Posted August 18, 2010

MBA students race through city in team-building scavenger hunt

Fox School of Business Scavenger Hunt

Make a human pyramid in front of the Liberty Bell. Collect two business cards from Philadelphia bankers. Shake hands with an elected official.

Those were just a few of the quirky tasks new Fox School of Business MBA and International MBA students had to cross off their lists during a city-wide scavenger hunt Aug. 12.

As the morning rain cleared, 55 students hit the streets of Philadelphia with maps and clues in tow, aiming to accomplish as many of their 30 tasks as possible in three hours.

“There are a lot of purposes to the scavenger hunt – team-building, being able to accomplish goals as a group, as well as having fun and seeing new parts of Philadelphia,” said Kimberly Mendicino, associate director of full-time MBA programs. “We hope they’ll implement a strategy as they would in the workplace.”

Designed to introduce students to the city and each other, the scavenger hunt required group members to take pictures with objects, buildings or landmarks in six categories – Temple University, history, business, art, international and random.

Because less than half of this year’s students are from the Philadelphia area, many found it advantageous to research the locations of certain clues on the go using their smart phones.

One group, “Team Blue Two” – named for their group number and T-shirt color – developed a plan before rushing outside.

“We bordered off the city and assigned letters to each section,” MBA student Gerard Callan said. “Instead of going by the clue categories, we’re going by different sections of the city.”

Team Blue Two explored Alter Hall first, getting snapshots with a copy of the Philadelphia Business Journal and the flag of India.

Next was a sprint across campus in search of a soft pretzel, the Founder’s Garden and the TECH Center.

The groups strategized and delegated tasks as they headed to Center City on the Broad Street Line subway to get photos by an IHOP, a cheese shop at Reading Terminal Market and the LOVE statue.

Each of the groups ended the hunt at 5 p.m. at the Temple University Center City campus.

The activity was part of a monthlong MBA Essentials orientation program for new students. Valerie Henry, director of working professional programs, helped to design the orientation, which included workshops and events centered around engagement, leadership, team development, academic integrity and career development. A day of community service, the scavenger hunt and a weekend retreat at Stony Acres in the Poconos were all part of the Passport to Leadership series within MBA Essentials. 

The scavenger hunt winners – Padmini Menu, Cassandra Wiese, Guarav Mandore, Jonathan David and Ryan Taylor – were announced during a campfire at Stony Acres.

Although his group didn’t nab the top prize, Callan said the scavenger hunt fostered foresight, planning, communication, prioritization and information gathering – all skills he can use in business.

“So far I think the MBA orientation experience, while at times intense, has been extremely valuable,” he said.