December 8, 2014
I can’t even believe it’s already Dec. 8. The semester is winding down nicely. Last week was my hell week. I’ve still got odds and ends to take care of but the worst is over. I’ve still got some GA work to catch up on, but the bulk of my stress is behind me.
And in less than 2 weeks, my friends and I will be at graduation. Which is going to be really, really weird. I’ve been daydreaming about that day for so long, I can’t believe it’s just around the corner.
Before I forget, this football season was awesome. I always tell anyone I meet who is in high school and starting the college decision process to pick a school that is high in academics and good at athletics. Because the school spirit you find at a school with good sports is not like anything else you will experience. Back in 1996, the Syracuse campus went balistic when the basketball team made it to the Final Four against Kentucky. It was the early part of spring where the days start to warm up a little bit and from one day to the next the whole campus became a carnival. It came alive after a long winter.
Even though the football team didnt’ factor into my decision to come to Baylor, it really should have. Because I’m forming lifelong bonds with classmates while cheering for MBA classmate and offensive lineman Troy Baker and the rest of the Bears. This semester has been so much fun because of the football team. From the online football ticket distribution Hunger Games on Sundays to getting together for pre-game gatherings at my friend David’s house. Those are memories that are going to stay with me forever.
December 5, 2014
The hardest part about looking for an apartment through the Internet in a town you’ve only been to once is the part where you are looking for an apartment through the Internet. In a town you’ve only been to once.
I’ve looked at a million postings on Craiglist in the past few weeks, trying to find that perfect apartment or small house where my dog Bella, my Xbox, and I can all hang our respective hats when we settle in Pensacola next month. There’s a million apartment complexes to choose from along with tiny 700 square foot cottages. Some are in expensive, safe parts of town that have all sorts of character. Some are in safe, affordable, boring parts of town that would be no headache but I’d have to drive anywhere cool.
Others are on the fringe, sort of in a good part of town, from what I gather, but close enough to maybe a not so nice part of town to make it interesting. There are even some right on the freaking beach, but the commute to work would be a little longer than I’d like and the beach-going partyers would, I’m guessing, surround me for 8 months of the year.
The political cartoonist at the paper sent me this awesome map of town pointing out all the cool, safe neighborhoods that would be within a 10 minute drive to work. But it’s hard making a living decision without physically visiting the neighborhood to get a feel for what it’s like.
November 23, 2014
Here we are just about a month before the hooding ceremony to take place on the 5th floor of Cashion followed by the big ceremony held at the Farrell (?) Center. On the one hand, yes! Bring it on! I’m ready to get going with the rest of my life. On the other hand, I’m trying to slow time down. I’m going to miss the friends I’ve made and I’m going to miss the consequence-free environment of grad school.
My friend Stephen, who I often refer to as a Zen master, rarely lets anything phase him. Lots of assignments to get done? No sweat. Difficult team member for a semester-long project? Bring it on. A native of Shreveport, the former Congressional aid doesn’t let anything get to him. “This is play time,” he said to me once when I was griping to him about this or that in one or more classes. He sees difficult team dynamics as an opportunity to grow, since we’ll all surely encounter that more than we’d care to admit during our future careers.
So I’m going to miss that part of grad school. Where everything is make-believe and any error in judgement assessing a case doesn’t result in anything other than maybe a bruised ego.
This afternoon, classmates and I gathered at my friend Todd’s house. He lives on what is basically the Western Frontier in the town of Robinson just south of Waco. He is a little more obsessed with his dog than I am with mine and invited a bunch of us over to celebrate the 2-year-old birthday of his dachsund, Legend. There were a total of 7 dogs there. I was afraid it was going to turn into a canine version of Fight Club, but for the most part, they all got along well.
I’m hoping we have more get togethers like that before we all go our separate ways.
November 19, 2014
I remember last year’s tournament fondly, as students from across the three cores practiced against each other in the days leading up to the single-elimination contest. I’m out of practice, since I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the grad lounge as I have in past semesters, but still excited. I met and developed friendships with a bunch of people I didn’t know at the end of the Spring 2014 semester because of the tournament. A few of us still exchange stories from some of the matches held then, pointing back to signature moves perfected by our since-graduated classmates.
This semesters I’ve come to know a few of the Core 1’s thanks to ping pong matches and I expect to meet more in the coming weeks. I wonder if any have developed that off-the-blackboard-bounce that former classmate Spencer Holmes made his trademark during last year’s event.
November 10, 2014
One of the things I enjoy about social media, in addition to staying in touch with family and old friends, is the constant stream of motivational messages that are posted by people and organizations. Sure, they can sometimes be annoying. But they can also be exactly what you need to hear on certain days.
I’ve seen a lot lately about “staying true to who you are” and “following your passion.”
With that in mind, I’ve accepted a reporter position with the Pensacola News Journal in Pensacola, Fla.
I’m going back to my roots, since I went to grad school for journalism back at the turn of the century in Boston. My first job was as an editorial assistant at the Boston Herald. Later, I was a general assignment and higher education reporter at the Stevens Point Journal in Stevens Point, Wisc.
I have enjoyed learning about business the last year and a half. But I loved being a reporter. A few years ago, while living in Austin and working as a web content writer at the Texas Department of Transportation, I did a small article for a blog in the area. The process of researching, interviewing, and writing got my blood pumping like it hadn’t since I’d left the paper in Wisconsin. It was an overwhelming feeling that hadn’t completely left me.
Over the last couple of months I’d thought a lot about the abandoned dream I had of being a reporter for a magazine like Esquire or Newsweek some day and it ate at me that I’d given up on that. So when the opportunity in Pensacola presented itself, I decided it was worth it to give journalism another go.
The best part is I’ll be covering business, so I’ll get to use all these things I’ve learned in the past year and a half. I visited Pensacola this past weekend and absolutely fell in love with it. All the people I met at the paper were super cool and I can’t tell you how friendly the people of Pensacola are. I couldn’t be more excited to start there in early January.
Plus, living by the beach is probably not the worst thing in the world.
November 8, 2014
One of my favorite parts of the various classes we take is the real-world advice the professors give us. We get so caught up in assignments and projects that we don’t always take the time to step back and take a look at the big picture.
Our Operations core class professor, Dr. Gray, is great at sharing examples from the many projects he’s taken on over the years. But he’s also great at just giving general advice that can be applied to any field.
On the last day of the Operations module we discussed the value of increasing our “intellectual capital,” since we will be seeking to differentiate ourselves the same way we’ll be working to differentiate the products or services our companies provide.
“It’s not about how you dress, what kind of car you drive, or what kind of home you live in,” Dr. Gray told us. “What really matters is how you think.”
He then told us to spend time continuing to work on our own education plan. I’ve thought a lot about this over the last two months, since you really only scratch the surface of business in an MBA program. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it described as an exposure that is a mile wide but only a few inches deep. I plan on going to most of my professors to get advice on how to expand on all these concepts we’ve learned in the last year and a half.
“I still spent time every day thinking about what articles I should be looking for,” Dr. Gray continued. “What topic should I be trying to learn more about? What projects am I involved in and what areas should I be reading into to help those people who have engaged me to help them?”
“Stay after it.”
My biggest fear is that the subjects that I won’t use every day, like accounting, for example, will fade without repeated use. Continuing education, even if it is periodic review on my own of the basics of what we learn, is going to be a big priority after graduation next month.
October 27, 2014
Back in June of last year I started IMS. Graduation felt like it was 20 years away, even though it was only technically like 19 months away. And every week and month that passed, as we took more and more turns in front of the firehose of information pointed at us that summer, December 2014 just kept getting further and further in the distance. My brain took on a freshman’s mentality, where graduation was so far away, there was no reason to even worry about it.
Even as this Fall 2014 semester started, graduation was just around the corner but it still felt like a far off distance event. Well now it’s less than two months away, and it’s really hitting me. It’s bitter sweet for so many reasons.
I’ve made some truly amazing friendships in a really short period of time. You bond pretty quickly during high stress situations and the stress-relief activities that follow. I was an English major in college and a journalism student in my first grad school experience. So group projects were few and far between. Business school has been a completely new experience. We formed study groups almost immediately back in IMS, since we were getting so much accounting, finance, economics, and business math concepts thrown at us on a daily basis. I spent countless hours in the break out rooms that summer, by myself and with friends, wrestling with credits and debits, net present value, and with aggregate supply demand curves. It’s a special bond you make when you’re struggling to learn information at breakneck speed and sometimes the professor’s explanation makes no sense whatsoever. I’ve mentioned before how grateful I have been for the generosity of time and patience classmates extended to me that summer and in the semesters that followed.
Then the Fall 2013 semester started, and we were presented with a bunch of new people at orientation. And you better believe us IMS folks were a tightly wound clique. But then that new batch of people were all awesome and good, smart people. And we went through that semester, which was one of the most stressful I’ve ever been through. Every class felt like an oral exam. Regurgitating facts was never going to be enough. And then all the presentations we gave in our classes and in our Management Communication class. And we welcomed the “new” people into our circles of friends, camaraderie developed in the classroom, in late evening study sessions, and over laughs on the weekends.
I’ve grown so much over the last year and a half and made friendships that I know will last the rest of my life. From the summer IMS trip to the Cleveland Correction Center for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program to the Spring 2014 trip to Nike HQ in Beaverton, Oregon for Focus Firm, I’ve had some amazing experiences with some amazing people. And I’m really, really going to miss them all.
But at the same time I’m ready for the next chapter of life. I’m ready to use all these newly acquired skills and newly forged confidence. I’m looking forward to hearing about how successful my classmates are going to be. I’ve no doubt there a spattering of CEOs and chief financial officers in the bunch.
I can’t wait to cheer their successes, even if sometimes only through virtual fist pumps brokered by Facebook or text message.
September 29, 2014
So the job hunt is in full swing. I went to a National Association of Hispanic MBAs event in Dallas a couple of weeks ago and I went to the NSHMBA national conference in Philly this past weekend. I’ve got a spreadsheet with 30 positions (and growing) that I’ll be applying to over the next couple of weeks. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t super scary.
I’m looking primarily in DFW and Austin areas, since my cousin and his family are up in Southlake and my friends and parents (6 months out of the year) are in Austin. I’m also going to apply in DC, because I have a bunch of family in that area and it’s relatively close to my sister, who is in Brooklyn.
My aunt passed away last January and that recalibrated the way I look at where I want to work. I’ve decided that I’ll ideally either be within a 3 or 4 hour drive of my parents or of my sister. So Texas and the Northeast are the front runners right now. But if I find an awesome opportunity in a cool city somewhere else, I’m open to that, too. But I sure would love to stay in Texas, which has become my home over the last 7 years. Despite being forced to watch either Dallas or Houston football games every Sunday on network TV, it’s a pretty cool place to live.
September 21, 2014
So I talked to my sister the other day, and it turns out I’m going to be an uncle! They don’t know what the gender is, yet, but I’ve already suggested several names I think are suitable: Carlos Michael, Rafael Carlos, Isabel Carlos, etc. Let’s just say some she’s more receptive to than others. But it’s exciting. I don’t have kids of my own, yet, so I look forward to spoiling that little guy or girl as much as I possibly can.
September 13, 2014
I’ve officially started the job hunt and it’s kind of surreal. On the one hand, it’s super exciting to see what is on the horizon come (hopefully) January after graduation in December. What job will I get? Where will I work? Where will I live? It’s exciting to be turning a page on life.
On the other hand, it’s bittersweet. I’m going to miss all my classmates and all the professors and members of the MBA administration. I’m even going to miss all the undergrads and the way they walk around like sedated chickens with their heads cut off.
Grad school, even with its stress, is still way easier than the real world. So I’m trying to take every moment and not wish away the rest of my time here.
I went to a National Society of Hispanic MBAs leadership conference in Dallas last Friday and it went really well. There were several sessions on all sorts of leadership development. Sponsors of the event sent recruiters, so it was a mini-job fair and it went really well. I also had a resume critique, which gave me some really good pointers on specific details in my resume.
Since Friday I’ve been revising my resume and hitting job boards to see what’s out there. It’s like taking another one credit class, I’m guessing, but it’s important to make the time to search and apply for jobs. I definitely learned my lesson with the late start to my internship search last Spring and would love to have a job nailed down by graduation. Wish me luck!
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