Along with my other friends and colleagues, I will be helping to chronicle and share some of my student life experiences in the program. As our Cornell-Queen's Executive MBA Class of 2015 celebrates a small milestone of completing six courses and getting our first weekend off, I wanted to take some time to share an interesting story which captures some of the essence of what it is like to be a part of the CQEMBA family. So here goes...
There are a few anxious moments in life when you've got a lot on the line, are waiting for the final call, and trying to give it all you've got. For many athletes, it is the all-too-familiar sound of the starting pistol shot. My situation, however, was much more down to earth but nonetheless exciting.
The setting was a conference hall converted to a makeshift fitness assessment room at the Donald Gordon Conference Center at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I was here as part of the comprehensive all round development for the MBA for Executive students in the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA program, about 2,700 miles away from my home in Seattle.
Having a competitive nature is, of course, not uncommon in MBA students. We are all ambitious, driven go getters; wanting to be the best and always trying to outdo ourselves. So, for this physical assessment test, all of us wanted to focus on giving it our best shot. Case in point, the "vertical jump." This test involves jumping up as high as possible from a squatting position with tape on one's fingers. The goal? Sticking the tape on the adjacent wall. After a few flying maneuvers, I realized that the tape did not want to stick. I gave it one last flying attempt focusing more on where and how to stick the tape versus where and how I was going to land. This time, the tape stuck high enough to where I felt good! However, the landing was less perfect and resulted in a stubbed toe. During the adrenaline of the assessment test, I did not even notice it until I discovered a big swollen toe staring right back at me when I headed back to my room. Hmm!
What followed was incredible. The next day, the center’s student volunteers saw me limping and were gracious enough to promptly get me ice. Miraculously, we also happened to have an orthopedic surgeon in my class from the Toronto boardroom (a fellow MBA student). He who was kind enough to lend his expert advice. He reassured me, letting me know that there was nothing to worry about and that this was something he had seen happen all the time. He expertly applied tape to my adjacent toe to keep it in place. He jokingly also offered to send me the invoice. Luckily, I was able to negotiate his fee down to a cup of coffee! There was further help on the way. The team at the center (also without prompting) arranged for a footrest for my classroom sessions and had it placed under my desk the very next day.
There are a couple of life lessons learned from my vertical jump experience that I think are worth reflecting on:
1) While we are constantly focused in life on how high and where we want to jump, we also need to be aware of where and how we might land.
2) Sometimes we don’t realize the value of having an amazing group of people around us who promptly get us help and attention. Half of our anxiety can simply go away by having a level of support.
3) We need to appreciate the positive energy of having good friends and a cohort.
This incident further exposes advantages of being a part of this MBA program. This is where we make friends for life, not only from the city we live and work in, but also from places as far away as Mexico, Columbia and Canada. With students who are accountants, doctors, lawyers and engineers, experiences like these continue to grow and enrich all of us in this program.