Once we have each submitted our Marketing Management final paper, due Monday at 8am, the Class of 2013 will have officially concluded its first year of the program! This also means that the Class of 2012 has completed all their coursework, and will be graduating next week. To that class, I would like to extend a hearty Congratulations - Class of 2012!
So you are probably thinking that our class is just simply thrilled to have reached the halfway point, huh? The end is sight… Only one more year left of this self-inflicted pain we fancy as calling “going back to school in our adult years”…. Well, for many of my classmates I am sure this is their sentiment. But, for me? Hmmm, not so fast.
I have to be very honest and say that I find myself a little sad reaching this milestone. You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear me say it many times again: the CEMBA is a full blown experience. And when the program ends, unfortunately so does the experience. This really dawned on me this past Saturday night when I needed a break from some late night cramming for my early morning Managerial Finance final exam. Upon leaving my room for a brief breather, I ran into a couple of the 2012 members who were reflecting upon their CEMBA experiences and were obviously upset about the finality of it all. These are individuals I can relate with and have enjoyed spending time with, so witnessing their emotions immediately struck me. BAM! Wow, this really will be ending some day. Yeah, sure in a year from now, and maybe a year away is a long time… but, man did that first year really fly by quickly.
Are myself or my classmates simply going to lose contact, and no longer get together? Not on your life. I have a few hundies that I need to win back in poker from some of these guys, and will win it back no matter how many years it takes! As much as I look forward to the poker games for many years to come, it will not be the same as getting together every two weeks for a full weekend. Every two weeks it’s like a bunch of old friends saying hello over a Saturday morning cup of coffee, asking how family and loved ones are, then hunker down for hours on end in classes, laughing over a team lunch, playing racquetball at night, the offsite dinners, evening review sessions, late evening review sessions (aka: poker), and of course the oft planned outdoor evening tailgates. Of course these are things we can still do post-MBA, but let’s be realistic, we all have lives and organizing a get together for 50+ people every other weekend is near impossible. Here, we’re all together, like it or not, and it’s just simply been amazing being together.
Look, it’s not all fun and games (though a lot of it is), but the vast majority of us are highly motivated, ambitious, and relatively intelligent individuals. Quite frankly, it’s pretty enjoyable to be around such impressive people, seeing how their brains operate in class, learning from them, them learning from you (maybe), then you all blow off a little steam in the evening. We feed off of each other, and I think we make each other better. I can certainly attest that being around my classmates, especially the ones who I’ve grown closest with and can call my friends, motivate me.
It is so much more than taking classes, learning something new, meeting and getting to know people. I guess it is probably best described in one word as a “retreat”. No, not a cult!
Before we know it, it will be completed, and as thrilled as I will be for having accomplished obtaining my Johnson School MBA, I will likely also be equally unhappy knowing the weekend retreats, our unique experience, will then be over.
Until then, I look forward to my summer break with a few rounds of golf, a few dinners, a few adult beverages, and a whole lot of laughs with some classmates. No matter what our futures hold, those times, even if not as often as we'd like, will never end.