Now, I’m not exactly a football-savvy person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like joining in on the fun when the SU campus floods the Carrier Dome. This past month has been Orange Central (homecoming weekend, parents weekend, and let’s not forget Halloween) here on campus, and our football team went head-to-head with the #1 team in the country. Needless to say, there was a pretty big crowd in attendance (43,295!), and as I looked around, I realized that being an SU football fan on game day is a lot like being an MBA student at Whitman. Here’s why:
1. It’s a family, and everyone has a common cause. In the Dome, we are all united in one common purpose: football. You know that the person sitting next to you wants the same things you do (a win, of course), and so for those few hours, you can relate to them on a deeper level than you could an average stranger on the street. They are your companions, a great big family, during that game. As an MBA student at Whitman, I know that all my peers are here for the same reason as I am and hope for the same things in their lives as I do. We all want success as much as we want to breathe. Sitting in class, I understand the motivations of the people on both my right and my left, and so we too are united as a family under a common cause. It’s a great feeling to know that you don’t have to justify your commitment to excellence to anyone, whether it’s in football or academics.
2. Everyone still supports you if you make mistakes. If someone lets you down in the “real world,” it’s possible that you could remember that for a very long time. In football, however, the fans know that the players are going to make mistakes. They accept that fact and although they may groan when a perfect throw is dropped, they forgive the player within minutes. In Whitman’s MBA program, understanding the motivations of the people around you makes it easy to move on from mistakes as well. It may be frustrating if a project team member drops the ball (pun intended), but we know that they had the right intentions. We still support one another, no matter what.
3. The community suddenly becomes part of the school. Do you think that all of those 42,925 people were Syracuse students? Not even close! SU Athletics are a huge part of being a Syracuse resident, and the community here takes a lot of pride in calling themselves SU fans. For a few hours, the school and the community become one entity, cheering and groaning together, feeding off one another’s emotions, and holding each other up. The Whitman MBA program and the Syracuse community are also an integral part of one another. From the Whitman Consulting Club to class projects to summer internships, the community relies on the MBA students to help them work through their challenges and the MBA students rely on the community to help us learn and grow as business people. We are one.
4. You are a brand ambassador. If you are headed to an SU football game, you had better be wearing orange (or at least blue)! Fans sport every kind of orange apparel from t-shirts to fuzzy orange wigs in support of their team. It is a fan’s responsibility to show that they are an SU supporter, and they will go out of their way to make sure they are upholding that responsibility. Fans want the rest of the world to know how exciting their fandom is and how proud they are to be a part of it. I can say the same thing for Whitman MBA students. If I introduce myself to you, one of the first ten words out of my mouth is going to be not only that I am an MBA student, but that I am an MBA student at Whitman. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing program, and we want the entire world to know it!
5. You are a part of something bigger than you. Out of 43,295 people, it can be hard to think that just one person can make a difference to the way the world sees Syracuse. However, the cameras are constantly scanning the crowd, looking for outrageous or extremely excited fans to spotlight on the big screen or on national television. You may not be one of those people this time around, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. You are a part of that giant swell of orange that ESPN is recording. It is fantastic to know that you have a direct impact on the way the world sees SU Athletics, just like it’s amazing to know that by achieving excellence in everyday academics, you are contributing to Whitman and its impact on the world. To be an MBA student here is to leave a mark for all future MBA students. Each person passing through this program leaves it a little better and helps the world know just how groundbreaking, prestigious, and exciting the Whitman School is. It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than you, but together we make it bigger yet.
I may not have a football helmet or pom-poms, but in this MBA program I am a player and a cheerleader all in one. My peers and I help this program be the best it can be. Like the fans (and the players) of a giant football game, we support one another and our program all season long and beyond. And we are proud.
HERE WE GO WHITMAN, HERE WE GO!