Photo Credit: Justin Essig
Saturday, February 4 was a busy day for the University of Illinois’s MBA program. That morning, the Admissions team held Investigate Illinois, where perspective students ate breakfast with the Dean, sat in on a marketing class, had lunch with current students, participated in tours and interviewed with the Admissions team. After Investigate Illinois was over, and the sun began to set, it was time to celebrate the Lunar New Year with the MBAA Diversity Association. First-year student, Osborne Wang, told me about his experience participating in the celebration:
It was 6:50pm Saturday, and guests were already arriving. The Chinese (Lunar) New Year Celebration was about to begin! The members of our event planning team had already been on site at the venue since noon preparing for the event. We had been rehearsing for this event all week. The excitement was electrifying.
Under the fireplace mantle image of Cai Shen, the God of Fortune, the traditional lanterns, and Chinese characters signifying prosperity and happiness, our classmates and friends started to fill the event room. Our host, Bohr, opened up the festivities with “BOBEE”, a song Reese had prepared. At that moment, everyone came out in traditional dress to formally welcome the event guests. “Bobee” is Taiwanese for “god bless you.”
At that point, Simon and I came out and performed a Lion Dance. LJ gave an intense martial arts performance. Li-Ting and Hui then brought in the audience with a raucous eating contest. The contestants and cheering guests were awesome. A delicious dinner had been negotiated by Wan-Shan and Wen, followed by an intense Balloon War and Bamboo Dance. Finally, Cai Shen himself joined the event! A total of 122 guests celebrated the Lunar New Year with us.
Being a part of this event was a fascinating experience. I was told by several people that they had a fantastic time. Two classmates even wrote that we had “the best event planning team” and “best social media marketing campaign” they had ever seen. What struck me was how we didn’t run into any terrible obstacles. This was possible because each time one of us had trouble, a friend came to the rescue. Everyone gave the best of their talent and effort. People had even picked out prizes and event items while back home in China or Taiwan for winter vacation. Through these efforts, we saw our event’s offerings grow more than we had planned and better for each person’s contribution. The experience was a chance to learn how to plan an event and organize a large undertaking. It was about presenting a great show, involving the audience, and giving them a fun, exciting, and memorable night. Most importantly, it was a wonderful chance to share and celebrate with all of our classmates and guests the beginning of an amazing new year.
Osborne described this celebration perfectly. Being able to learn about different cultures while having fun with your colleagues is one of the best part of the Illinois MBA program. I am so excited to see what the rest of the semester brings!