Twenty-five graduate and undergraduate students ventured out of their comfort zones - literally and figuratively - last week! The annual BB&T Leadership Challenge at Wildacres Retreat Center was held October 12-14, 2012. The Leadership Challenge includes opportunities for dialogue and debate regarding the philosophical underpinnings of capitalism and Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." Drs. Norris Fredrick and Will Sparks started off the weekend with a philosophical debate, challenging one another on the underpinnings of reality, truth, and justice. The debate broke up into small groups, where students were able to discuss their personal views. One participant remarked, "It was really interesting to have these discussions with individuals [from around the world] that were raised in a republic, in a dictatorship, and in a country that bordered a communist country." This set the stage for a broader discussion the following morning, which explored the implications of capitalism in our economic and political systems.
Later that morning, students were introduced to the team from Vertical, S.A, an outdoor adventure-based leadership group from Santiago, Chile. This distinguished mountaineering group works with a select group of schools in the United States, including: Wharton School of Business, Leonard Stern School of Business at NYU, Sloan School of Business at MIT, and the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. The Vertical team's presentation included breakout sessions for students to work through real leadership and decision-making scenarios that Vertical faced while attempting to summit Mount Lhotse (4th highest peak in the world and next to Mount Everest). For the remainder of the day, participants met real-time challenges on an outdoor team-building and leadership development course. These activities were followed by a period of introspection to discuss lessons learned from these experiences.
The weekend was a great success with rave reviews from students and staff alike. "I was very impressed with the effort, team work and creativity that was put into meeting the physical challenge... I also really enjoyed the intellectual conversation arranged by Dr. Sparks and Dr. Frederick. It was very interesting to hear different points of view," says Gulnar Manji, a current PMBA student.
If you are interested in attending, keep an eye out for information about next year's event. This is open for all degree-seeking students in the PMBA and MSOD programs.
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