Strategic Schooling

I had class this past weekend, so that means it’s time for an update on school.  Let’s see…how much do I want to put into a single post?

Friday and Saturday were the first part of BUS649, Developing Strategy with Dr. Aaron Buchko.  Given the trend, you’re probably not surprised to find out that I really liked him and got a lot out of the two days of class.  When we got done on Saturday, my brain hurt and I was very tired.

First off, at lunch on Friday we got our papers back from the Leadership Challenge.  I had been nervous (still am about my Economics paper), but I got an A.  Even a shout out from the professor as one of the top three papers in the class.  So with that, and the participation score, I got a 95 and I have maintained my 4.0 so far.  I decided that until I got my first B (which is likely at some point) I was going to try to go for the top 10% honors.  It’s the competitive thing, I know, and I’m not going to get terribly caught up on the grading thing, but I like to do well, and I like to win.  Once that first B comes along, though, I’ll just be focusing on passing and learning.  Very excited about the paper being received well, but it was of course just a personal reflection and about me, so it’s not like I had to put any rigorous academic thought into it.

Almost everything in the Developing Strategy class lectures and discussions was helpful.  So helpful I’m trying to figure out what I can put into practice now, and what I need to hold off for later, and what I need to make sure doesn’t get lost for long-term thought.  Did I mention that my brain feels very full?

The bad news:  due to either misreading the syllabus or it being silent on the issue, I had thought the first group project had a lot of time for working on it and wouldn’t be due for a few months.  Not the case.  It’s due on October 4.  In two weeks.  Which wouldn’t be a terribly big deal except I’m heading to Denver on Wednesday to speak at the AAPS conference there this Friday.  And I don’t have my talk finished yet.

The good news:  my team is fantastic.  We stayed after class today for almost an hour to work through the division of labor and set up a timeline so that we can get most of the work done with time to run it past Dr. Buchko before it’s due.  He offered that service and we’re going to take him up on it, partly because we’re betting he grades harder because of that opportunity whether taken or not.  The group paper is an industry analysis of the heavy haul trailer manufacturing industry.  You know those trailers you go by on the highway with WIDE LOAD on them?  Somebody makes those.  At least nine somebodies, as it turns out, and over the next 12 days my team has to write an 11 page industry analysis of the favorable and unfavorable conditions for profitability in the “foreseeable future” (which I’m pretty sure is an oxymoron).  Thankfully, everyone else on my team has some expertise in industries that have parallels to this because I am completely clueless.

I’ve said in the past that I work well under stress, so hopefully that’s true.  Because I’m feeling it now for sure.  I want to succeed, and I want to be a part of my team succeeding.  I definitely don’t want to be the weakest link if that means the team doesn’t do well, so I have to bring what “A game” I have to the paper and learn from them in the process.

I am more and more confident as each week goes by that this EMBA program is going to make me a much better general manager for Samaritan Ministries.  So far absolutely everything has had some helpful value.  More than I can instantly apply.  And I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn and to raise the level of my game.  And I’m thankful for the professors and the other 13 classmates who have already taught me so much, and who I will continue to learn from over the next 15 months.

Oh, and if you think about it, prayer for me over the next two weeks as I finish all this up and get ready for the next course, is appreciated.

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