Entering an Executive MBA program can be stressful. It’s been a long time
since you were in school and you’re going to be in class with highly successful
people, and that can be intimidating. Most if not all of our students start out
feeling a bit of impostor syndrome.
One of the best tools we have to transition those incoming students into the
program is the three-day in-residence seminar. Far from just learning how to
get your student ID and parking pass, the new class spends two nights in town,
getting a taste of the program and getting to know each other.
1. Builds your first team – a key to learning leadership and
We begin on a Thursday morning, going over the results of a Strengths
Deployment Inventory (SDI) that you’ve already taken. At the same time, we
place you with your first team (the four or five classmates you’ll work with
for the first six months), so you can start learning the best ways to approach
each other and how to play to each person’s strengths.
We always play some kind of game or organized activity to put this into
practice. Recently, we took students to an escape room – an adventure game that
requires your team to solve a series of puzzles to “escape” a room. We’ll
analyze how it went afterwards, seeing how behavior illustrates the strengths
and stress points identified in the SDI.
We also get you acclimated to the class as a whole, inviting program alumni
to guide your cohort in discussing your goals for the program and for
relationships, and what rules you’ll follow to accomplish those goals – for
instance, spending extra time together outside the classroom to form stronger
2. Eases you back into the classroom.
Chances are, it’s been a few years since you’ve been in a classroom, and you
haven’t worked those study muscles in a while. We’ll give your team a couple of
example assignments to work on – typically some reading that you’ll need to
consolidate, synthesize and present.
This puts you back in a mindset of thinking critically and developing
presentations, in a practice assignment that you won’t be graded on. It also
gives you more hands-on experience working with your team.
3. Integrates spouses/significant others in a meaningful way.
You’re not the only one who will work hard (and benefit!) throughout this
program; it’s going to be a strain on the people closest to you, too. That’s
why we invite spouses and significant others to join us on the second night of the
You’ll sit down to dinner Friday with your team and spouses to start
knitting relationships. Not only does that mean your spouse can put faces with
names when you say you’re meeting with John and Elaine to study, it means
spouses can form friendships, too – which helps increase the valuable personal
and professional connections you’ll make throughout the program.
The next day, we do a workshop on living and working with different
personalities. We go over the results of the Meyer’s-Briggs Personality Type
Indicator with students and spouses – led by the very entertaining Austin
psychologist Dr. Richard “Nick” Grant. This means that not only will you learn
helpful information about how your classmates think and work, but also gain
meaningful insights about your spouse that will help strengthen your
relationship throughout the program and your lives.
Of course, there’s even more to the seminar we haven’t mentioned here.
You’re going to be tired after we finish at noon on Saturday, but you’re also going
to feel more confident about the program. Our students are also surprised at
how much fun they have. It’s the first taste you’ll get of just how addictive
the collaboration and insight from the Neeley Executive MBA program can become.
Interested? To get in touch with someone who can talk to you about your
personal goals for an Executive MBA program, start