Friday, December 05, 2008

Peaking at just the right time

Back to writing. Hoping to have a lot more time to write as a lot of things in my life reach a peak.

First and foremost, my MBA education is two classes and one final away from its conclusion. This past Monday I (hopefully) successfully presented and defended my final project. As Becca can attest, this project took up an inordinate amount of time over the past 14 weeks but 41 pages, 20 PowerPoint slides and a 15 minute presentation later, my primary research on customer satisfaction for a local Portland firm is complete and if do say so myself, not half bad. I'm not the greatest public speaker by any stretch of the imagination but my final presentation was one of the first times I've felt truly comfortable up speaking in front of a group. Heck, I even transitioned to the wrong slide and was comfortable enough to quickly shift the topic, address the "new" slide and continue to move right along (the issue with shifting the order the day before the final presentation). I can definitely point towards this as one of the things that my MBA program has helped me the most with. Doing group projects and having to get up in front of people to present findings has definitely helped me become more comfortable with speaking outside of my more comfortable areas of 1-1 or small groups.

I'll likely have more to reflect on once I'm done with the program but getting my MBA has been a bit of a mixed bag. My classmates have been great; while some have put a greater effort than others into the program everyone is there to learn and when push comes to shove are willing to put in the time and effort to be successful. Now the amount of time or effort largely depends on how challenging our professors are. With Willamette's Portland program being a relatively new program, teaching quality has been a bit of a mixed bag. As a result, unless properly challenged the class as a whole tended to step up (or down) to the quality of professor. Additionally, with the program being new our class have had to deal with the program not always being well organized from certain perspectives. For example, as a student I should not have to be proactively asking for information regarding our final project in the weeks before we're supposed to start.

There's a part of me that wishes I'd tried to apply to the upper echelon business schools. But life is about choices; Becca and I had made ours to live in Portland and haven't regretted it one bit. With a new nephew here, another on the way plus our own baby 16 weeks away from joining us we're very happy to be here and within spitting distance of the family. And the program has allowed me to learn quite a bit, challenge myself in places, learn across a number of fields what constitutes good customer service, meet some very great people who I plan on staying in touch with and potentially even help me come up with a business idea or two. So with a slight tinge of what could have been, I finish my MBA program this Tuesday. Exciting stuff.

With one major mental milestone comes an accompanying physical one. I leave in about 7 hours to fly down to Sacramento and run the California International Marathon. Late in the summer during my effort to get in shape for Hood to Coast, I decided that now was as good a time as any to train for a marathon. Unlike my effort in the 2004 Twin Cities Marathon, my goal this time is not simply to finish. My primary goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon (since I'd be running it in 2010, my qualifying time is 3:15). My 20 mile training runs have been around this pace so I feel good about my chances of hitting this number. However, come race day it can be a completely different story. With a net downhill course however, I wouldn't be surprised if I make it well under the 3:15 number. For now I get to settle for being edgy physically due my tapering my mileage, neurotically mentally as i check and recheck my packing list and just generally ready to be done so I can start drinking beer and eating fried foods again.

The one constant through all of this? The support of Becca. She's been my absolute rock providing me everything from in depth counsel on my MBA work to chocolate milk and bagels after my Sunday long runs. Come Wednesday morning, I'm all hers again. And sweetie? I promise to start working on the nursery on Wednesday :)

Off to go catch a flight and run fast. More from the other side.


1 comment:

SethG said...

Is 3:04 less than 3:15? Yes it is.

Nice work young man!