuccessful tries (yes, there were a few “causalities”) until we figured out the correct way to get everyone across safely. My group really bonded together during this challenge because we did fail a few times. It was the collaboration of suggestions and teamwork that enabled us to get to the other side.

Barry is an awesome member of the MBA staff and the leader of Quest. He organizes the entire Quest program and trains second-year MBA students to serve as facilitators for the day – I’ll be one of those second-years helping out our new first-years… hopefully that includes you!

It’s very important to note that I’ve decided to give back to the program because I’m so happy with what the program has done for me. I look forward to our Friday afternoon training sessions for Quest because I’m excited for the new crop of MBA’s to carry on our program. I hope you are one of the nervous, anxious, but – most importantly – excited, MBA candidates in August doing the same challenges on Quest Friday as I have done, and all of the great MBA Hokies before us!

Check out more Quest and Orientation photos in our Facebook album online. Note: You must be signed into Facebook.


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