April 14, 2014
On Monday, March 31, I sat in the Kayser Auditorium of the business school to listen to super agent Leigh Steinberg speak about his 30-year career. Cameron Crowe’s inspiration for Jerry McGuire, Steinberg has represented 150 professional athletes, including eight who were chosen as the first overall pick in the NFL draft.
What surprised me most to learn was Steinberg’s insistence that all his clients give back to their communities by being involved in their high schools and colleges in some way. Many of his clients, like Warren Moon, have started foundations for specific causes they care about.
“I saw athletes could be role models and trigger imitative behavior,” Steinberg said. “I believe in the power of role modeling.”
Moon started the Crescent Moon foundation, which raises money for college academic scholarships. Derrick Thomas started the “Third and Long” program, which targets childhood reading programs.
Steinberg said that as a sports agent, a huge concern of his was sports injuries sustained by his clients. He had a Physician’s Desk Reference within arm’s length at all times. He eventually began to lead efforts to increase awareness of the effects of concussions on NFL players.
“I had a crisis of conscience,” he told the students in the audience, “like some of you will have.” Steinberg described the series of conferences he organized that focused on the problem.
He advised any future sports agents to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs at agencies and when wooing prospective clients. “This is something for the most creative people, with the greatest attention to detail,” he said “People will outwork you all day long.”
April 1, 2014
Ok, so I just realized how much of a busy and cool day today was. It’s definitely not typical of every day, but it gives someone who is interested in applying some idea of the type of stuff you’ll get to do during the MBA program. So without further ado…
- 7:40 a.m. – Alarm goes off
- 8:15 a.m. – Final snooze is hit and I sit up in bed
- 8:20 – 9:10 a.m. – Finish writing assignment for Organizational Behavior (O.B.) class regarding a Trader Joe’s case we read for today.
- 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. – Economics. We discussed Game Theory
- 11 – 11:30 a.m. – Grab food, run back to apartment, shower and get ready
- 11:30 – 11:55 a.m. – Answered 5 interview questions through online VideoStream application. Through a webcam on my laptop, I recorded answers to the questions, which served as the final for our Professional Career Development class. I wore shirt, tie and sport coat. It was due at noon. Let’s just say I like to cut it close sometimes. I’m a thrill seeker.
- 12:10 – 12:23 p.m. – Wrestled with PawPrints to print out the O.B. writing assignment which is due at the beginning of class. Let’s just say I was unsuccessful because every printer in the world wasn’t working when I needed them to. Wound up emailing the assignment to the professor.
- 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. – Combined Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management class. We discussed Trader Joe’s from both culture and strategic planning perspectives.
- 2 – 2:30 p.m. – Done-In-A-Day Interview: I interviewed a prospective student who is applying for the MBA program this Fall. Student-run interviews are a new thing Baylor MBA is doing this year. I really enjoyed speaking with the applicant.
- 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. – Focus Firm. We discussed our semester-long project for a Fortune 500 company I’m not going to name. We’re gearing up for our April 15 presentation to faculty and other students. Some of us will be chosen to fly to corporate location of company to present.
- 5 – 6 p.m. – Speaker – Leigh Steinberg, the super sports agent who inspired the movie Jerry McGuire and has represented 60 first round NFL draft picks and 8 overall 1st round picks, gives a talk about his career. (More on this later)
- 6:40 – 8:15 p.m. – Hiked around Cameron Park with two of my classmates.
So as you can see, it was quite a day.
March 28, 2014
I’m in Austin staying in the guest room of my friend’s house. At 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, I’ve got an interview for an internship. I’ve spent the last week reading everything I can about the company, which I will not name for fear of jinxing the whole process.
I did a mock interview with Mike Estepp, director of MBA Career Services, this past Tuesday and it went well. I’m thinking happy thoughts and am actually looking forward to the interview, which is not something I think I have ever said before.
Wish me luck!
March 26, 2014
Back when I was in college in the mid to late 90s, you walked to class uphill both ways in the driving snow barefoot. OK, the barefoot and uphill part is made up, but I was in Syracuse, NY, so you bet the snow part was way true.
And if you wanted get a paper done, you had two options. The first was to go to the computer cluster and work there, provided you could get an open computer. These were located in dorms, in the student center, and in certain academic buildings. You knew these specific locations the same way you knew which blocks to hit if you wanted Mario to get extra lives.
The other option was to have your own computer, which I didn’t, or have a roommate who was kind enough to let you borrow his, which I did.
And that was that. If you worked on a paper at home, you saved the Word doc to a floppy disk that actually wasn’t floppy, carted it to a computer cluster, and then printed it there.
Now a days, everybody’s got laptops they slip in and out of their backpacks without a second thought. Very few people had laptops back in my day, when “social media” was how you might refer to MTV. (Plus the laptops were the size of Chevy Impalas) If you want to print now, you log on to PawPrints, the campus printing network, then choose if you want one or two sided or if you want color or black and white. Then you pick which printer on campus you happen to be near, and voila! It’s printed and you can go about your day.
I’m used to it now, having repeated the above process what seems like a hundred times, but this summer in IMS I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I leave you with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
March 18, 2014
At approximately 2:25 p.m. this afternoon, my dreams of moving beyond the second round of the Graduate Business Association ping pong tournament died a painful death. I won game one against my opponent, only to lose games two and three. Like any sore loser, I have several excuses…
- The first reason for my defeat was the skill of my classmate across the table from me. His spin was crafty and his kills vicious. It was pure luck that I was able to win the first game against him.
- Conditioning. I’m out of shape and not ashamed to admit I was huffing and puffing after the first game. I called out for an oxygen break several times, but neither my opponent nor the spectators (there were no spectators) came to my aid.
- Hunger. My blood sugar level was low since I hadn’t eaten lunch, yet. Several times I became dizzy and began to hallucinate. It’s a tribute to my strong will that I didn’t simply pass out, mid-point.
I’d like to wish the best of luck to those still in the tournament.
March 17, 2014
Until now, I’ve focused my career on being an “individual contributor.” I learned that term over Spring Break during a conversation I had with my cousin, who is a director of sales for Canada and the US for a Fortune 500 biotech corporation. It’s another way of saying “no one reports to you,” he told me, in a conversation we had about being a manager. We discussed the things he likes about being a manager, when he can develop the sales reps that work for him. We also discussed the hard conversations that need to take place between him and his team.
When I was a reporter, I was given the opportunity to apply for the city editor position at the paper I worked at. I shadowed my boss, the exiting city editor, for a day and quickly decided I liked reporting more than editing. At my previous job at a state agency website, my leaving for the MBA program at Baylor coincided with a re-organization that would have seen me supervise a team of writers.
So in short, I’ve come pretty close to having the opportunity to be a supervisor a couple of times. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the city editor gig, because I was more interested in the hands-on work of a reporter than with the higher level strategizing, coaching and managing work of being an editor, although I really enjoyed filling that role to some extent for our interns. At my last job, I think I was finally ready, but I was also ready for something new, altogether, so that one wasn’t in the cards, either.
A big reason I wanted to get an MBA was because of what I’m now learning in my organizational behavior class, which is all about management, leadership, and coaching. The more I talk about management and read about it in my classes, the more I’m convinced that I’m ready, whenever the opportunity presents itself, to take more of a leadership role. Don’t get me wrong, I like getting my hands dirty, but I’d like more of a say in strategy and I’d also like to take on the challenge of coaching and mentorship. I’ve trained a lot of people in my past two jobs, and really enjoy being the go-to guy when questions come up about handling different situations, whether at the newspaper or at the state agency website.
And so that’s been a meandering, rambling introduction to the topic I really wanted to write about in this blog, which is a regular feature in the New York Times called “Corner Office.” Every week or so, the CEO or president of a different company is interviewed about different aspects of management and leadership. I always find it fascinating to read about the different ways these successful leaders tackle hiring, how their management style has progressed, and what they’ve learned from bosses they’ve had.
As I search for a summer internship and ultimately prepare for graduation in December, it’s great to hear about what these leaders listen for in interviews and look for when hiring new employees. It’s also fun to hear the different managerial approaches they take and to see the commonalities that arise.
March 16, 2014
I write this from my seat at Gate D18 of Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia. My plane back to DFW takes off in about a half hour. It’s been a good, and much-needed, Spring Break.
I flew out here on Friday, March 7. I first stayed with relatives in Virginia, then headed to downtown DC to stay with a cousin and meet up with a few Baylor MBA classmates. I can honestly say it’s been awesome getting away from Waco for a bit, spending time with family, and hanging out in the nation’s capital.
I was able to get a head-start on assignments due this week and, most importantly, caught up on my share of sleep.
March 12, 2014
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is finding a balance between school and exercise. My main problem is finding the discipline to get to sleep at a decent hour so that the next day I can exercise. I know, it sounds simple enough, but hear me out.
Most people, if they’re tired, they go to bed. That’s what most of my friends and classmates do. If it’s 11 p.m., they have an 8 a.m. class, then they usually go to bed if all their other stuff is done. Me? That’s when I get a second wind. That’s when it seems like a good time to brush up on viral cat and dog videos on YouTube or to re-watch the a Daily Show or Jimmy Fallon segment I’ve already watched like 10 times. Or maybe it’s a good time to explore what’s new on Netflix or log on to TMZ to see how my boy Justin Bieber is doing.
So 12:30 or 1 a.m. rolls around and I’m still up. Right around then is when I decide it’s a good time to start heading off the sleep. This happens every night of the week, pretty much, the only difference sometimes is that I’ll be up late doing school work.
By Thursday I’m pretty tired. And when I’m tired, and I exercise, I usually get sick. This is the curse of having the immune system of a small woodland rodent.
But I’ve decided that enough is enough and I’m pledging now, as I did on Facebook last week, to train for and do the TriWaco triathlon on July 27. I did the Sprint race two or three years ago back when triathlons and running was something I dd. Forty pounds and many, many months of inactivity later, here I am. I’ve decided to publicly announce my goal to keep me accountable. I’ve got several classmates and friends from Austin who say they will do the race with me.
This will require me to, I don’t know, go to bed at a decent hour. The last episode of this or that on Hulu Plus will have to wait until the next day. I’m pretty worried about how this will go down. Wish me luck.
I think the number one piece of advice I would give any grad student wanting to start at Baylor next year is to live close to campus. There are definitely pros and cons to living nearby, but judging from my own experience compared with how classmates talk about their commutes, I’m going to have to say the pros win.
I was able to find an apartment that’s two blocks from the business school. I know of a few classmates who live a little closer, but not by much. It’s nice being within a quick walking distance because I don’t have to leave my door any sooner than 10 minutes before class starts. That means no jockeying for a parking spot in the lot or garage near the business school. It also means that I can drop home for a quick nap or to take my dog out whenever I want.
As for the cons… Yes, it would be nice to get away sometimes and just completely take my mind out of school mode. And it can be, shall we say, challenging to be around undergrads all the time. But my apartment building is pretty quiet and I think it’s made up mostly of grad students, anyway. And it’s kind of nice to walk out my door when there are special events on campus and seeing all the activity. The Sing performances (ask your favorite Baylor grad what Sing is) took place right before Spring Break, which meant for the few weeks leading up to them, every night I could see dozens of people in all sorts of crazy costumes traveling to their rehearsals at Waco Hall, which is situated kitty-corner to my building.
If I oversleep, which I’ve been lucky enough to do only once, it’s easy for me to throw on some clothes and bolt out the door to class, meaning I’ll only be a little bit late instead of a little-bit-plus-20-minutes-of-commute-and-parking late.
Between Monday, March 3, and Friday, March 7, there were many projects, exams, quizzes, and presentations that took place in the business school. The strain on mid-terms could be seen on most of our faces, shuffling between classes, study sessions and meals.
But the pitter patter of ping-pong, or as I like to call it, the “Sport of Kings,” could be heard coming from the grad lounge. Ping-pong matches are pretty common anytime, but these were more heated than normal.
The first rounds of the Graduate Business Association (GBA) Ping-Pong tournament were taking place, and nothing short of personal honor was at stake. Much trash talking, as well as words of encouragement, could be heard during matches between combatants and spectators, alike.
I was able to squeak out a win against my first round foe, but my favorite part of the tournament is the interaction it has caused between the 28 participants in Cores 1, 2, and 3, as well as MBA program staff, since the ping-pong table, like the battlefield, doesn’t care about those things. It’s been fun as we talk smack with each other and scout out the skills for future round opponents. It has also been a great way to take mini-breaks from the stress of mid-terms.
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