By Alina Buzgar, Editor-in-Chief
Between group meetings, papers, readings, and looming deadlines, more than 40 W. P. Carey students and T-birds took a bit of time off to play sports together on the Thundebird Rugby field on the sunny afternoon of March 18.
While there were several sporadic opportunities for our students to meet and interact at career events during the past year, many agree something was missing. “We hear about W. P. Carey but we haven’t met them,” says Brad Hoffa (MGM ’17, US) organizer of the event. “This event was organized as a networking opportunity and a chance to know each other while having fun. The idea was inspired by other Thunderbird events and in true T-bird fashion a sporting event turned into the olympics” he adds. Along with Brad, Sindhuja Reddy (MBA ’16, India), Andrea Kaloush (MA ’17, US) and Ellen Alexander (MA ’17, US) took charge of the event preparations.
Students played kick-ball, volleyball, soccer, touch football and acroyoga. By 4pm everyone cheerfully gathered at the Pub for beer and lunch. Cody Sexton, MBA candidate with W. P. Carey, says “The experience was wonderful. I loved the opportunity to interact with the students from Thunderbird in a casual environment. The weather was perfect and the sports allowed for a relaxed setting in which students could get to know each other in a more personal way. I enjoyed meeting everyone from Thunderbird and I hope that there are similar events in the future.”
Ellen says “I had a great time! From what W. P. Carey students shared with me in the Pub (which they loved!), they had a wonderful time too. Several expressed interest in maintaining the regularity of this event. At the end of the day, the competition was fun, the weather was beautiful, and the networking was great. Throughout the day, I was struck by how much we have in common with the W. P. Carey students. I’m looking forward to making this event a tradition and watching it grow.” Andrea agrees and she adds “The Thunderbird vs. W. P. Carey Olympics was a success! We had a great turnout on both sides and the friendly competition was a great way to introduce ourselves to one another. We originally wanted to make this an annual event, but both sides agreed that we should aim to hold it every semester. It was a fun way to meet new people and a good opportunity to learn about some of their past experiences.”
Christen Collins, MBA candidate at W. P. Carey, added “I would enjoy playing sports any day but the Thunderbird students are what really made the day special. From the get-go we were encouraged to engage with one another and I immediately felt welcomed onto campus. I am thankful for having the opportunity to meet so many remarkable individuals and for the enthusiasm that was brought to the field! The Thunderbird Olympics was an incredible event and I’m hoping for round two next year.”