As a Social Chair for the UF MBA Association, I was tasked with the great responsibility of planning and executing Organized Fun—events to encourage socialization and camaraderie within our MBA community, from happy hours and outdoor field trips to holiday extravaganzas. Taylor, my co-chair, who attended UF for undergrad, was especially helpful for envisioning ideas, identifying locations, and negotiating with venues for discounts (critical for budgeting), while I typically organized the propaganda to encourage our classmates to gladly attend. This usually included creating Facebook events, engagement surveys, and face-in-hole photos featuring the administration, composing witty correspondence, designing digital invitations and Snapchat filters, and politely nudging people to RSVP. Both college cheerleaders in our undergrad years, Taylor and I worked together to enliven activities and encourage participation in social events throughout the year.
In November, we hosted our annual MBA Friendsgiving dinner. Using the dedicated funds, we supplied the turkey and the wine, and the attending students brought delicious side dishes for a potluck-style arrangement. I was amazed at what chefs my classmates are! The dishes included iterations of sweet potatoes and stuffing, various things in crock pots, roasted vegetables, fried chicken, pear and goat cheese salad, and cupcakes hand-decorated like turkeys.
Our big event for the semester was the holiday party, Sleigh Ride, hosted with the other graduate business programs. Donned in festive (read: ugly) sweaters, more than 100 graduate business students took to the streets of downtown Gainesville for the bar crawl. We combined this event with an initiative to give back to the community by donating to Toys for Tots, incentivized with MBA Cup points. From jamming with the band at Tall Paul’s, to singing along with the dueling pianos at Rocky’s, the Sleigh Ride was a wonderful end to a spectacular first semester of business school.
To kick off Mod 3, we hosted Happy Hour at the former unofficial bar of UF MBA, in conjunction with the MBA student body meeting. Additionally, this spring, we have welcomed experts in business etiquette to instruct us in a seminar on proper professional behavior, followed by a cocktail reception to demonstrate our superb knowledge of conversational skills and ability to hold an hors d’oeuvres plate and wine glass in one hand while shaking someone else’s with the other. Thus, participating in many of the events is not only fun, but also educational!
Upon return from Spring Break, less than two months separated us either from graduation or summer internships, and each weekend brought a flurry of events. UF hosted the annual SEC Case Competition in April, where we showcased our superb programming and planning abilities. As a volunteer, I commandeered the @UFWarrington account for a “Snapchat Takeover” of the weekend and loved chronicling the joys and frustrations of competitors during the stressful 24-hour case. Additionally, I gained valuable experience representing an organization through my own viewpoint via a digital channel, a skill I will most likely utilize in my career as I pursue consultative sales in the technology industry.
In the last few weeks of the semester, we enjoyed more social events, including a trip to Ginnie Springs to float down the crystal-clear river in the Florida sunshine, a “Bar Golf” tournament, and the annual Graduation Gala. The theme this year was The Godfather—a shopping inspiration offer I couldn’t refuse.
In the past year, I have gathered that Gainesville doubles in size every Saturday in the fall, has entertaining bars featuring arcade games where I can beat my classmates in skee-ball, and, most importantly, contains the best class of MBA candidates I could hope to know. Taylor and I worked hard as Social Chairs, making my own experience even better. I am looking forward to getting to know the new group of MBA students in the fall, continuing to build lifelong friendships with my classmates, and seeing what the next year of Organized (and unorganized) Fun holds for us.