Traditionally, when I’m in a new place, I’m full of optimism and energy and I walk to people in my workplace with a big smile on my face. I talk, I laugh, I am enthusiastic. I give the impression that I really want love the place I’m in. Its usually on day 2 when I realize what work is being assigned to me and things basically spiral down after that. Now that’s not a general rule of thumb, but in a nutshell, im always disappointed/shocked by what I expect and what I get.
So how do I react when I enter a room full of students with equal or in most cases higher intellect than me? How do I react to being stretched? How do I behave when I’m out of my comfort zone? How do I react when I fail to achieve the targets I set for myself? How do I ‘grow up’?
I’m hoping this diary will be a way to document that.
I started my post graduate studies at Melbourne Business School on 26th August 2011. The date, I will never forget. The first week (which really felt like month) I will never forget. It’s been a week where I have met a group of brilliant, smart individuals. Entrepreneurs, bankers, accountants, IT engineers, Civil engineers, marketing professionals and hell, even a lawyer. I feel intimidated… scared. And I should be!
Back in my old job, in IT, when I had a problem, a defect in software, or an issue raised by a client… I could usually work out what needed to be done with ease. I was an expert. I was never intimidated. I was always in control. Problem solving meant writing code or diagnosing performance issues in database queries. What about now? I’m here in one of the top business schools, studying subject I know nothing about. Managerial economics, accounting… Greek/Latin! Even my career prospects that I was dead certain about… I had a vague understanding about what management consulting is, and in my first week at business school, I’ve learnt that I don’t know jack.
What I’m getting at is, I’m no longer the smartest person in the room. I’m stupid. I asked a professor ‘why doesn’t America write off its bad debt?’ ooh the bad debt is just 14.3 trillion, I’m sure the world will understand. Just forget about it, save the economy. (I really hope none of my future employers read this blog entry, they might reconsider hiring me!) The professor was kind enough to say, that’s a very good question and then explaining why what I said cannot be done. My immediate reaction was… ‘this is great. I’m learning so much’ Five minutes later I thought… ‘Oh my god! I know so little!’ An hour later I was thinking… ‘I need to read the economist. Then I won’t be stupid’. 2 hrs later, after reading a few articles I was thinking… what the hell is a credit crunch? Late in the night when I tried to forget about how little I knew (which normally isn’t hard, a Norah Jones song and a spider man comic normally does the trick) I was distracted. I didn’t enjoy the music… I kept reading topics on Wikipedia… I woke up the next day, a little tired but optimistic, thinking, ‘Today is a good day. I’m going to be clever today! I know what a credit crunch is!’ (and I really must say, banks ought to be more helpful to each other) Well, I kind of got the hang of what finance topics are going to be like…, but by lunch time that day I was thinking… what the hell is operations management? Why haven’t I encountered all this in my previous job? Where the hell have I been working these last 5 years? What is my experience worth ?
An MBA course is an all encompassing view of how businesses work. I really want to be the guy who can talk about macro economics and supply chain efficiency or some other topic (again, prospective employers, don’t judge! forgive my ignorance of the business vernacular. I can’t even say complicated business jargon unless I use the words complicated business jargon) But I can see even at this early stage that this course is going to be an uphill battle… and one that’s going to be invaluable. I’m going to have to work hard. I’m going to have to write a dear john letter to my personal life and basically work my ass off reading everything I can and getting myself ready for the person I think I want to be in May 2013, when I graduate.
Future me I know is wiser, mature… and hopefully very employable. I’m sure this looking back at this very blog and thinking… ‘Damn, I was stupid’ Right now… im scared shitless.