So I was sitting at class on Friday and something struck me (no it wasn’t one of my classmates). It was the date. December 6. December 6th is the date of the last class in my EMBA program. So as of last Friday there’s a year to go, and as of today, 362 days left until it’s done. (You can see a countdown “widget” in the sidebar over there on the right —->>) The months and days are counting down, and it being less than a year makes it seem pretty real that I’m surviving. I posted on twitter and Facebook on Friday evening, “One year from this moment, Lord willing, I’ll be attending my graduation party.”
Keep in mind that I haven’t graduated from anything official since 1987. A good portion of the people I work with weren’t born yet (not more than half, mind you) then. So it’s kind of exciting, the thought of finishing something educational.
Last week was a really long week, ending with two days of class that were not the same course. And while I like the idea of the finance work getting spread out it meant that I had reading for two separate courses to get done while preparing for a board meeting at work. It led to some late nights and some early mornings to be ready for class and get all my work done.
I survived the week.
Friday was the first day of (we have six separate days of this one) Acquiring Capital and Making Investment Decisions. It’s the main finance module. Before I got to class I had almost 200 pages of reading about financial statements. It was hard reading, even though I’m not a newb on the topic. Just difficult to read through, and I wanted to make sure my understanding on the topic was increasing and so I didn’t just skip the reading and assume “I got this”.
I really liked Dr. Hatfield. A potentially dry topic, to be sure, but she had a demeanor that was disarming and just kept the class bright and interactive. (Favorite line, “I’m not very good with numbers.” Second favorite “<said in sarcasm to a fictitious friend> Yes, my PhD makes me qualified to balance my checkbook.”) She’s going to be able to teach us a lot, and the day flew by pretty quickly. Even the discussion of Cash Flow Statements.
Saturday we had a one day pass/fail module on Entrepreneurship. It had its weak moments, but all in all it was really good, and the reading assignments fed well into the active day. The afternoon included lectures from two entrepreneurs…one who had started and sold several successful businesses after age 50 (before that she was a nurse) and the other is a current one who’s still getting from concept to launch with a patented idea. Since class was at the Peoria Next Innovation Center we also got to tour his lab facility there.
In the morning we had a little more generic look at Startups and worked on a rudimentary Business Plan Canvas, which is what is recommended for an agile launch process since business plans generally go out the window as soon as a venture begins interacting with a customer. It was an informative process and a fun day.
I’m still waiting on grades from the last couple of classes, but I’m feeling pretty good about getting out of the first semester with a 4.0.
The days are ticking down now and each one brings a higher level of optimism that I will survive this program. Last week was the hardest week so far, but this week there’s less prep for class and then I have a month to work on homework before we come back in January.