One of the primary reasons I chose Willamette is sense of belonging and opportunity to become involved in leadership during my MBA career. I completed my undergrad at Gonzaga University in 2017, where I competitively ran cross-country and track. After four years working with a close-knit team, I wanted a program that has the same sense of spirit and involvement that I felt during my undergrad. Not only does Willamette’s cohort size enable a personal learning environment and small teams, but there are also abundant opportunities for leadership. We have nine formal student organizations (see below) and many students are involved in multiple leadership roles and projects.
Last week, I attended my first annual leadership retreat. The retreat is a time for students to formulate projects and goals for the Atkinson community for the coming year. This year, over 25 students attended the event, hosted by Beth Ursin, Assistant Dean and Director of Career Management in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
The retreat kicked-off with a light breakfast and an icebreaker — a version of two truths and a lie. After getting to know each other a bit more, the first-years had the opportunity to learn from second-years about their experiences and ask questions. Students gave advice on how to balance school, life, and leadership roles, as well as tips for planning events.
After lunch, the second-years departed and the new leadership team brainstormed a vision for the coming year. We broke into small teams to further generate ideas for each of our organizations. My favorite idea — a class dog — probably won’t become a reality, but we did come up with a vision to put into action in the next two months. A message continually echoed throughout conversations on Friday was our desire to create further communication between first and second year students. Some of our strategies include creating a universal Facebook group for all MBA students, redesigning the message board in the Mudd Lounge, mentorship programs, and asking the cohort starting this fall what they would like to see in event programming.
As the next President of Atkinson’s Accounting Association, the retreat was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about my fellow classmates and gather ideas. It gave me the tools to leverage into next school year and the resources to take my ideas and put them in action.
2019-2020 Atkinson Student Organizations
Atkinson Student Association (ASA)
Atkinson Accounting Association (AAA)
Atkinson Consulting Association (ACA)
Atkinson Finance Association (AFA)
Atkinson Marketing Association (AMA)
Business Technology Association (BTA)
International Graduate Students Association (IGSA)
National Association for Women MBAs (NAWMBA)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
For more of Emily Anderson’s writing, follow her blog on first-year MBA core course Practical Application for Careers and Enterprises (PACE). PACE is a combination of career services, learning business practices, and a six-month project for a not-for-profit.