For the past nine years, MBA students have come to campus a week early to get the lay of the land and work on a service project for their community. This year, all graduate programs at the David Eccles School of Business returned to campus to network, meet faculty and begin the year strong.

Melissa Pickett and Greg Larsen, who sit on the Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA), told me the club’s goal this year was to have all graduate students interact while setting the standards for the next two years. Over the summer the GBSA, led by efforts of Cody Neville, created a Standard Code of Conduct which they unveiled to their peers last week.

Larsen says, “From the first day, the expectations were made clear.” Dr. Abe Bakhsheshy and Dr. Harris Sondak led a panel discussion about corporate service and ethical behavior; both issues are top priorities at the school. Students had a Q&A with business leaders about how their companies incorporate corporate service responsibility into their corporate culture.

Week Zero also gave students a chance to join in a town hall meeting with Dean Taylor Randall and Associate Dean Christine Botosan. “In this session students were able voice concerns in a safe environment,” Larsen says. The dean’s team also reported back on action items from previous meetings. Both Larsen and Pickett feel this investment makes the David Eccles School of Business stand out from the rest.

During the week, second-year MBA students were matched up with first-year students to mentor them as they progress through the program. They began working in teams on service projects, which teaches students the importance of working together to achieve results. Larsen says “students are given a task and it’s up to each set to determine how to tackle the challenge, create a plan of who’s responsible for what, and create a structure for success.” He goes on to add, “This sets the foundation of respect, friendship and trust.” Pickett tells me, “Teamwork is real life.” In each business situation you’re told to work together, “but it’s not formally taught how to work with one another.