May 2000 archives

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Saturday, May 6, 2000

Parting Shots 2000

(or, some of what I learned this year)

Wow. Where do I begin? There were so many things that I could touch on. But I'm going to concentrate here on what the MBA program's first year gave me, because that was my life for the most part this year.

On one of my previous thoughts I talked about "touchpoints". I defined a touchpoint as anything, anywhere, or anyone that you can go to and feel at least somewhat comfortable around. This year one of the things that I learned was that the MBA program doesn't offer too many of these. It's not its fault; it's its nature to be difficult. Some of the people, however, became very good touchpoints. For possibly the first time, I've made really good friends in my classes. I think that that's because we all went through this together; we're the only ones who understand what we've managed to accomplish (well, the only ones at this university, anyway). And that's not just first-years (I don't know if you'll ever read this, but if you do, thank you so much for everything, Mandy).

I've been reminded once again that you really can't change your way of acting, even around new people. I'm still not that comfortable around large groups of people, and I don't know if that will ever change; much as I tried to be outgoing, I'm still not at the comfort level where I'd like to be. I've learned that not having that ability is kind of difficult in the business world. You need to be outgoing to really make it. Luckily, I've managed to learn how to pull off extroversion in two-hour or so spurts. It's still not easy, though.

I learned that business school isn't easy by any stretch. I've learned that Peter Robinson was absolutely right, and I recommended his book to practically every prospective student that I hosted this year. That is not to say that business school wasn't worth it. On the contrary, I think that it was, overwhelmingly so in fact.

And yes, I learned a lot about statistics, accounting, economics, organizational behavior, production and operations management, finance, management information systems, and yes, even marketing. And that's the truth. One of the big reasons that I came to this program was to get an understanding of the basics of business, and I think that I've done so.

What else has this program given me? For one, a new mindset towards solving problems. Before, problem solving meant having the problem and designing a solution to it, be it a computer program or a mathematical equation. Now, problem solving includes actually figuring out what the problem is. It's given me a whole new way of thinking about everyday things. I've had to learn a lot of teamwork concepts. Most of my projects in my undergraduate days were either solo or with like-minded individuals. Here, I've had to deal with people from vastly different backgrounds, and while I didn't normally take the lead on things, I did when I had to. I've learned even more about time management. I admit, I thought that they were feeding us buzzwords at the beginning of the year when they talked about it. But I've learned that sometimes it's impossible to get it all done the way you want it done, so you just need to do as good a job as you can on all of it, but make sure that it all gets done.

But what's perhaps the biggest thing that this program gave me this year was a sense of accomplishment. Not many people choose to go down this road, and not all of them make it. I started out with no business acumen, and I've come a long way since then. I feel that whatever decision I make concerning my career, I'll be better equipped to do it as a result of this year.

I haven't learned yet what I want to do with my life. Luckily, I've got another year to figure that out. :) I've got a few ideas running around my mind right now about what I want to do with my life that I would never have thought too much about before this year. We'll just have to see what the next year holds to see what I'll do with those ideas.