It's been a month already? I have to let that sentence sink in for a minute, and I still can't believe it. Wow! It has been one heck of a hectic month! It seemed like just yesterday when we walked into Rotman's classrooms, about to start our MBA. If anyone ever told you that getting into business school was the hard part, and after that it's easy... let me put it to you this way... they probably didn't go to business school! Getting into Rotman is no easy task, and you have to go through a rigorous process to compete with an innumerable number of bright & successful professionals to get into Canada's top business school. But once you get in, that's when the real competition begins! You are one of 265 very bright, intelligent, driven, successful individuals, who are all at the top of their game, and bringing something new to every class. The professors also bring something new to every class... it's called homework! Oh, did I mention the pre-readings began before you ever stepped into your first class, your assignments began with your first class, your group projects began your first week itself, and your quizzes by your second week? And they say business school is easy!
Business school is not easy (if it's easy, you're not really learning anything new, in which case you should go learn rocket science with hieroglyphics!), but it is challenging, and in a good way. It's quite likely that you may have a look of befuddlement on your face in a class occasionally, or in my case, a look of befuddlement in almost every class. I'm currently using my befuddled looks as a coefficient of how much new stuff I'm learning! But there really is so much to learn. How social intelligence tie in with power & politics in building & managing effective teams in 'Managing People in Organizations.' How rationality & probability are used in building decision models, with decision trees applied to real-life problems in 'Foundations of Integrative Thinking.' How to apply statistical modeling to structure, analyze & solve business problems in 'Statistics for Managers.' How to analyze financial reports for hidden problems & possible opportunities in 'Financial Accounting I.' How economists think, and why economic analysis is critical in making better business decisions in 'Managerial Economics.' How you end up applying what you learnt in one class to another class, and why that immersion of Integrative Thinking at Rotman is so important for business education, for your education, and for your future.
Although the pace of Q1 at Rotman MBA may seem a little manic at times, you do have some time to learn some more! Rotman played host to a number of success stories, including Eric Ries, who used reverse psychology while talking animatedly about entrepreneurial dreams in 'The Lean Startup'; Dr. Sylvia Nasar, who narrated the story of the making of modern economics in 'Grand Pursuit'; Professor Ed Safarian, who spoke about how historical narratives still relevant to today's business world in 'Foreign Ownership of Canadian Industry'; and our very own Professor Mihnea Moldoveanu (Associate Dean, MBA Programs Rotman School of Management), who not only taught us a new word (palter), but also how we could model our own human behavior to think, feel & act in alignment in 'Inside Man: The Discipline of Modeling Human Ways of Being.'
In the midst of all this amazing learning, there was a little bit of healthy competition, as the different professional & social student clubs at Rotman vied for the attentions (& memberships) of the First-Years. While the clubs' activities are still in their initial stages (understandable, given the Q1 workload), I feel pretty confident of my new memberships with the Management Consulting Association (have a stubborn Rubik's Cube complex), the Business Design Club (always happy to learn about designing better solutions), the Rotman Marketing Association (may have a subliminal love of marketing & communication), the Women In Management Association (women have a unique, insightful way of looking at things), the Rotman Ambassadors (hyped up on school spirit!), and the Rotman Golf Association (there's no better stress relief than taking a swing at things at the driving range).
Somebody asked me recently if I'd had a chance to see the sights of Toronto, and chuckled with amusement when I'd responded, "Does seeing the CN Tower on my way back home count?" Although it is a hectic, at times, chaotic pace, I really should try & discover more of Toronto before the temperature dips below zero (I'm wearing a sweater when it's 15C; what on earth am I going to do when it hits -15C?). If I were to summarize the last 4 weeks in one line... "The Rotman MBA is challenging, time-consuming, sleep-depriving, physically-exhausting, but so, so, so good!" :)