Made to Connect
Each fall and spring, nearly 100 students from the Jenkins MBA online and evening programs convene in Raleigh for a three-day MBA Raleigh Residency to learn, reflect and network. And for MBA candidates like Zach Terry, it’s one of the highlights of the program.
“Aside from some of my colleagues from Lenovo who had spoken quite highly of the program while I was in my discovery phase of pursuing an MBA, I had not formally met anyone from the Jenkins MBA program in person before the event,” Terry says. “So while I was looking forward to the curriculum we would cover, more than anything I was looking forward to meeting the people behind the program, learning who they were, understanding their personalities, and validating that I had made the right decision to join the Jenkins MBA Program. The caliber of both the professors and staff, as well as the other candidates attending the session, were top notch. It made me feel like I was part of a family and further validated my decision to pursue this program.”
Poole College leaders launched the first MBA Raleigh Residency program in the fall of 2015 to meet the needs of students like Terry – and have spent considerable time and effort to ensure it is a signature experience for students.
“Our MBA Residency is a requirement for all our online and evening MBA students, so we want to make sure that they walk away from those three days feeling thankful for the experience,” says Nichole Miller, assistant dean of the Jenkins MBA program.
Raleigh Residency is a two-part crash course in leadership development. In Raleigh Residency I, designed for students to take during their first semester of the MBA program, students engage in exercises and activities to learn about their strengths, review emotional intelligence and reflect on their presentation and communication style.
“We also have our career development and advising team on hand to help students understand the resources available to them not only while they are students, but also as alumni,” Miller says. “We provide lifelong career support with 24/7, one-on-one coaching available. And since we provide a lot of flexibility for our students – they can graduate anywhere from 22 months to six years after beginning the program – our academic advisors do a tremendous job of helping students map out a schedule that fits their individual goals.”
Raleigh Residency II, which can be taken anytime after completing the first residency, allows students to do a deep-dive into business theory and application of areas such as managing people, decision making and empowerment and global team leadership.
“Our goal in the residency program is to provide an immediate return on investment for our students in their personal and professional lives. This time allows them to reflect on their leadership styles and learn how to build teams of people that complement each other and lead teams that maximize each individual’s contribution,” Miller says.
Reema Bhattacharya, who is on track to graduate from the program this spring, completed her Residency I pre-pandemic and waited for the opportunity to do Residency II in person. She enjoyed how each day covered a focused leadership topic.
“Dr. Roger Mayer’s trust workshop is relevant for everyone – no matter what they do. The managing team workshop with Beth Ritter was fun, engaging and introspective. And the global teams workshop with Dr. Bradley Kirkman will be very helpful when working with a wide, geographically dispersed workforce,” Bhattacharya says.
But with all that learning comes opportunities for fun, as well.
“Our Raleigh Residency I concludes with a simulation on change management – which is always exciting to watch. We have some teams who fall apart and have to work together to pull through, and others who absolutely crush it,” Miller adds. “Beyond that, we build in lots of time for networking, have professional photographers on hand to take headshots, and – of course – make sure we have good food and awesome swag to take home.”
And there are exciting plans in store for the Residency in the near-future.
“This summer, we’re offering our first Global Residency program. We have 25 MBA students heading to Prague to further their global leadership skills,” Miller says. “The Jenkins MBA program is designed for working professionals who often have demanding careers and families. Many of them take personal vacation days to complete the MBA Residency sessions. So whether it’s in Raleigh or abroad, we want to make sure every moment is worth that investment.”
This post was originally published in Jenkins MBA News.