Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Welcome back, BBAs! I'm glad that you're back in school. It was nice for the MBAs to have the school to ourselves, but I missed the energy and fun that you all brought.

I've often thought that Schulich BBAs exemplify the best and worst of Gen Y culture:

  • Paradoxical individualism and self-expression but intense needs for social affiliation
  • Creative and critical thinking but irrationality when emotions become involved in the decision making process
  • Curiosity and a thirst for knowledge but a crass arrogance that their worldview is unflappable
As one of the younger MBAs (and a Gen Y myself), I unquestionably exhibit a lot of these qualities. Self-confidence (arrogance) and poor attention span spring to mind!

But the BBAs are complicated creatures. Let's begin to understand them with some archetypes. The lovely Robyn, B!G's VP, has graciously offered to let me use some of her Facebook pictures for illustrative purposes:


Team building and group facilitation exercises are huge parts of the undergraduate experience at Schulich. They tried to do a lot of this kind of stuff for the MBAs in first year, but it didn't exactly catch on. Socialistas and Socialismos are identifiable by their energetic approach to life, the constant need to be surrounded by close and distant friends, and their voices, often approaching an amp'ed up level of heightened emotion and enthusiasm. Barf.


The fact that B!G is so popular among BBAs leads me to believe that there's a hunger among Schulich's lowerclassmen for learning outside the classroom. By their nature, Gen Ys do not learn well in a single platform environment - by textbooks or lectures alone. On-the-job skills training and real-world experiences are vital to give context to the theory being learned in class. That, or they just cannot stand to spend one minute in dull classrooms being lectured AT by an apathetic professor.


Robyn describes these students are doing kid things at night. Pillow fights, tobogganing, and games of capture the flag played at 3am suggest that growing up might never happen. I agree. Growing up won't happen - but that's ok. Kidults are recognized for their use of abbreviations and verbal slang, need for adventure and constant stimulation, love for challenges and physical/mental stimulation, and no sense of when bedtime occurs.


Related to the Lecture-Phobe, the Knowledge Sponge participates in every possible school event, signs up to multiple clubs, and is super-engaged in class. They actually read every word of the textbook and take copious notes. I was this archetype in my undergrad until I found ways of getting high grades and doing limited reading! I really do feel bad for this undergrad because professors tacitly promote their destructive OCD behavior. Rote memorization of the textbook facts is a really dumb way of testing learning. Also, holding a textbook in a picture and smiling is really lame, sorry Robyn!


I'm really not sure what goes on when the BBAs go on exchange. Olga is in Norway right now and it fills me with great fear. Fear for the Norweigians. The exchange student is filled with amazing memories of their semester away and fantastic stories that you could believe actually happened. It's hilarious that none of the stories involve school.

So these are just a few of the students who you'll meet in the BBA program. Each is a pretty good facsimille for any previous generation's archetypes, but they are powered the Gen Y fuel of optimism.

Thanks Robyn for being a sport and letting me do this!


Jeffrey Li said...

none of the pictures were embarrassing at all!

Olga Ivleva said...

Our presence in Norway should fill you with fear. But not because of me. Andreea is being quite the Viking Conquerer here. Yes, in the exact way you're thinking about.