We Asked MBA1’s: How Connected Do You Feel to the MBA2 Class?
Ask around and you’ll hear some GSB students describe the MBA1 and MBA2 class relationship as akin to that of college freshmen and seniors: sometimes difficult and often choppy. Why would this be, even though the classes are so similar in age and professional experience? On the one hand, there are a slew of official and unofficial events and activities here to facilitate connections. On the other hand, factors like the passdown-house system where most MBA2's live off-campus, and the intense first-year experiences that bond MBA1's and leave little time for others may contribute to the divide. We interviewed several MBA1’s to get their takes on the MBA1-MBA2 conundrum:
“I think factors that drive cross-class connectedness are campus and off-campus social events, deliberate cross-class programs (e.g. Arbuckle, GSBuddy, Peer Advisors, etc.), extracurricular activities / clubs, housing proximity, GSTs, and having the same classes together. With that said (and considering my FLI background), I don’t feel particularly connected to the MBA2 class. I do have some MBA2 friends that I’ve met through Arbuckle, GSB Show, GSBuddy, and clubs, but outside of that core group I haven’t had opportunities to really spend time and connect with the broader MBA2 community. Most of the best bonding options require financial resources (e.g. trips) and some luck (e.g. being on the right trip with the right person), and it would be great if going forward the community worked together to broaden the opportunities for connection and also make existing opportunities more accessible.”
— David Justra, MBA Interview #1
Interestingly, as our interviewee noted, while there is some cross-class programming available, the depth, consistency or financial accessibility of that programming is not always high. Authentic bonding often depends on consistent interactions, which is a part of why activities like the GSBShow are such valuable networking channels for GSB students.
“I think the dynamic between MBA1's and MBA2's is a little unorthodox. FOAM and other activities are meant to promote interactions, but most just hang with their friends which are in their same class. SGD’s are also meant to introduce classmates, but it’s still done mostly on a friendship basis. The only MBA2's I know are my GST leaders because we were forced to spend time with them (not complaining, they were great). I think more activities like that would be better.”
— MBA1 Interview #2
Whether or not you think the relationship between the MBA1 and MBA2 classes is a problem, the fact that some students feel this way suggests that extra effort may be needed to better connect the classes. Reaching out for coffee chats, inviting MBA1’s to Passdown and other unofficial parties, and sitting next to those you don’t know well in class are just a few ways students across classes can get better acquainted. The same strategies can strengthen the relationship with the MSx class, as well. After all, nourishing the GSB network can only make all of us better off.