The End of an Era

This weekend, I’ll be graduating with my MBA. After this, I’m pretty much done with formal education. There are more degrees I could get, but there’s not much benefit to it. As such, this will be my last ever use of the “win win (win)” tag. (Awww…) Random thoughts on being done:

  • It’s not as hard as everyone says it is. (Granted, I intentionally picked a school for proximity and convenience rather than academic challenge.) You’ll hear people say that it’s tough to set aside time and that it’s so much work. What you have to do is make priority decisions. I effectively gave up on Bridge during this time; I played occasionally but didn’t do any study of the game. I held off on starting a serious running plan. I didn’t take on extra projects at work (as much). I also made clear lines between parts of my life. I would not work on school while at work and vice versa. Likewise, I always made sure to carve out time for home projects and tasks. I will say that if I had additional work or priorities that I couldn’t re-arrange (e.g., single parent), it would have been tough, but for most, I think it’s easier than people will make it sound.
  • I should also highlight some of the tools that really helped me along the way: RTM was a godsend for keeping up with assignments. Microsoft OneNote was also awesome (and I wish I could say that Evernote is as good, but it isn’t…the syncing is great, but the note-taking is far less awesome than OneNote). SugarSync kept my school files sync’d between my home, school, and work computers, so, in a pinch, I could print out a paper or presentation from anywhere. GoToMeeting let me have effective meetings with groups remotely.
  • You get what you want out of an MBA. If you just want a piece of paper, that’s what you’ll get. If you use it as an opportunity to improve areas of yourself and your leadership potential, you’ll get that instead. On that note, while it can be comforting to stay in the same working group throughout your MBA, by necessity of how I took classes, I had to switch groups often. I think that gave me far better experience handling different group dynamics. I often just went with whatever group was the leftovers. That meant I sometimes dealt with people that were not the best or brightest, and, while it added stress and was a pain in the ass, that is valuable.
  • This may not be true everywhere, but I do think that at least 80% of what I learned while earning this degree is directly applicable, not just to my job but to my life. I can’t say that about my undergrad. Getting my MBA in many ways made me a better person. It helped me fine tune my strengths and learn how to manage my weaknesses. My undergrad was an exercise in proving I knew how to think. This degree was more about developing me as a leader while giving me a basis to understand the parts of a business.

My Dad is already in town, and more friends and family will be “dribbling in” over the next few days. I am very excited. My Master’s hood makes me look positively medieval. It’s wicked cool. Pictures will, of course, be posted as the weekend develops.

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