Monday, November 18, 2013

LEAP Week!

LEAP Week! Ever since I received my acceptance letter in March, I anticipated the start of my MBA journey. The program has an orientation week called LEAP Week for the incoming MBA class. LEAP stands for Learn, Engage, Assess, and Present, and we exercised each of these throughout the week.
            LEAP Week is really a 7-day orientation program spread out over 10 days. It occurs the week before classes are set to start, and allows the students to get acclimated before the entire university comes back for the fall semester. LEAP week is filled with informational sessions, Excel assessments, business communication lectures, and the all-important Rinehart Negotiation Project.
            Right off the bat, we started LEAP Week with our professional headshots and group photo. I’m really excited about our class. We have a very diverse group of students with various professional interests and international experience. The first day was full of information. Throughout the day, we heard from administrators, faculty, alumni, and guest speakers about topics ranging from program overview to “How to Dress Professionally”. We also learned about the concentrations offered by the program:

·         Business Analytics
·         Entrepreneurship
·         Finance
·         Marketing
·         Operations
·         Supply Chain Management
That afternoon we met our communications professor, Dr. Linda Lyle, and she delivered our first MBA class lecture. Her course is so comprehensive that we have to start class a week early just to fit all of the curriculum into the schedule! Dr. Lyle spoke about the effectiveness of professional communication in both oral and written applications.
            The next day was the start of the Negotiation Project by Dr. Lloyd Rinehart. Probably the most charismatic professor I’ve ever encountered, Dr. Rinehart introduced to us a supply chain negotiation project accompanied by an extensively detailed Excel file. The premise of the project is teams are broken down into four groups: Suppliers, Manufacturers, Carriers, and Distributors. The goal was to use the Excel file given to each team and negotiate with the other team to maximize your profit margin. Sounds simple and fun right? Well it was fun, but not simple at all. The next three days (and nights) were spent negotiating and finally on Friday afternoon, we were able to turn in our projects and present our findings. Oh, and none of this was for a grade.
            Overall, LEAP Week was really busy, but was very informational and helped build friendships among the class. I think it’s beneficial to start classes knowing your classmates, and this will help our teams work well together throughout the semester. The first session will consist of the semester’s first 7.5 weeks, and the classes will range from Business Skills Development to Demand Management to Financial Accounting. I can’t wait to start!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hello Everybody!


Welcome to the University of Tennessee Full-Time MBA blog! My name is Nathan Basler and I am a first-year student in the Full-Time MBA program here at UT with a concentration in supply chain management. I’m also a Graduate Assistant with the program, serving as the Special Events Coordinator. One task I have the pleasure of doing is communicating with prospective students (aka YOU!) through this blog. Every week, I’ll share with you a variety of topics about the ins and outs of being a part of this great program.


First off, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Kingston, TN, a small town outside Knoxville. I graduated from Tennessee Technological University in May 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, I worked for one year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Systems Engineer. In March 2013, I was accepted into the UTK Full-Time MBA program. Obtaining an MBA has always been an academic goal of mine because I feel having a broad skill set in two different career paths (engineering and business) will help me with future career advancement. The University of Tennessee’s MBA Program really attracted me with its accelerated pace, team-based learning style, and career services opportunities. I will highlight each of these in depth later on in the semester.


For this first blog entry, I want to highlight some tasks I’ve completed in order to get ready for the start of the program. The program begins with LEAP week (Learn. Engage. Assess. Present). Looking at the schedule, this week is full of exciting events, and I cannot wait to start! It will be great to meet all my classmates and get to know them before we start classes. We’re going to spend the next 17 months together, so the importance of this week, in part, is building friendships! During the summer, I’ve had several assignments to complete. The program’s career management team had us send them first drafts of our resumes so they can critique them before we get to school. There is a job fair coming up in September, so they are giving us a head start on the preparation. Also, I just completed a StrengthsFinder assessment where I found out my top 5 strengths (Belief, Discipline, Context, Harmony, Relator). It’s great to learn my biggest strengths. I can use these as I work with others throughout the program. Now that I have completed all the assignments, I’m really excited to start next week. Check back in to find out about some of the experiences from LEAP week. I’m sure it will be a blast and I will have plenty of stories to share!