Today, on my way back from my trip to Glendalough, Wicklow on a rainy day, I feel that I love my MBA friends, my room in Proby House and my flatmates more than ever before. And I want to say my thank you to all people around me who make my time meaningful and invaluable in every single moment.
My special thank to Rikke who has been organizing everything for us since we arrived here in Dublin in August, to my classmates who comes here to share and learn for whatever reasons, my Group 6 who helps me to get things done together, and Linda who encourages and motivates me to study Continue reading The importance of friendship to an MBA
Ah yes, another wonderful Saturday. It would be like almost any Saturday except for the fact that I have a very busy day. Holding a full-time job and being a part-time MBA means that Saturday morning is no longer a day to sleep in, but a day to get some much-needed work done. Today, there is a full schedule. In the morning I will be collaborating with my group on some group projects. In the afternoon, a networking workshop awaits me on the other side of town. But for now, let’s figure out how we can efficiently restructure the supply chain for the world’s leading pasta maker… Barilla. In bocca al lupo!
I was thinking about how I could describe life on the Full Time MBA, when a verse of The Beatles song “A Day in the Life” came to mind (well the title, and a Google search actually);
Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream
The song is from the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album. It has been described as the first ‘concept album’; dealing with a single issue through various songs. Is this a metaphor for the MBA or what?
Anyone who has undergone, or is undergoing, an MBA will understand the various images the above conjures. However, not so many FTMBA students have had the MBA Dad/Mum experience. Nor have they had the 40+ experience. Each brings its own nuances, but the combination creates a fascinating experience; the experience of experience; so to speak.
Dragged in many directions, yet strangely intact, I can honestly say that my experience has been no more difficult than that of the younger, single (or otherwise), FT MBA classmate; or of the ‘work all day’ and ‘study at night’ Executive MBA. What I lose in study time by maintaining a presence at home, is compensated for by my ability to devote full days to the course, a regular hour of Simpsons with Sadhbh (7) & Ailbhe (4), bedtime stories and the reality that once all of this is done my mind is clear and the MBA seems somewhat less oppressive or omnipresent. I cannot do it all, nor can any one of us, but I get more than enough from the time I do spend engaged in the daily MBA experience.
A number of my class mates are married with children, but typically there is no one version of this. One has just had his first child; the other’s wife is a stay-at-home mum. My wife travels a week a month with work so we have a child-minder; Sophie, who at 22 is more like a big sister/cousin than a governess. In fact her presence means that when Fiona is away I can stay in college until 5.30, so have a full day of study fun. Additionally, because Fiona has been in her current job for the past 18 months, we are acclimatised to not being a ‘both parents home at six’ family.
One aspect of the course I feel I ‘missed’ was the evening/night sessions in the Syndicate Rooms. To see the cross pollination of ideas and solving of problems between project groups, as classmates flitted between syndicate rooms, was to see the power of the MBA. “Sorry, but I must be home for six to relieve Sophie” was a regular refrain from me. As a result I think I missed the intense bonding of the first term. I had to make an effort to take on additional work, to make up for missing the group work done during those hours. In fact it is virtually impossible to make up this work, so thanks to those with whom I worked in groups; it’s good to help the elderly!
As I mentioned in my previous missive, I entered the MBA programme hoping to draw together the strands of my varied work experiences; I needed a focus. Many of my contemporaries sought breadth, or a broader view of the business world. Both are available on the MBA. In fact both are compulsory; nothing is excluded in the package the MBA offers. The course is suited to all shapes and sizes of student and it is this that makes it so worthwhile.
P.S. I wouldn’t look up the full lyrics of “A Day in the Life” as they are rather depressing; the selective focus of the MBA in action, perhaps!
I have met no one who does the MBA all by themselves; such a travail would be foolhardy to attempt on one’s own.
That is not to say that there isn’t a lot of lonely nights in the library perspiring over possible questions that might come up on the next day’s exam – there most certainly is! But, throughout all of this, it has been vital to have people to lean on – both emotionally and physically.
So who are these heroes?
These tireless people who put up with the whinging, the exasperation and exhaustion, and the absenteeism?
Having discussed the point with classmates, I can say that support has been overwhelming in positivity and strength and comes in all forms: parents, siblings, partners, offspring, friends, old work colleagues, college staff and lecturers…. The list is endless. It has to be acknowledged that when I am awarded the MBA, I won’t look at it as a personal achievement, but as a successful joint team effort.
Which brings me to BANANAS!
Figure 1: Claire, Mam, and I after the Cork Marathon 2011
Marathons are a lot like MBAs: you sweat a lot, it’s important to rehydrate regularly, and completion seems more important than results by mile 22. Each year I participate in the Cork City Marathon (The REAL marathon in Ireland). This year I shared the run with my sister, Claire. One of the most important factors in our completion, and a constant since I’ve being running in the Cork marathon, is the presence of our Mam by the side-lines – jumping up and down, shouting, and throwing bananas at us – she does resemble a crazed monkey, but it’s that encouragement and knowing the support is down the road that keeps us running.
So to all the side-line supporters on our MBA marathon – THANK YOU and one final request – it’s the final stretch, we need one final blast of encouragement to get us over the line.