So here I am, getting ready to start term 3 tonight and I am actually looking forward to class tonight. There is something familiar in the routine, plus I’m looking forward to catching up with my classmates (we’ll see if the private chat stays up and running all term). It seems we really have become a “family” as we move through this adventure together and that fact makes prospects for 2012 even better.
For decades, Silicon Valley has been synonymous with innovation. It is difficult to dispute this claim given that it’s the home to technology and Internet giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. While it hasn’t lost its staying power, other hotspots for entrepreneurship and technology have emerged over the past ten years, in particular, New York’s “Silicon Alley”.
At the end of each quarter, MBA@UNC students have the opportunity to attend in-person immersions. The focus of last weekend’s immersion was leadership development to help our students develop a better understanding of their strengths in the context of team collaboration and individual work.
To me, the MBA@UNC program is the embodiment of the kind of technological innovation that will keep us advancing. As little as 10 years ago, a program like MBA@UNC was unimaginable. That a student in North Carolina could be in the same class as someone in California seemed unlikely. Now, the reality is that students may be states (or even continents!) apart, but twice a week, we are in the same place.
A number of years ago, while working in sales at an investment bank, I tried taking a business course at NYU. I was unexpectedly sent to work in Hong Kong a month into the semester. Too late to drop the course, I missed several classes and the midterm – all of that time and money went down the drain. I did not wanting to interrupt my career with a full-time program, so I put aside my business school aspirations – until MBA@UNC came along.
Serving our Chapel Hill community is why MBA@UNC staff members spent their Saturday, Nov. 5 working on “The House that Kenan-Flagler Built.” The 8th Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, N.C., brings together students, faculty and staff from all UNC Kenan-Flagler programs to build homes in our community. Working together is a visible example of our dedication to teamwork and community, two of our core values.
Much to my delight, shortly after completing my GMAT, I learned that UNC Kenan-Flagler would be offering a program for working professionals who are not located in Chapel Hill. Though I had other options, I chose to attend MBA@UNC, believing it would be the best education with the least impact on my ability to perform at work, and be a good father to my kids.
MBA@UNC is brand new, but we are a first step toward Googlizing MBA education. Someday, we hope to have all of the knowledge of our world-class faculty accessible at any time to all of our students. Today, our total faculty knowledge is like a huge wall. On the wall are small circles. We teach the material in the circles. A few circles overlap, but most stand alone. At any moment, students can learn everything in a few circles. During their matriculation, they can learn many circles, but only a tiny portion of the entire wall.
I walked into the program with “skeptical optimism,” if that is even a phrase. I wanted a top-tier program, but needed something that fit into my family life and allowed me to stay at my job. Speaking with the admissions counselors, the MBA@UNC felt like a good fit, but I had a lot of unanswered questions: Will I make substantial relationships with my classmates? Will an on-line classroom engage me intellectually? Should I just wait a year and let UNC work out the kinks?
Even with all these questions, I was intrigued. I thought, “This will be like a start-up, I’ve always wanted to work at a start-up.” So that pushed me over the edge – and I entered the program with “skeptical optimism..
“You already have a Master’s Degree? Why do you want another one?”
So was the first question the interviewer asked me six months ago.
Fast forward to today: I am in the middle of taking my Financial Accounting final and I just received an email from MBA@UNC wondering when I’ll be ready to post my first blog. My first thought is, “Hey, I’m here trying to remember how to calculate Return on Assets, there may not be a reason to write this blog if I can’t solve this problem.” That was when I turned off the email account.