A story about how an Odyssey Teams philanthropic team building program enhanced a top-tier MBA program. Twenty years later the program is still reverberating through the community.

Why Academic Team Building Is Vital

Philanthropic team building isn’t just for professionals once they enter the workforce. Intentional learning through group activities at graduate level programs can elevate the entire program by creating professionals who see the larger picture and understand how small actions can have profound impacts on communities. 

In 1995, a business school brought Odyssey Teams’ Life Cycles to their students because the school wanted to teach leadership  in a way that would have a profound impact. We’ll call the business school ‘WU’ as they are still using this Odyssey Teams program in their curriculum and want to keep elements of it a surprise for their current students. 

The Impact On The Students

Odyssey Teams’ Life Cycles is a day-long workshop that shows students how their work and actions affects others in a way that creates a permanent cultural change in a future leader.

For the past 10 years, WU has been jumpstarting their business school orientation with Life Cycles to create the collegial environment that demands collaboration, instead of competition, from their students.

The Impact On The Community

At the end of every Life Cycles program, a representative on behalf of children who have just received brand-new bikes speaks to the students who have just built the bikes. At WU’s 2019 Life Cycles orientation, the youth organization representative was a bike recipient from the same orientation at the same university, ten years ago. His name is Kevin.

Kevin is the son of immigrant parents and didn’t have a lot of money growing up. “My mom reminds me of the only time I had ever asked for a toy, which was a Scooby-Doo plush doll, and it breaks her heart to this day as she couldn’t afford the only gift I had ever asked for. I also remember always passing by the bikes at Walmart and knowing I couldn’t have one because of our financial situation,” Kevin explained.

Kevin still remembers being a Boys & Girls’ Club kid at WU’s orientation and being shocked when he saw the brand new bikes roll into the room. He promised himself to never stop riding the bike because he was so grateful to the people provided it.

The gift of the bike from the 2009 business class, has never left Kevin. That experience is also part of the reason why he now serves as a staff member at that Boy’s and Girl’s Club.

The Legacy Created

One WU dean said that seeing Kevin and hearing his message of vulnerability and the importance of giving back was incredibly poignant. He shared with the future graduating class that this program and their efforts shaped his path in a big way. The energy spent during the Life Cycles program can expose a child to a whole new realm of life possibilities. 

With Odyssey Teams’ Life Cycles program, WU is communicating to their future business leaders, that there is always a person or another community  behind every product and mathematical model. 

By incorporating philanthropic team building into academic programs, students get inspired to think beyond themselves and become more fully-developed business leaders. 

Contact Odyssey Teams to receive a complimentary consultation on bringing Life Cycles, or another philanthropic program offering, to your academic institution. You can also reach Odyssey Teams at 800-342-1650.