Seven UF MBA students on stage in front of a large crowd at Transformation Weekend
UF MBA students practiced their business improv skills on stage during Transformation Weekend.

UF MBA Transformation Weekend shakes up professional development with interactive learning experiences

At UF MBA, we focus on transforming you into your best professional and personal self. Aside from high academic settings and standards, UF MBA also provides professional development opportunities that teach you the communication, problem-solving, teamwork and other soft skills that employers are looking for in new hires.   

This year, UF MBA debuted a new, exciting avenue to build those skills – Transformation Weekend, an immersive experiential learning program for all UF MBA students. Transformation Weekend hosted a dynamic series of professional and career development workshops on topics like leadership, business communication and career enhancement, as well as a networking social and career fair.

Group of UF MBA students walking around a large group during Transformation Weekend

UF MBA students participate in business improv during Transformation Weekend.

More than 120 UF MBA students from across the Full-Time, Weekend Professional, Online and Executive programs had the chance to network with their peers throughout the entire weekend. While students were encouraged to attend all sessions as part of the transformative experience, they had to opportunity to select the specific events they thought best fit their professional and career development needs. Some unique event offerings that were designed to enhance students’ professional communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills included storytelling and business improv.

In Storytelling for Influence and Communication, students learned how to use storytelling to enhance their confidence and communication skills. Specifically, UF MBA students learned how to use personal examples for buy-in and impact, how to present data and information in a more interesting way and how to understand detail versus context.

Business Improv got students up on their feet in exercises that mixed experiential learning with discussions to boost students’ presentation confidence, adaptability, active listening, effective networking and conflict management.

Other events included Building Coalitions using Negotiation and Influence, in which students developed their negotiation and influence skills through a use of a simulated multiparty negotiation, Recruiter Case Exercise, which put students in the role of a recruiter to understand the process of evaluating talent and choosing candidates, and The 2-Hour Job Search, in which students gained insight and techniques from the book “The 2-Hour Job Search.”

Weekend Professional Two-Year South Florida student Khue Tran (MBA ’20) traveled from Boca Raton to Gainesville for the four-day event. She didn’t miss a single session Transformation Weekend had to offer and found it helped her grow in every way she could have hoped.

“This weekend is truly the heart of the UF MBA program because it is for anyone that wants to experience personal transformation,” she said. “It provided a crash course into some of the most important soft skills that you cannot learn in your MBA classes. It was an opportunity to meet other MBA cohorts to maximize all the benefits UF has to offer in addition to coursework.”

Group of UF MBA students standing in a circle receiving instruction on participating in a group exercise during Transformation Weekend

UF MBA students participate in business improv during Transformation Weekend.

Tran said the most memorable sessions for her were the workshops in negotiation, storytelling, business improv and the recruiter case study.

“I learned how to come out of my shell and was motivated to push myself to work harder to achieve my goals,” she said.

Out of all of the sessions, Tran said her favorite was business improv, even though she was nervous to participate.

“I’ve always been a good listener and less of a participator, but I was forced to open up,” she said. “[Business improv] taught me how to engage in a conversation, listen and collaborate. I learned to suspend judgement and to strip away titles in a group setting. This creates a more collaborative and positive communication experience for everyone.

“In a judgement free zone where everyone’s status or titles are equivalent to one another, more ideas are generated and welcomed, which allows everyone to participate and accomplish more goals together.”

After attending Transformation Weekend, Tran said she would highly recommend the event to any UF MBA student, regardless of if they have to travel from South Florida or beyond to attend.

“This weekend went beyond my expectations,” she said. “[It] offers sessions that teach you things about yourself that you may not be aware of.”