September 18, 2012

Orientation – A Deep Dive into MIT Sloan’s Culture

Silvia Benavides is a member of the class of 2014 at MIT Sloan. Prior to Sloan, Silvia was an Analyst in Mesoamerica in San José, Costa Rica. Check back to learn more about her experience and the experiences of her peers at MIT Sloan.

Before orientation, everything about the week was a mystery. You wonder what your Ocean (cohort) will be, who will be in your core team and why you need an entire week for Orientation.

On the first day, after an official welcome for the entire class, an e-mail informs you about your cohort (Go Baltics!). You might be overwhelmed at first, you meet so many people with amazing life experiences (because they also went through that long application process) and it is hard to keep track of all the new faces and names. For international students, add to this mix the fact that you will use English during the entire day, and by 4pm your head will be spinning.

Orientation is a week in which you begin a road to self-assessment and self-awareness. The schedule is packed with activities and games, including outdoor team building and the world famous beer game, a table game on steroids that gives you a glimpse of how supply chains work. Aside from having fun I am now more aware of the value of being uncomfortable and going out of your comfort zone in order to grow faster. Personally, some of the challenges included activities with physical contact, falling into a lake and being energetic and upbeat during 16-hours of socializing.

Aside from the games, Orientation is also a serious week in which you are confronted by moral and philosophical questions that prompt you to look inside and evaluate yourself. What type of footprint do you want to leave? Are you prejudiced in certain situations? Do you understand the extent to which your actions might affect others? We received clear messages about being open-minded when you are under stress and about the importance of designing environments that bring the best in people. I was pleasantly surprised at how much emphasis MIT Sloan puts put on these issues.

MIT Sloan Orientation gives you the opportunity to be overwhelmed by so many new faces, emotions, and food for thought.