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By Marisa Cox, Admissions Director of the Eller MBA

cox_sm.jpgCross-posted from the Eller MBA Admissions Blog

Last weekend we hosted applicants admitted to our Full-Time MBA Program for fall 2009 at our annual Preview Weekend. Prospective students from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, and even Mexico made the trip to Tucson to visit the campus and get to know both the program and the town a bit better. For several participants it was their first time in Tucson. The Weekend kicked off with a rooftop reception at the Westward Look Resort on Friday evening. Our guests were treated to a beautiful sunset, mariachi music, good Mexican food, and welcoming staff, faculty, students, and alumni.

After emailing several of the Preview Weekend attendees and interviewing nearly all of them, it was wonderful to meet them in person. Many were surprised that the faculty, students, and staff took the time to learn a bit about them and where they were from beforehand. I was pleased to see the pleasant surprise on the face of the attendee when someone said, “So, you’re the swimmer from Nebraska,” or “You’re the one who spent time in Germany and is now in Colorado.”

Although a lot of work — I met them at their hotel at 8 a.m. on Saturday, rode with them to campus on a shuttle, and then spent the day guiding them through the campus activities that wrapped up around 3 p.m. — I had a great time talking with the prospective students, getting to meet their spouses and families, and helping them picture what life would be like at Eller. In addition to a student/alumni panel, the participants got to go “Back to Class” with Professor Stephen Gilliland, head of the management and organizations department, and discuss a case study on corporate social responsibility. They also got to hear about the new global perspectives course and trip and take a survey on their preferred destination, as well as the new energy focus area we are developing, and the new professional development courses and activities planned for the coming year.

Unexpectedly, one of the more rewarding experiences of the Weekend was the level of engagement and enthusiasm our first-year students displayed in welcoming the participants, guiding them around campus, and even showing them the local nightlife. Even though they were busy with field project presentations and upcoming exams, it was important to the students to welcome the prospective students to their community and make sure they had a chance to share why they were pleased they chose Eller. When I went home to my family late Saturday afternoon I was filled with optimism for the new class and gratitude for the friends and colleagues in the Eller Community who made the Weekend a success. The need for a nap also consumed me, but my 17-month-old had different ideas…