Monday, December 18, 2006

Rodney Dangerfield!

As the subject line hints, I'm going back to school. Not full-time mind you; I think that ship left the dock a long time ago. However, as of last Wednesday, I am officially a student of Willamette University's Professional MBA program.

Becca and I had talked about my going back to school for a while; I really felt that getting my MBA would allow me to strengthen my general business knowledge base. This more formal training would complement the on-the-job training I've had to date working for smaller companies. When we knew we were going to move back to Portland this fall, I started researching part-time MBA programs. For me, part-time was going to be the best way to get my MBA while also still gaining additional work experience. As a result, the one program that really stood out was Willamette's. The professional MBA is a newer program but its length (2 years as opposed to 3+), its class size (15-20) and the fact that it's focused towards working professionals put it in the proverbial driver's seat.

So over the past month or so, I'd invested in a GMAT study guide and started to do some preliminary work targeting a Fall 2007 start date. I knew that there was a January class but that realistically the house wouldn't sell in time and that it was probably too much to do in a too little time. Right after Thanksgiving, as we finished signing the contract addendum for the house, I got an email from the director of the program (who I'd been trading emails with). In it she stated that a spot had opened up for the January 07 class and that there was still time to apply. Would I be interested in doing so?

That was December 1st. After getting some concerns addressed and discussing it again and again with Becca, I elected to apply. An appealing aspect of the sudden turnaround was that I could get a large part of the program done before any hypothetical kids were around. Plus it would allow me to get started right after moving. As Becca and I discussed, if it was something I was going to do in the next five years, why not now?

So with that I had to move quickly. I can safely assure you that you can get a business school application done in a week, but I highly recommend not doing it while you're also packing a house and dealing with neurotic buyers. It also involves having extremely flexible and great people doing your letters of recommendation (thanks Drew and Jody!). However just under two weeks after I started the application, I was granted conditional acceptance to the program (I still have to take the GMAT's during the first quarter) and am left with another list of exciting to-do's to get done before the start of school.

I have to admit I'm excited about this opportunity. I actually know two people going through the program and they have felt it was a great mix of classroom learning as well as hands-on, more practical experience. In addition, having something to focus on upon our return to Portland will hopefully allow me to use my time wisely, what with school, looking for a job and a new home all on the docket.

At the same time, some nervousness does pervade. I haven't been in a classroom in almost 10 years. I'm scared witless about the idea of taking notes on my laptop (granted I type quicker than I write at this point). Never mind taking an exam on a computer; I may have to go old school and request a blue book. Do they even still have blue books?

Despite the yin-yang feeling regarding school, I'm excited. Education is always a worthwhile investment and this program should allow me to gain a strong business acumen while also continuing to build my work resume. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Finance being one of my first two classes, but I guess whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.

I'm sure as classes get going you'll get the occasional MBA story. Hopefully it'll be more ha-ha funny vs. WHY DID I DO THIS?

More missives from the hallowed halls of academia-


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!!! What great news. (Sorry you have to study and take finals again...but I have a feeling it will be well worth it!)