March 26th, 2013 by Rebecca under Uncategorized. No Comments.
Okay, so get this: we just did Weekend 10. I can hardly believe it! It seems impossible that the next time I sit in class, I will be counting down in the single digits. And the last weekend starts on Sunday and is actually a full week, as we are in residence for the final business simulation. So really, 8 weekends left!
Of course, there’s a lot to be done between now and then. Homework this week: two quizzes for IT strategy; a problem set for operations management; and two written assignments for strategic innovation. Plus work on my group ALP, and I’d better start making some inroads on my individual ALP as well. So a great deal of work, but most of it quite interesting.
During weekend 10 we had a group “seminar” presentation for Ethical Leadership. We were assigned groups–so I had the chance to work with a couple of people I hadn’t worked with before–and assigned a topic–in our case, “What is ownership?” and the issue of corporate ownership vs. corporate control. It turned out to be complex and unexpectedly fascinating. (I learned that in a legal sense, corporations kind of own themselves. Huh.) We spent some time doing research and gathering information, which was supposed to include historical background, major legal cases, and a comparison of the roles of corporate shareholders, managers and boards of directors. Then we had to figure out how to present that information to our classmates in a way that was comprehensive, concise and preferably not boring.
After some discussion, my group came to the idea of doing a kind of mini case study with some inductive discussion as a way to engage our classmates with the material. They really loved this idea. I also loved the idea, in theory, but I was afraid that it might give us some trouble in practice. After all, it is pretty easy to cover a topic — stick bullets on a slide and read aloud. It’s a lot harder to uncover a topic–to lead a group of people through a thought process that will bring them to the conclusion you want them to reach. It takes time and patience and preparation. The teachers I like best all teach this way, and it’s the way I learn the most, so it really was quite a good idea. I just wasn’t sure we could pull it off. But my guys were so excited about the prospect that I couldn’t bring myself to be a wet blanket. I also couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing them, so I worried about being able to do my piece credibly.
But it went well. Even my part went well! I was pleased. Speaking in public makes me uncomfortable, so I was a fretful wreck the night before we presented. (Of course I knew that was ridiculous. Presenting in front of the cohort is like a school choir performing in front of an audience of grandparents–you just can’t find a more supportive venue.) I was grateful for the opportunity to practice doing something that makes me uncomfortable in a setting that was as low-stress as it could possibly be. So special thanks to Farooq, Rob, Mondiu and Chris for making me give it a try.
February 25th, 2013 by Rebecca under Uncategorized. No Comments.
I can’t believe that February is almost over. January was a blur of classwork and homework; I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails the entire time. This was particularly painful after our December stress-fest, which left me wanting to curl up on the sofa with a blanket and a book till spring.
But I did eventually get through January, and February had a mercifully quiet start. During Weekend 13 we were introduced to the individual ALP we’ll be working on over the next six months (about leading a change in our organizations) and the second group ALP, which involves business problem solving. As with the first ALP, my classmates presented their ideas, and faculty then chose which ones would become projects. I’ll be working on my classmate Tiffanee’s online fashion retail site.
We were also introduced to operations management, which, while quantitative, seems more like accounting (sensible) and less like finance (voodoo). This past weekend (Weekend 12! Not that I’m, you know, counting or anything) we began a class in strategic information systems. Next time we meet we’ll start our second ethics class. We’re moving right along.
I would like to be more excited, but I’m just so tired. I am tired of reading, tired of writing, and particularly tired of letters pretending to be numbers. I’m tired of doing homework after a day of work and errands and feeding people. I’m tired of never having a day off even when I have a day off. I’m tired of having to tell people “No, I’m not watching Downton Abbey/Mad Men/Breaking Bad/Modern Family” and “No, I can’t come to your birthday party/wedding/shower/concert/show” and “No, I haven’t read that article/book/blog that you just know I’ll love so much.”
Motivation is low, is what I’m saying. I was feeling bad about it, but then my classmates came to my rescue again. Turns out I am not the only person feeling burned out. And I’m not sure why knowing that helps, but it does.
Eh, on to homework. Homework for weekend 11 includes a five-page case analysis, a homework set for operations management, a quiz for strategic information systems, and a boatload of reading. Time to get to it.
January 9th, 2013 by Rebecca under Uncategorized. No Comments.
When I go back to class this Friday, it will be Weekend 15. Only 15 weekends till I’m done! That means I’ve already finished 24 weekends! Finance is behind me, global economics is behind me, leadership is behind me. Accounting, data modeling, more accounting, strategy, marketing, managerial economics, ethics, all finished. Twelve months down, seven to go.
I feel like I’ve just done one of those really challenging hikes where you labor and labor and labor to get up the mountain, and when you finally reach the top you’re high on accomplishment: “I made it!” Then as the euphoria begins to fade, you look back at your trail and go: “****, that’s a long way down.”
That’s where I am—truly, deeply delighted that I’ve come so far, and trying to muster the energy for that final push back down the mountain. In January we have a month-long financial restructuring class—just 2 weekends, but every minute of those two weekends is the financial restructuring class. And there’s a final at the end. I hope I can learn enough in two weekends to pass a final; that seems pretty ambitious. Starting in February we have an operations management class, and we begin 2 more action learning projects (ALPs), one with a group and one that is individual. I know we have an IT strategy class, another strategy class and another ethics class still to come. Not sure what else awaits me on the road to Weekend 1, but it is cheering to have the end in sight.
Cheering, but tiring too. I’ve come such a long way! Still such a long way to go…
In just a couple of weeks the EMBA 13s will be joining us on the journey. Welcome, fellow travelers! Hope the pre-work is going well. We look forward to meeting you.