Archive for the 'Extracurricular' Category

One thing I did back before Spring Break was I took a day off of school (with several classmates) to help the Salem Hospital participate in the Salem/Keizer School District’s JIFFY day.  That’s their Job Interview Fair for Youth, where community participants gather with a bajillion high school students and interview them as if it were a job interview.  We then give them feedback on their resume and their interview habits and responses.  We did a lot of the interviews for the Salem Hospital, which was a fantastic opportunity (for me, at least) to sit on the other side of the table.  I’m glad I did it.

A huge part of the MBA experience at Willamette is the PACE project. This is a year long “supercurricular” project with a team consisting of a sub-set of the class. Half the PACE project is planning a for-profit enterprise (execution of this plan isn’t necessary, but that’s not to say that it’s easy) and the other half is consulting for a non-profit organization.

My group is consulting for the Salvation Army of Marion/Polk counties. One project we’re working on for them is an analysis of data from their 2005 Kettle Drive. (The Kettle Drive is those people you see at stores ringing a bell between Thanksgiving and Christmas.) The tragedy in this is that their record keeping seems to be somewhat inconsistent…

So I’m currently going blind using excel. I’m dealing with hundreds and hundreds of cells of data that I’ve meticulously linked to other sheets within this spreadsheet so as to collect as much data as possible and then make it meaningful. I’m not even sure I’m doing a great job yet, but by God I hope this turns out…

Not content with an intense courseload, I’ve also signed up to be a writer for Atkinson Management Today, our business school’s online journel. It sounds like I’ll be writing one article per semester (let’s hope I get published) and I’ll be responsible for researching my topic, writing it, and working it out with whoever my editor is to make sure it’s polished properly.

Think of “Compass Week” as “MBA Boot Camp”, but without being call “maggots” all the time. It’s the week before classes officially start. Beginning on August 21st, we had 5 days of introduction to the MBA program.

It was intense.

The week started with me showing up in a suit to meet my classmates - all 53 of them. I’m as good with people as I am with killer ninja midgets, which is to say that they scare me and I’m very, very shy.

From there it was a whirlwind of activity. Guest speakers. Team building activities. I shook more hands than could possible be healthy for me.

Day two was held up at the Portland Center (near Powell’s Books) and we were assigned our PACE groups and projects. PACE is, in short, 13 people working on two projects. In one, we’re consulting for a non-profit agency and trying to “add value” to what they do. In the second, we’re creating a plan for our own for-profit business. For the non-profit, the Salvation Army of Marion-Polk County had agreed to work with us. We had our first meeting with them at the end of the day, with precisely 0 business classes under our belt.

Day three was back in Salem. More panels, explanations of Microsoft Excel, shaking hands, and “networking.” This “networking” is a foreign concept to me, as I was pretty used to “networking” from a “network administrator” standpoint. Cisco has nothing to do with this new type, I’m finding.

Day four was a team-building day at a place called the Tilikum Retreat Center. I got to bond with my PACE team, which means they got to see me as the most overweight, out-of-shape person there. It seems that while I wasn’t in bad shape, there’s an important modifier to that statement. It’s “for a computer nerd.” Damn.

Day five was our first class. Yay! Homework due Monday. Boo!

For the most part, I was at school during Compass Week well before 8 AM and I usually wasn’t getting home until almost 7 PM. I was exhausted at the end.

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