The MBA program doesn't officially start for another three months for the class of 2014, but our first assignments have already started pouring in! As of right now, I already have six or seven different things to work on, including tests, deadlines and everything! And at the rate of a new assignment popping up every few days, it won't surprise me if I get some more even before the end of the week!
The first assignment came from Prof. Benoit Leleux to try and get us in the right frame of mind for his Entrepreneurship class. It's pretty straightforward - he asked us to read The Monk and the Riddle, by Randy Komisar, and write out some bullets and "learning points" as we read it. By all accounts it's a captivating and inspirational book about the life lessons of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. I've purchased the book, but have to admit I haven't started reading it yet. I guess the old reading list will just have to be put in the back burner for now.
The pile is only going to keep growing!
Prof. Leleux also gave the incoming class an opportunity to send him a business plan of their personal projects, as he could potentially include them in the list of ventures for the MBA Start-up Projects next year. What an awesome opportunity! Unfortunately I don't really have a venture to submit, so this won't turn out to be an extra assignment for me. But I am excited to see what projects we'll have the opportunity to work on next year.
I've gotten a couple of pretty sizable assignments for Accounting and Finance as well. Basically the professors have given us different textbooks to start reading and working through. We're expected to have a solid understanding of Finance and Accounting concepts coming in, considering how much we'll use them throughout the year. So these assignments will be quite important. By the end of November/beginning of December I will need to submit completed problem sets for each, so I want to make sure I stay on top of these! I have to say, I am actually glad to have a chance to start looking at these subjects early. Even though I work in the Financial Services industry, I don't really use too many Accounting or raw Finance concepts in my day-to-day job. So I know I will be rusty from those undergraduate days, and will probably need to do a lot of brushing-up.
The fourth assignment is kind of a fun one - it's an online Excel tutorial. I'm a big Excel nerd, so I don't think I'll need to spend too much time looking at the nitty-gritty details of every lesson in there. But just by spending a couple hours working through the initial assessment "pre-test," I've already noticed this could turn out to be pretty useful. Never hurts to learn some new functions or find new ways to do things more efficiently.
For Economics, I've been asked to fill a questionnaire about my current company's position in the market, some threats and opportunities or each part of the business etc. This exercise will really make me think about my company from a holistic perspective. Once again, there's a deadline: November 15th! I also have a ton of background reading to do, including refreshers on Macro and Microeconomics which will really bring back some memories from the old undergrad days.
The Leadership stream has begun as well, I've been asked to start working on a couple of documents. One is the Ineffective Leadership Episode, where I will describe a recent failure in leadership on my part. It will really make me think about my weaknesses, how I could have done better or how I can improve in the future. The other is the big one - the PPIN (Personal and Professional Identity Narrative), where I am really expected to spill my soul about who I am as a person, what kinds of things motivate me, what kinds of things intimidate me, what have been positive and negative influences and experiences in my life. I will have to have a 15-page draft ready by the time the program begins!
And finally, the career journey has begun as well! I've been tasked with updating my resume/CV. IMD assigned us a CV Reviewer, who will personally give us feedback and help get our resumes in top shape. They also posted some resources like videos and reading materials on how to maximize the effectiveness and impact of your CV.
Needless to say, I better get to work! Everything has already been pretty crazy over here, preparing for the baby and for the move, and trying to wrap things up at work. And this is no small amount of work that is coming my way! So I am going to have to time-manage extremely well over the next month or so to make sure I give these assignments the time and attention they require. Wish me luck!