And so it begins!

And so it begins! After months of researching schools; practicing for & writing the annoying GMAT; writing, rewriting, trashing & then rewriting all those essays; completing & submitting the applications; interviewing with the admissions team (I'm still amused by how the tables turn - when I'm trying to learn about the school, they want me, but when I finally pick the school, I have to convince them to want me!); waiting anxiously for the admissions team's response; jumping for joy when you get the "Congratulations!" letter; watching your family & friends jumping for joy when you tell them about the "Congratulations!" letter; applying for the student visa; breathing a sigh of relief when you get that student visa; booking your tickets; packing for your move to a new place; meeting up with family & friends before you leave the place you've called home; repacking all your stuff because you've left out so much (or taken too much stuff); driving to the airport; having those tearful goodbyes & multiple hugs; flying to Toronto; still flying to Toronto; landing in Toronto (it's a 14 hour flight from Dubai!); getting your study permit; being welcomed at the airport by wonderful family members with the hugest smiles & tightest hugs & high-fives too!; arriving home; being jet-lagged; still being jet-lagged (it's a 14-hour flight & 8-hour time difference, remember!); waking up the next morning & wondering, 'Where am I?'; feeling a bit silly when you realize you're finally in Toronto!; attending the Rotman Ready session; attempting to get familiar with a new city; having a blast at the International Student Orientation Week; attempting to get back in the study mode with the Pre-Program; and more waiting... It finally begins!

Our official journey with Rotman finally began at the end of August during the 2-day Orientation.  You felt a rush of excitement when walking into Hart House, and the historic Great Hall kinda reminded me of the nervous anticipation that Harry Potter felt on his first day at Hogwarts, when he walked into the Great Hall to begin his magical future.

To remind us that we were all members of a combined, cohesive community of sporting, sure-fire scholars, the President of the Graduate Business Council (GBC) cheerfully welcomed us all to the official start of our MBA.  We then heard from Mihnea Moldoveanu, the Associate Dean of the MBA program at the Rotman School of Management, and he challenged us to be more than just a Master of Business Administration, but rather a Master of our futures.  Hearing him talk about Rotman & Integrative Thinking with such determined passion reminded me of why I was so determined to come here, and be a part of this new movement in business education.  And then to remind us that we were in fact, in business school, 90 minutes into our orientation, all our teams were challenged to use our problem solving skills on a business case... yes, the work begins, and at orientation!  But the orientation ended on a fun note, when the GBC had another challenge waiting for us, but of a much kinder nature than a business case!  The Rotman Cares 'People for Good' Challenge had teams competing in creating and capturing as memorable and meaningful random acts of kindness as possible within one hour.  While the idea of the challenge was to help us realize that we have a responsibility to contribute our skills and talents to our communities and the world at large, it was quite funny to see groups of Rotman students scattered across the city, trying to 'create' random acts of kindness!  Hopefully we all left feeling a little more considerate of others.

At the start of the second day of our 2-day orientation, our teams were once again shuffled, and after Professor Moldoveanu's objectives for the day, we were introduced to the Corporate Connections Center, followed by a session on self-management, which helped us clarify our identification of ourselves, in order to better identify our plans for our futures.  When I mentioned our teams reshuffling again, I forgot to mention that we were introduced to our groups for the first two quarters of our first year program, and so far, I think we have a pretty cool group.  We know we're going to have to work pretty darn hard, but we might as well have fun, and a few good laughs while at it!  To help us work better as a team, and as a cohort, we were assigned the task of creating team charters (it sounds funny, but it'll probably save us a lot of headaches in the weeks to come).  Professor Moldoveanu closed by reminding us of our challenge to be Masters of our Futures and of Positive Change.

While this is only the beginning, I'm pretty sure that our MBA adventure is going to be challenging and amazing, and I can't wait for it!  (Re-read first paragraph if you're doubtful of my anxious excitement!)