Summing up the first two weeks of school.

This has been a crazy, crazy two weeks, but the first intensive block of school is done, and on Tuesday the first regular semester begins. I’ve already completed two classes (save for a take-home exam and some longer-term assignments).

Management Skills was 18h of class over the first four days covering the soft skills we’d need to survive in our teams for the rest of the year, and in our workplace teams after that; The World of the General Manager and Strategic Management, 18h over the next six days, was a case-study-based introduction to business strategy.

The latter was taught for the first time by the dean of the School of Management, Micheál Kelly, and the director of its Executive MBA program, Terry Kulka, former CEO of iMPath Networks. The director of our (standard) program pleaded with us to be prepared and engaged because a good showing would mean that Micheál and Terry would continue teaching that course for the non-Executive students in future, and I think we succeeded.

It was a very long, blurry two weeks, so I’ll sum up the stuff I should’ve been writing all week in plus-minus form:

+ A very promising, friendly team of four, which is on the small side, that I’ll be working with all year

- The entire two weeks spent in the old Vanier Building instead of the brand-new Desmarais Building because the latter was not ready

+ Next week we’ll be in the Desmarais Building, but

- It’s still not completely ready, so there’ll be technical difficulties for weeks

+ A great non-textbook textbook for Management Skills, Crucial Conversations, which I just finished today and highly recommend

+ A great party at the Laurier Royal Oak on the Friday night of the first week

- I have not been so sick as I was on Saturday morning since my first year of my undergrad

- And then I spent six hours in a small conference room writing a group memo on a case

- Books: $500 for a semester; Bus pass: $600 for 12 months.

+ I finally have a bus pass! I’ve spent about 20 minutes total in the car these past two weeks.

+ All the clothes I bought just before school are slightly dressier than average for the class without being out of place, exactly what I was aiming for.

- Case competition team meetings are 5h every Friday night. I curl Friday nights. No case competition for me. (Not that I’d like to give up 5h every Friday night anyhow; that’s pushing it a bit.)

- Recruiting begins NEXT WEEK, because it’s based on a two-year program where they’d be hiring second-year students for employment upon graduation. I’m not sure I really want to do consulting anyhow, but I still have to get my act together quick for recruitment sessions.

+ Everyone is so friendly. It doesn’t feel competitive at all, like you’d expect in, say, law school.

+ There are far fewer IT/MIS/geek types than I thought.

+ Between eating less (and less snacks) and lots of walking and being really, really busy, I’ve lost weight.

- I’ve lost eight pounds in two weeks.

+ One of the group memo assignments for Strategic Management was about high-tech (iMPath’s reorganization from a 110-person, near-bankrupt company to a 30-person, cash-flow-positive one), and the final exam is about a Canadian garment industry firm.

- That iMPath memo is being marked by the CEO that rescued iMPath. Jeeeeez.

- Someone capable beat me to the candidate list for the class rep position. I was prepared to turn it into an election if it was someone I didn’t think would be really good at it, but Aussie Mike will be great, so I didn’t. (But I’ve really done my time in student government already, so that’s fine.)

+ I feel like everything we’re doing is within my capabilities and is related to where I want to end up on the other end of this thing. I was worried that my lack of a finance background was going to hurt me. It’s not, or it isn’t yet at least.

Next week we’ll be walking the halls alongside the undergrads. That’s going to be weird. But overall, for the last two weeks: Fun, challenging, tiring, intense.

Sorry this went so long — I’ll try to update more often about fewer things in future. It’s pretty weird getting accustomed to not spending the entire day online.