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Columbia Business School Launches Inaugural Re-Orientation Program

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While seldom the most important step in a student’s career, the value of orientation is nonetheless immeasurable for many. Often it creates a unique bond between the students and their new surroundings at an impossibly vital point during formative years. But after it’s over, it’s over, right?

Not so fast, says Columbia Business School (CBS). Questioning why that special cohesion-building process should be reserved just for first-students, the school late last month held its first-ever orientation for second-year business students. Dubbed the “Re-Orientation,” it was led by the Columbia Leadership Lab.

“The second year is when people enrich leadership skills like persuasion and relationship building. You can’t learn these purely in the classroom. You learn them through engaging with the CBS community—the class, cluster, clubs and the network,” Professor Michael Morris, who is director of Leadership Lab, said in a statement. “The event was … partly a ceremony of class unity, welcoming the J-term clusters into sync with the fall-term clusters; partly a chance to reconnect with one’s cluster and friends; and partly an arena for cross-cluster networking.”

During the event, second-year students were paired back with their first orientation clusters to create “cluster messages.” These messages were crafted around how the groups could make the most of the second year in the MBA program and how to productively move forward with their professional careers. The messages were then broadcast across the entire room (with no equipment) and judged by Management Division Professors Modupe Akinola, Bill Duggan and Todd Jick.

Along with taking part in the challenges, several Re-Orientation students and CBS alumni were awarded for their achievements as judged by their peers. An “Emerging Leader Award” was presented to one student in every cluster who demonstrated leadership during their first year as reflected in their “Growth 360” assessments. The winners included Saskia Chanoine, Giulia Domenichini, Daniela Dukes, Elizabeth Gao, Pedram Ghasemlou, Seema Hirsch, Erwan Kerouredan, Alryl Koroma, Eric Legunn, Zach Rieger and Gabriel Souza Adde.

The “Exemplary Leadership Award,” meanwhile, went to two alumni: Curtis Ravenel (MBA ’01), director of sustainability at Bloomberg LP, and Cyrus Massoumi (MBA ’03), founder of medical startup Zocdoc.

The entire program was created thanks to a donation from the Deloitte Foundation, which will act as lead sponsor for a two-year period.

Kathy Shoztic, executive director of the Deloitte Foundation, writes: “The Deloitte Foundation is proud to support the Leadership Lab and to help students develop the skill sets that great leaders possess. We recognize the importance of developing skills such as the ability to make wise management decisions in a complex, fast-paced business environment, to inspire and lead individuals and teams to meet strategic objectives, and to shape organization culture and lead through periods of rapid change and adaptation.”

Check out more about the event and the Re-Orientation program here.

Matthew Korman
Matthew Korman is a contributing author and editor for Clear Admit. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked with numerous academic institutions, in addition to roles as a music industry writer, promoter, and data analyst. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.