Friday, April 14, 2017

Welcome Weekend 2017: Recap

Welcome Weekend is our annual kickoff for newly admitted students each spring. This allows them to get an early taste of student life and Athens, in addition to the resources they need to maximize the value of their pre-term summer to really hit the ground running when they get here in August. A record 31 of our incoming students attended Welcome Weekend last Friday and Saturday, coming from as far away as China!

Friday was a great introduction to city and student life, including a guided tour of Correll Hall and North Campus, a presentation by the Career Management Center, a reception downtown, and then dinner in small groups with faculty, staff, and current students. 

Saturday morning began with a breakfast at Correll Hall. Even though there was a fairly late “Athens orientation session” at Little King’s Shuffle Club the night before, students were engaged throughout the morning sessions. A well-planned series of events, participation of university and Athens partners, and endless coffee surely helped.  

Mary Charles Howard of Athensmade and Jordan Burke of Four Athens led introductions to the city’s small businesses and culture. Athensmade is a single point of contact for tapping into the local entrepreneurship community. Four Athens is the local incubator and accelerator for tech startups. Howard talked about promoting creative culture in Athens, and she showed a short video of Athens’culture – musically and beyond. Jordan talked about the explosive growth in local startups and he quickly disposed of startup cliches and myths that don't apply here.

Rick Watson, the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy in the Department of Management Information Systems, gave a mock lecture entitled “The Digitization of Capital.” Watson stressed the importance for MBAs to see the world as a system and to play a role in the creation of a more sustainable society. Among other topics, he discussed the role of the Internet of Things in allocation of capital. Watson teaches a couple of courses in the MBA curriculum, including Energy Informatics and Data Analytics.

Nathan Stuck, a Georgia MBA from the Class of 2017, gave a lengthy talk on experiential projects completed by him and other MBA students. Stuck successfully leveraged his experience on a B Corp certification project into a full-time opportunity at Ad Victoriam Solutions, and he emphasized the value of learning/working experience outside of the classroom. Thankfully, our program is increasing options for experiential learning as part of the University's experiential learning initiative.

Aditi Kardekar, Justin Nachsin, Carmen Sullivan, Malisha Mendis, and Ross Manfre led a panel of current Georgia MBAs discussing the student experience, life in Athens, navigating the internship/job search, and a variety of other topics, addressing students’ questions throughout.

The mix of student panelists, in terms of industry background, geographic representation, and year in the program, brought many perspectives to address the concerns of incoming students.
We closed the weekend with a reception at South Kitchen + Bar in downtown Athens. There, we were proud to announce breaking news: the University of Georgia team won the SEC MBA Case Competition! Our 31 incoming students, plus significant others, had a wonderful weekend.  They are all a great bunch of people, and we’re excited to see everyone again with the full class at Orientation!