News at Smith

Smith MBA Students Take Team-Building Retreat

Sep 18, 2013
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


Forty-five second-year MBA students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business traveled to Maple Tree Campground in Rohrersville, Md., for a weekend of camping and team-building activities, Sept. 6-8, 2013.

The students were joined by Smith faculty members Shreevardhan Lele, assistant dean of academic affairs for MBA programs and Ralph J. Tyser Distinguished Teaching Fellow of Business Administration, and Oliver Schlake, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow.

Second-year MBA Eric Markley, vice president of marketing and communications for the MBA Association (MBAA), took the lead on organizing the retreat with support from Scott O'Keefe, MBAA’s VP of community development.  The retreat was funded by the Masters Programs Office and the MBAA. Markley said the idea came to him when he was taking Schlake’s “Creativity for Business Leaders” course last spring.

“We were talking about our mutual interest in hiking, camping and the outdoors, and about his experiences taking groups of students – undergrads and EMBAs – on outdoor-learning trips,” he said. “We thought something like that would be great for MBAs, and so did everyone else I talked to.”

Second-year MBA Tom Jepsen organized an afternoon of whitewater rafting, kayaking and tubing on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., that preceded the camping trip.

Students spent Saturday morning undertaking a survival project designed by Schlake. Working in teams of three or four, students were presented with a scenario in which a person had become stranded in the middle of the night. The person’s car had caught fire, burning all possessions (including a mobile phone), and there was little chance of being found before the morning. The person was also bleeding profusely from his or her lower leg.

Using a collection of items provided by Schlake that ranged from an empty lighter to broken glasses to a trash bag, students had to create a shelter for the night, find a way to stop the bleeding and create a fire that burned long enough to boil water.

After completing the survival challenge, students spent the rest of the day hiking the Appalachian Trail, swimming in the Potomac River, relaxing by the campfire, and playing foosball in the campground pavilion.

“It was a challenge getting it all together over the summer, when everyone is scattered, but everything went really well,” Markley said. “We're really excited about creating a new tradition at Smith, and we hope the class of 2015 can do it even better next year.”

Peter Haldis, MBA Candidate 2014, Office of Marketing Communications

Photos provided by second-year MBAs Jose Alfredo Castro and Amanda Mendoza. 

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.