Being a student in the UF MBA program is an excellent opportunity for networking and career development. Most of the events coordinated for students are designed to help develop skills necessary for success in corporate America – ranging from data visualization to public speaking – and to give us access to a vast network of successful UF MBA alumni and friends. However, this is not all we do. UF recruits a group of students with diverse backgrounds and interests. My classmates are engineers, professional athletes, teachers, military intelligence analysts, doctors, and entrepreneurs with various levels of experience working in corporate America. This diversity is an intangible quality of the UF MBA program that won’t be reflected in rankings and has immeasurably enhanced my experience thus far.

I mentioned that most of the events fall in line with what one would expect an MBA program to provide, but it’s in the remainder of the events – the ones ideated, planned, and executed by the students – where much of the personality shines through.

One of the most personally rewarding of these events occurred just before Thanksgiving. Incredibly, 1 in 4 children in our community is food insecure and experiences hunger regularly. In an effort to alleviate some of this hunger and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, UF MBA Outreach hosted an event in collaboration with First Magnitude, a local micro-brewery, to help support Bread of the Mighty, a Gainesville food bank.

The main attraction was a college football watch party for the Florida vs LSU game at First Magnitude, which was shown on First Magnitude’s 12-foot TV located in front of the brewing equipment, and picnic tables were lined up for seating. There were various smaller TVs throughout the taproom and outdoor picnic and lawn games area that meant one could wander throughout the venue without missing a beat. First Magnitude was gracious enough to offer discounts on their beer to anyone who donated money to Bread of the Mighty, and funds were also raised via a halftime raffle.

The atmosphere was great. Gator fans were able to enjoy the game on a huge screen, drink great beer, and support local business with the added satisfaction that our fun was also helping strengthen our local community. The energy of the crowd crescendoed all the way to the end of the game. In the last 3 seconds, Florida beat LSU to win the SEC East with a fourth-down, goal-line stand, and we announced that we were able to provide 4,690 meals for hungry members of our community during Thanksgiving, a time when food and fellowship are especially important.

Written By: David Lee, Two-Year Full-Time, Class of 2018