Thursday, April 28, 2005

Chicago, we need a Community ?

[file under: Views From The Inside]

In the latest edition of ChiBus, the GSB newsletter, is a very interesting essay by Andrew Sharpe. Opining in his regular column, Thunder From Down Under, he writes about the sense, or a certain lack thereof, of community at the school. Reproduced Below.

Show Some Spirit
- By Andrew Sharpe.

I never thought I would have to write this article. I guess I was wrong.

Our school has a reputation for brilliant, well-schooled minds ready to face the trials and tribulations of real world corporate cut and thrust. We also have a reputation for lacking social etiquette and the ability to hold a conversation.

Up until recently, I thought that the second statement was not a reflection of the students at all. Now, unfortunately, I am beginning to see why this reputation might have come about.

Let me go on the record as saying that the literal meaning of that perception is incorrect: I know a couple of people who do enough talking for all of us. However, the wider meaning of the statement, that is, commenting on our ability to be part of a community, may be a fair characterization of the student body at this school.

The vast majority of students here are focused solely on improving themselves. There is nothing wrong with this. It is the way each of us go about this where the problem lies. Frankly, too many of us focus on our own education and job search without using and building the Chicago GSB community.

I believe that we have created an inverse 80/20 rule: 20% of the students provide 80% of the community and spirit of the school. From committing to or even helping out with editing our school paper, to committing to practice for any sporting club here, I have noticed somewhat of a lack of 'esprit de corps.' From every time a team performs wearing the GSB's logo to every publication that is the banner of the student body, the wider community forms an opinion of the GSB.

Why does Kellogg continually outrank us in the rankings? They talk about the community. I am not asking us to go around hugging each other, but I am asking that we take pride in our school and do our thing to make every one of us proud that we are here: from sporting competitions to Wall Street jobs, from campus life to investment competitions.

There was some serious spirit shown during the last Admit Weekend. Unfortunately, this was not the typical fare. If everyone at this school channeled an extra couple of hours per week towards activities that embody that passion, we could build a community that any business school would be proud of.

Yes, we are all busy. Yes, we all have commitments.

Are three lousy hours a week going to affect you that much? That's two rugby training practices. That's three articles for ChiBus (you can even write to tell me I am wrong and a dumb Aussie that should go home). That's whatever you want it to be to show your pride, and more importantly, involvement, in this community.

Every one of us gains something from this community. This is part of your education and part of the process of improving yourself. Each one of us will benefit from a stronger community. If you don't agree with this, we will end up with 1,100 ego-driven students only worried about themselves.

That's one extreme...think about what the other is and what we can do to get close to it.


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