Participating in the University at Buffalo’s full-time MBA program was one of the best experiences that I have had in my life thus far.
UB’s full-time MBA program is quite selective; only 90-100 students are accepted each year from across the globe.
As part of the first year of the program, all students are randomly placed into teams of 4 to 5.
At the start of orientation, your team is given a name and a list of activities which must be completed before classes start.
For the first year of the program you and your teammates have identical schedules, and all of your classes have a large team-work component.
You spend more time with your team than virtually anyone else you know.
Over the course of the first year, my team evolved from a group of strangers to a family.
When compared to the other 18 teams, our team was certainly the exception to the rule.
Team Kaleida was a team-centric group who cared more about developing close relationships than we did about getting perfect grades.
Don’t get me wrong, we wanted to do well academically.
However, what set us apart was that we focused more on creating a strong team dynamic, whereas other teams were solely focused on grades.
We immediately recognized that we had a unique opportunity to learn from each others skills, cultures, viewpoints and experiences.
We realized that by developing a strong level of friendship and trust, we had the chance to build life-long friendships that would last far beyond our time as MBA students.
As a member of Team Kaleida, I can confidently say that we were the luckiest team in our graduating class.
Considering our enormously diverse backgrounds (financial, ethnic, religious, etc) we were very lucky to not only share a similar sense of humor, but a similar vision of what we wanted to make of our experience as first-year MBAs.
Our team chemistry was clearly visible; it shined through in our presentations and enabled us to win 3rd place (out of all 18 teams) in the first-year MBA Marketing Competition.
It was our strong team dynamic that enabled us to not only succeed, but to remain friends after “dissembling” as a team after the first year.
By the end of the first year, my teammates (Vinay, Rohini, Joel and Taabodi) truly felt more like family than friends.
So much so, that for Memorial Day weekend of 2011, I brought Vinay, Joel and Taabodi home with me to Long Island to stay with my family, meet my friends, celebrate my birthday and visit Manhattan.
Team Kaleida wasn’t just unique when it came to our dynamic; we were also one of the few teams who lacked any concrete experience in three of the most demanding classes: accounting, statistics and finance.
Our lack of expertise in these areas forced us to work together to overcome obstacles on a daily basis.
I will always remember my MBA experience as two of the best years of my life.
The MBA program challenged me academically, personally and professionally.
During my time as an MBA student I worked harder than I ever have before. I pushed myself and expanded my horizons. I learned more about my personal values and career goals. I figured out what I wanted to do with my degree.
It was through the MBA program that I learned how to be both a teammate and a leader.