Sunday, April 15, 2012
One of my classmates can make Excel sing. She put together a spreadsheet, complete with a pie chart and a bar graph and a real time countdown to our last class in hundredths of a second. This morning I watched it roll down to less than a million seconds to go.
I'm meeting my study group this afternoon to put the finishing touches on our leadership presentation. My individual paper and presentation for Strategy is done, I just have to practice the presentation. I will have a take-home test in Strategy due a week from Thursday.
I feel exhilarated, anxious, scared, and a little bit let down that we're almost done. It's been a tremendous ride, and I've learned so much about myself. I'm looking to take this MBA and use it to springboard into a new job. Whether that's with my current employer or not remains to be seen. I'm about to step through an open door, and I want to keep all of my options open.
I've been thinking about what I've learned in grad school, and it's so much more than how to deal with conflicts and how to motivate people and how to do capital budgeting and how to calculate the breakeven point (F/p-v, if you care.)
1) Teams are wonderful things. My first day of class I was terrified. I hadn't been in school in (mumbly mumbly) years and math was not my strong suit. My first class was Managerial Economics. I knew theoretically what the professor was talking about, but throw a bunch of numbers at me and I was lost. I was standing outside on the patio during the break, eating my banana, thinking I should just go in, shut down my laptop, and go home. I couldn't do this. Then a wonderful thing happened.
We broke out into our study groups to answer some of the chapter questions in the book. The first two were easy, just true/false. But then there was a math question and I had no idea how to approach it. Two of the guys in my group were math whizzes (one was an engineer, the other worked in finance) and they both looked at me and said, "Just solve for zero."
Ohhhhhh! Got it! I learned right there that while I knew I had the support of my family, I also had some very smart people in my class who could help me with things I didn't understand. Which gets me to my second lesson:
2) Just because I don't know something doesn't mean I can't learn it. For about the first half of the 22 month program I would look at the new syllabus and panic. I had no idea what the professor was talking about, how was I ever going to learn? Then I started to realize not only was I there to LEARN, the professor was there to TEACH. As the class went on, the syllabus made more and more sense and I realized that I just needed to have patience, the professor was going to explain the concepts and I would learn them. And finally:
3) If I don't understand something, someone can help me, but I have to ask. I would say I was not shy about asking questions. I figured if I didn't understand something, someone else didn't either. (This held true with one professor, who while was very smart couldn't teach worth a lick, and by asking him to verify something I was able to force him to go back to the beginning and walk us step by step through the problem, which made things so much clearer.) I am smart, but there are certain concepts I have not been exposed to. I have learned it's okay to ask for clarification to make sure I understand something.
I'm also a believer of a line from an old Cadillac commercial (which I believed GM lifted from Dizzy Dean), "It ain't bragging if you can do it." I did poorly on the GMAT. However, I will be graduating with a 3.9 GPA (I got two A-, the rest were As, and I feel confident about this semester too) and I was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society.
I did it. Now let's see what I can do with it.