Camp Guyasuta

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Photo: (Courtsey) Jerry Hseih

On a cloudy cold morning our batch boarded the bus and left for Guyasuta. For a person like me who had spent his last 6 years staring at a computer in the office, outdoor adventurous activities can be quite nerve-racking. But that is exactly the idea behind those challenging activities that were planned for us at Camp Guyasuta. The idea was to get out of our comfort zone and try something new, something beyond our perceived ability. Eventually, as I got out of my comfort zone doing those activities, I rediscovered the child in me that used to roam around the hills in the coalfields of eastern India. And it was not just me. There were many among us who caught a glimpse of their childhood that day. It was quite an experience.

Camp Guyasuta is located in Sharpsburg, hardly some distance from Pittsburgh. It was just half an hour drive away from Tepper. It was almost drizzling when we got there. After reaching the camp we were asked to quickly assemble in our teams and start the activities. Almost all of the activities involved teamwork, strategy, communication, and physical and mental strength. This was an opportunity to work with a diverse group of people. I had my reservations about how the activities would turn out to be and how I would work with people that I didn’t know before. But as soon as the first rule for the camp was declared, things fell in place. And the rule was pretty simple – “There is no personal space!!!” It acted as an ice breaker. Our team environment was quite friendly right from the start. And as far as I know, it was true for every other team as well. I realized something important from this experience – when a team is built with people having an open mindset, no matter how diverse they are in their background or outlook, the team environment is extremely positive. I could see that every team member gave his/her 100% to a goal; it was achieved, no matter how intimidating it looked in the beginning. No question asked, no excuse given. Everyone worked towards the goal as a single unit. In the end, though people were exhausted and bruised, they were happy and satisfied. And when someone asked about the experience, it was almost in unison – “Amazing!!!”

I am not sure if this is true for all the high performing teams, but I saw a high performing team that day. A team where people had each other’s backs; where you knew that there is somebody to support you even if you fail; where no one person was the super star and everyone was an achiever; where it was OK to make mistakes while putting in your sincere effort; where people appreciated if you went the extra mile to help the team. And that is the best learning I have taken from the Camp Guyasuta experience. I saw how a team becomes an invincible force when personal agendas are set aside in the interest of the team goal.

I had heard about the strong sense of community among Tepper students, and I am glad that I have begun to see that right in the first month of being here. It’s turning out to be a community that yells right in front of your face – “Go on… Don’t worry… We have got your back!”

BASECAMP!!!

Basecamp Gear is here

It’s been 2 weeks at the Tepper Base Camp.

The things imagined before have started to take shapes. In this post, I will discuss all about how the base camp experience has turned out to be so far.

Basecamp is a nice phase for all of the new students coming to the MBA class where they are introduced to every facet of their MBA life at CMU. Right from information about various business areas to career opportunities to tips on life in Pittsburgh, it’s extremely informative. Base camp has also proved to be a nice launchpad for all our friendships during the MBA program. People have started mingling, interacting, and connecting with each other. Groups are being formed based on individual preferences. As an international student from India, I had decided not to limit myself to an Indian group and mingle with as many students as possible. But it will take time. For the conversations to transcend “How are you?”, “Where you from?”, and “What did you use to do?”, there have to be common grounds of discussion but the cultural differences make it difficult to find those common grounds. But with time, it will be found! Pretty sure about that…

There are two weeks of Base Camp still left and then will come the mighty ‘Mini 1’. As the dean said in one of his speeches, “When Mini 1 starts, you will be overwhelmed with work. Within 1 week, you will be behind by 1 month.” As scary as that sounds, I really want to experience it. I had resolved to work hard and the time to test that resolve is inching nearer.

The atmosphere right now is electric. Every day there is a party, people are excited, the sweet smell of new friendship is in the air… The team is getting ready, the warriors are building a fraternity, we are almost ready to slay the monster – ‘Mini 1’! 🙂