Building Bikes and Relationships with the UNC MBA Program

How do you take a group of assertive, driven, outspoken people and turn them into a team that can work together?

Answer: Build a bike!

And not just one bicycle: image007 58 of them right alongside the underprivileged students receiving them, children who might not otherwise have a bike.

Team building is rewarding work on its own, but LTI is especially pleased to be part of a high impact project each year that combines team building with community service, mentoring, education, and professional development.

Each year we work with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School to do a team jumpstart training program for their MBA study teams. MBA students tend to be assertive, motivated, natural leaders. While that’s great for most business settings, working in a team where no one is in charge can be a challenge. Sound familiar? Often these are the same dynamics found in executive leadership teams, which is why the study team experience is such an important component of the MBA program.

As part of this program, the teams perform a bike-building exercise, which supports two of the Business School’s core values: teamwork and community. The 300 MBA students built 58 bikes, which were given to students from the Global Scholars Academy (GSA) in Durham, NC. This unique and progressive charter school is dedicated to helping underprivileged youth succeed in today’s world. Check out the fun video UNC created of the event.

image001But This Is So Much More Than Just Building A Bike!
Often, bike building programs center on handing a child a bike and saying good-bye, but LTI’s programs are different.  We focus on mentoring, teamwork, and making a real connection… things that have a positive impact far beyond the program. The bikes are simply a tool to help facilitate this process. So in addition to to personal rewards, teams become stronger by clarifying their goals, defining their values, and identifying clear expectations of one another.

Working alongside the GSA scholars, the MBA students focused on understanding the scholars personal challenges, who they are, and what they hope to achieve. The MBA students also shared stories of how and why they, as adults, chose to return to school. Through these conversations, they build the confidence and expectation that each GSA student has the same capacity to excel through education. The MBA students took to heart the concept of developing our leaders of tomorrow through mentoring, teamwork, and community.