The Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) MBA students have a study room/lounge in which to gather. We call it the risk space. Some people might think that it is not logical for a room to live. Not true! The risk space definitely has a pulse.
Today, like most mornings, one of our second-year students arrived shortly after I did. He enjoys the quiet time to work before the space gets busy.
The door to the suite is typically closed to prevent hallway noise from entering so that the students can focus on their studies. However, this morning, the door was open to welcome the extra students gathering for meetings about their applied learning project. The project entails students serving as consultants to solve a problem for a corporation. RMI MBA students facilitate committees that work toward the project’s goals. I found myself ducking projected images during one of their video conferences.
Some of our students are Teaching Assistants. With the aroma of exotic lunches still in the air, they moved the recent issues of the Wall Street Journal from the conference table and spread large piles of exams to grade. Their work will take them into the evening. Another student planted herself at her typical corner workspace with a laptop, a binder, papers, and a bag of sunflower seeds while talking with another student about an upcoming meeting with an alumnus. The students discussed a book that they are all reading this semester, Designed for Digital, for a short time before individually digging into their work. The spirit of collaboration is as evident as the dedication to their responsibilities.
My favorite part about the risk space is the laughter and the gentle teasing among the students and staff. One student is admonished for changing the space’s energy flow by “sitting in the wrong chair.” Someone else wants the director to make sure their class’s eventual graduation photo appears above all of the other photos. They toss around hilariously ridiculous ideas that will arguably ensure that they win the MBA program’s annual spring video competition. To me, laughter is the hallmark of a healthy community. And it is one of the best parts about the risk space that lives.
Linda Barrett is the Assistant Director of the RMI MBA.