Category Archives: Gavin

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MBA checklist

This is my MBA course checklist. Pen=completed. Pencil=still to do. Look at all that blue!

That’s how many days I have left until my MBA graduation. Woohoo! What? You think it’s weird that I know that?

Well, I guess you just have to be in a part-time grad school program to really understand. Don’t get me wrong…I’m learning a lot and am definitely glad that I pursued this path. Anyone who tells you that doing grad school part-time while working full-time is easy, though, is a big ol’ LIAR. It is many things, but easy isn’t one of them. I mean, you do the math. Think about how many days a week you get done at work and all you want to do is go plop down on your couch and catch up on your DVR…or have dinner with your family…or read a book of your choosing just for kicks…or go bowling.

I don’t know about you, but for me that’s pretty much every day, Monday through Friday. As you might imagine, MBA classes that run from 6:00-9:00 one or two nights a week and have hours worth of group work and homework associated with them make all of those things fairly impossible pretty frequently.

Don’t despair, though! The saving grace is that pretty much everyone else in the program is struggling with the same “not enough hours in the day” issue. As a result, people are pretty flexible when it comes to scheduling group meetings outside of class and being cognizant of people’s personal time and work commitments.

I’m thrilled to report that not only do I have just 157 short (I have to say it that way to myself or else it seems forever away) days left until graduation, but I’m also on holiday break from classes! I finished my Management and Org Theory class on Monday and got my grade yesterday (A-, baby!) so I can officially cross that one off the list, too. That just leaves me with International Business (which I’ll be completing with a study abroad course in China and Hong Kong!), Strategic Thinking, and two half-credit capstone courses. In case you’re wondering what that looks like…it’s a lot of pen and very little pencil!

I’ll be back in January to tell you all about my study abroad adventures in Asia. Right now I’m taking a breather to enjoy life without class (and get all my Christmas presents wrapped!). In a few short weeks, though, my nose will be back to the grindstone for our pre-trip group research projects. I suppose I’ll also have to start strategizing soon about how/what to pack for a two week trip to one cold snowy climate and one reasonably warm one…

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Get Out of That Chair!

Here’s what I love: experiential learning.

Lucky for me, that’s what Elon does best! Seriously, this class I’m taking right now is the coolest (trust me, I never thought I’d say that about a class called Management and Organizational Theory). The thing about management and team environments is that you can’t really learn about them effectively just by reading a book or having some old stiff up at the front of the room lecturing to you.

My professor this semester (who, by the way, is nothing like an “old stiff”) completely gets that, so he has turned our class into a veritable interactive playground (for classy, grown-up, businessy kids). From the start we’ve been working in teams collaborating on various projects ranging from to the typical case study and reading assessment test to the more obscure K’nex (you know, the plastic rods and wheels and connectors that little boys use to build fighter tanks and such?) challenge and food personality quiz (I’ll let your imagination run wild on that one).

You’re probably sitting there at your desk rolling your eyes and muttering something under your breath about MBAs not being for kids. Well, to you oh-learn-by-doing-doubter I say…quit yer bellyachin’! Think back to all your school years and try to pinpoint the lessons that stand out the most. I’d bet my piggy bank that the teachings you remember today can be directly connected to an activity, discussion, or hands-on project.

That’s the Elon way. Do the reading, but instead of just taking notes on it when you get to class…TALK ABOUT IT! Look at a chart about organizational communication but then ACTUALLY INTERACT in an environment that places restraints on communication paths to figure out how to become more flexible when faced with real-world challenges.

If you’re still not on board, then I’ll just leave you with this. How many times in your life have you woken up with a killer sore throat and a raspy “lady of the night” voice but gone to work anyway because you were afraid you’d miss something really good in class later that night? Zero? Yeah, that used to be my answer, too. Before yesterday that is…