Château Élan leadership retreat marked as highlight of EvMBA experience

The Goizueta Evening MBA Leadership Retreat at Château Élan will always stand out when I think back on my Emory EvMBA experience.

The Emory network was a big part of the reason I chose the program, and this weekend retreat solidified that choice for me. The venue, the programming and the time with friends all exceeded my expectations.

Château Élan was an ideal venue for this event. The golf courses and the winery provided a relaxed background for networking and building relationships. The food at the restaurant was good, and the pool provided for a lot of fun between programming. The onsite spa and winery also provided a “staycation” for many of the classmates’ significant others who joined us.

By this time, my classmates and I had already made friendships with many people in our cohort. This weekend placed us in close quarters with people from the other cohorts as well, and I got to develop some great relationships. The poolside networking event, the cooking class and the casino games provided an atmosphere where we could all kick back and have fun. The DJ and the dance floor provided for some late-night entertainment, and once you see members of your cohort dancing (or they see you), you’re all a little bit closer.

The lectures were informative and one provided several insights that I previously had not thought about when thinking of leadership. I enjoyed the time spent on recognizing your own brand and acknowledging your responsibility to shape that brand. If you don’t, others will do it for you. I also got a lot out of the discussion around the importance of finding our “purpose and calling.” When we work to let this guide us, leadership comes more naturally.

Dean James’ lecture on crisis management was an effective way to round out the weekend. She discussed a time that a CEO faced a terrible disaster, and the processes he implemented to recover and even turn it into a positive. I enjoyed it, and I think this is an area all leaders will face at some point in their careers.

It was a great weekend. Because this trip only occurs once during the program, my advice to future attendees would be to take advantage of the venue; go early to play golf or visit the winery with classmates. Take copious notes during the lectures, as there is a lot of valuable material that you will not want to forget. And have fun with your cohort!

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A.J. Long

A.J. Long is a 19EvMBA student and full-time Product Owner at Evestment (a Fin-Tech company founded by another EvMBA alum). His scholastic interests are Strategy, Data Science & Analytics, and Leadership. In his free time, he enjoys being active outdoors, travelling, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and spending time with his family. Connect with A.J. on LinkedIn.

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