Each year, the outgoing MBAA President offers a “State of the Program” at the conclusion of his or her tenure. This year’s president, Adam Rubens, gave his concluding remarks at the transition meeting on April 4th. Read what he shared below!
At the beginning of anything, it’s critical to have a direction, a plan of action, and a great team of people to work with. On April 5th of last year, the 2014-2015 MBAA Board met for the first time to try work on developing those three elements and add new events and value to our members and the Evening MBA Program in general. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with that team. I am proud of the way we embraced the challenges presented and set an example for future students by stretching the boundaries of what a volunteer board can accomplish. Going from where we were to where we are had a lot to do with incremental growth, willingness to take some risks, and openness to ideas from all areas of student life.
Two years ago, the board was able to accomplish some significant inroads into evening student participation in social events and community building. There were some herculean efforts from many board members, but it was challenging because we didn’t have the level of collaboration that kept the board cohesive, team-oriented, and accountable to each other. We did a lot of good things on that board, but there was room for improvement.
Last year, we wanted to put more of a focus on building a support structure within the board so that we could function more as a team and hold each position to a higher standard while providing the tools to help get it done. We wanted to improve the level of transparency, the quality of events, and impact on the Foster community and the community at large. We sought to increase the value of the Foster experience and the participation of each student in the available academic and social events by following what we dubbed “the 4 Ps” – Planning, Promoting, Producing, & Pushing the Envelope.
Some of those initiatives were wildly successful, others provided good building blocks, and others were a struggle. In hindsight, three things stand out as areas we could have improved on. First, it was challenging to keep to the consistent organized structures that we created for ourselves. Finding consistent and effective communication mediums also continues to be one of the greatest difficulties facing the MBAA. Lastly, finding a better way to measure and track progress through various metrics would have been very helpful.
That said, we saw great progress in the last year:
- We made changes to the EC titles that better reflect corporate board positions
- We added further transparency and communication on what it means to be an MBAA Member
- We had on Campus Happy Hours Galore!
- We created fun, revenue generating events
- We saw the largest number of evening students to C4C sports weekend ever
- We won Fundraising at C4C – a big win for the evening program
- We kicked off #OneFoster + the Scavenger Hunt and had some sweet swag
- We had a huge evening turnout that was critical to the success of the C4C Auction this year
- We launched a beautiful new website
- We had a super-efficient election process
- We had more evening club reps than ever before
- We had another successful St. Jude’s Service Day
- We created a new Alumni event in Wine Tasting with Alumni
- We received extremely useful feedback for faculty from the mid-quarter reviews
- We planned really fun and well attended on-campus BBQ for the new students & a great M’s Game
- We had the biggest Foster Fun Run to date (double last year’s size and funds raised)
- We saw MBAA membership grow to nearly 70% of the student population
- We threw two parties that were probably a little “too good” in Frosters and Fosters with some amazing turnout
- We planned a stand-up comedy act based on economics (don’t miss it on April 9th)
- We had an evening driven effort to ratify The Out in Business Club that was the catalyst for a whole new VP Diversity position on the board and Diversity Council within Foster
- We laid a foundation for future boards to continue to push the limits for an evening MBA program.
There is still room for improvement.
That said, you do have a solid foundation on which to grow and add your own flavor to the MBAA Board. I have had a chance to meet and talk with all of you and I am truly excited to see what you can accomplish.
I will leave you with this advice based on two+ years of perspective:
- There is a delicate balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt, and holding them accountable. Everyone has a lot going on and everyone deserves to be cut a little slack sometimes.
- There are going to be moments where you have to say no to something you really want to do so that you can put the finishing touches on an event, come in for a Saturday meeting, or help out a board members with something they need you for. Make sure to make your position a priority more often than not.
- You are responsible for your position, but you are also responsible for your function as a team member on the board – its encouraged to ask questions, be an extra set of hands, and provide constructive feedback.
- Have fun! All work and no play makes for a tough year. Learn quickly from any struggles and move on. Celebrate your accomplishments. You will have lots of them. Keep pushing the envelope.