An adventure called OBS

Each year, Outward Bound School (OBS) provides NUS MBA students with a team-building rite-of-passage.

Talking of NUS- MBA traditions, here’s one of the earliest that every new batch encounters: The Outbound Singapore, commonly referred to as the OBS. It’s a 2 day team building program conducted by Outward Bound on the Pulau Ubin island of Singapore.

We started early Friday morning from College in pre-arranged buses and reached the Punggol beach. From there we were ferried to the Pulau ubin where upon reaching, we headed straight for food!

Immediately afterwards we gathered in a huge hall and were given a brief introduction to the program. What followed immediately were games that reminded me of 5th grade…and reminded me how easy making new friends used to be with those simple games. Which was exactly what happened here..while a few minutes ago most of us were half asleep, now all of us were either laughing or smiling holding hands sitting in groups. The program was working already!!

The program then went on to splitting us into 4 (or was it 5?) groups, each assigned to its own physical trainer. The first session was a theoretical session of various personality types and taught us basics of MBIT. Far from usual classroom sessions, which so often work as sedatives, this one was fun, laughter and lots of interaction!

The rest of the day went entirely into learning Rock climbing. It was exciting, exhilarating and challenging! Not to mention amazing team spirit which usually shows itself only in sports, especially so in adventure sports. The evening was a hilarious skit-enactment session which totally wore off the fatigue borne during the day.

We woke up the next day in excitement and eagerness, not knowing what to expect. And voila! We were presented with a target to achieve?!!

The task was that we had to sail into the sea to a certain point, hoist the NUS-MBA flag and come back. Oh and the rafts that we were to sail on…we had to build them!! And did I tell you there were no raw materials to do that!! And no money to buy them either!! Welcome to MBA!!

So were presented with a 5 page draft which said we could involve in certain activities (read play some games ), earn money, buy raw material, build the rafts, sail on them, hoist the flag and come back. On the same rafts. Before 2 PM.

Quickly some of us fell into action by developing the business plan and timelines, one team formed itself into building the rafts, another into designing the flag and others split themselves into various teams playing various concurrent games. The entire batch worked in harmony and people moved from one team to another, playing..ahem I mean working as hard as possible to earn as much money as possible [ sounded like real life!! ] Finally, after a long morning’s work, it was all done. We had made the money, built the rafts and had a hearty lunch. We were now all set to sail. So the lightest 48 of us [ we had built the rafts 😉 ] sailed to the destination, successfully hoisted the flag and returned jubilant

.nus mba student activities obs 2008

If we had thought the day before was a display of team work..this activity surpassed that experience manifold.

Post lunch was a relaxed chit-chat session followed by delicious bar-be-queue. And then it was time to say goodbye. Not before we all got “OBS Successful Completion” certificates though!!

Back on mainland, all of us were tired but happy. Knowing that the last 2 days would be some of the most cherished memories of our MBA program.

Shipra Gupta
MBA class of 2010