Student Voices: Kicking off 2012 with MBA@UNC

Happy New Year! Fresh off a GREAT week of vacation and I am sitting on a plane at 35,000 feet on my way to Miami for our national sales meeting. I guess that’s better than an Amtrak train to NYC, but we’ll get to that next week.

If we measure how “good” we were by what Santa left under the tree, I’m in trouble. The good news is that my kids are apparently angels sent from the heavens. Really, someone needs to tell that creepy elf on the shelf to stick around all year and not just the “Santa comes in four weeks, we better behave” time period that my 10- and 8year-old have seemingly mastered.

The bad news, I guess Santa WAS watching me all year in my new job. I got a bag of dried mushrooms (imported from Italy, but dried mushrooms no less), some Under Armour (in a size that has motivated me to realize I enjoyed the holiday season a little too much this year), and socks (ok, ok, I asked for these and got exactly what I wanted). Now to be sure, there were other neat things, but I did enjoy playing MarioKart 7 on the 3D DS my kids are sporting . (See, I told you, ANGELS).

The end of the year is always a challenge around our house. Not because of the voluminous amounts of decorations (22 total of 64 gallon tubs), nor the parties. No, the challenge is rooted in the fact that our Christmas plans are tied to the fortunes of the Notre Dame football team.

Now, I know my fellow Tar Heels understand having a sports team dictate the ebb and flow of life. This year, we sported our Blue & Gold while basking in the Orlando sun to watch my two alma maters, Notre Dame and Florida State duke it out for the Champs Sports Bowl. The Fightin' Irish fell 18-14  while my sons wondered if the Notre Dame football team of the early 90s mom and dad talk about really existed. (At least my Ravens are still in the hunt for the Super Bowl!) So while my kids basked in the sun (and my 8-year-old crushed on his little girlfriend) and my wife sat in meetings all day (welcome to my world, honey), I got to hang by the pool with the other “husband” of The Monogram Club (you still owe me stories from the last day Orange Crush).

Intermingled between Christmas, bowl games, Orlando-area theme parks, swimming and sun bathing, I managed to get around week 1 of “Managerial Economics” and “Operations Management.” And this is why the MBA@UNC is so ideal for my life. Nowhere else could I get the family time, the down time from work AND the time to bang out some MBA material without missing a beat.

When I finally settled on a program for my MBA I was determined to find one that fit into my life and not one that required me to fit my life to the program. My life is already crazy enough; I couldn’t do that to the family. My time in Chapel Hill last month solidified that I made the best choice by joining the “Carolina family.” 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.

About Jamie DeMaria: Jamie graduated from Notre Dame with a BS in biology.  At Notre Dame he was a football manager and then a swim team manager his senior year.  He earned a Master’s in Biology, as well as a PhD in Neuroscience from Florida State.  After, a brief stint at UPenn researching molecular causes of breast cancer, he moved on to the pharmaceutical industry, where he has spent the better part of his career.  Last year he joined WebMD as part of their professional education division, Medscape Education, where currently he is the Executive Director of Strategic Development.  Jamie is married to Haley, who is an author, and they have two boys, aged 9 and 7. In his spare time (what there is of it) Jamie can be found building Legos, throwing a football or playing Wii with the kids.