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Coming Out from Behind the Screen: MBS’s Meet & Greet on October 19, 2021

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Rutgers Gardens provided the perfect backdrop for the seeds of collaboration, relationships, and inspiration as students of Rutgers Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree program gathered for a fantastic event.

There was a chill in the air; however, no one felt it under the covered and canopied space, which included ten socially-distanced, round tables prepared for our registered team. While not everyone could make it, we had quite a crowd!  Many came as they made their way to other classes (or Zoom sessions).

Curiosity Fuels Conversation

The night provided an opportunity to become engaged and curious, as curiosity fuels conversation, which was an underlying theme of the evening. On each table were a set of questions that served as conversation-starters—and, in true MBS fashion, there was no lull in any conversation! Great energy and great connections were sparking all night long.

We demonstrated that it takes about 15 seconds to find three things in common with another person. Looking to basics: the program, the academic concentration, the food, what music we like, where we’ve traveled, where we live—all are potential commonalities. We focused on these questions:  “What do we have in common?”  and “In what ways are we similar?”  The conversation ignited.  

Of course, another thing everyone in the room had in common was with our facilitators: executive coaches Kathleen Cashman-Walter (Professor Kathleen) and Jack Levitt, as well as with MBS’s executive director, Deborah Silver, Ph.D., and key MBS members Paul Takhistov, Ph.D., Beth Ann Murphy, Ph.D.,and executive coach Alycia John, who all joined in welcoming students and creating the environment of the evening. 

This wonderful array sparked commonalities of course learnings and personal insights gained.

Enlightening Engagement

During a more formal and intimate discussion, we shared thoughts on what we felt were our individual “superpowers,” things we learned in 2020, details about places to which we have traveled, and how students who had not previously interacted now had reasons to talk! The after-event conversations were energizing as well.

The reality of today and our digital communication was, of course, a focus—and we shared strategies, actions, and challenges for how to accommodate this reality. We all walked away with implementable actions that had great potential impact— demonstrating the real key to the MBS success:  we help turn your knowledge into knowhow!


The most common query was a two-part question:

Q. Are we going to have other events like this?  If so, when? 

A. YES! We are planning several events, among them: the MBS Spooktacular on Thursday, October 28!(REGISTER NOW!) Halloween gives us a night of interaction.  

In December, we are looking to creatively provide similar conditions for an end-of-year celebration– be on the lookout for details.

For All Students: One Thing You Can Do Right Now!

Commit to yourself that each day you will interact with someone new.  Reach out in your classes, work through chats, have virtual coffee with a fellow student from your concentration or a different concentration, reach out to a work colleague on your team or a different team, reach out to a potential customer or someone in your LinkedIn network.  Reach out to someone you don’t know! The worst thing that could happen? They don’t respond right away.  

If you build it, it will come. (The “it” here is “opportunity!”)  If, for the next year—for the next 365 days—you met and built relationships with one new person each day? What would happen? How would you benefit?  All it takes to begin building is you deciding you are worth it!

How can we help?  Let us know. Do not hesitate to reach out! 

Here are a few words shared at the close of the event to describe the event:

Awesome, energizing, inspiring, collaborative, fun, interesting, electrifying, meaningful, friends, Fabulous, can’t wait for the next one, glad I came, salad-rific, connection, reflection, exuberant, Actively Listen, question, don’t limit yourself, positive, Effervescent, excellent, lively, Magnificent, magic, energetic, Friendship, Emotional, Happy, Intriguing.

Kathleen Cashman
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