Week 1 — Stormy Weather

by Lemuel Morrison, MBA 2012

The fall semester roared in with tempests both literal and figurative. Irene delayed the start of classes as Baruch became an evacuation shelter.  The rumpus over the academic excellence fee sharpened tongues around campus.  Amid all the action, this series of posts will aim to step back and document the flow of the semester week.

Here are some observations from the first week:

  • Wow, the NVC is even more packed!
  • Awww, how cute the little undergrads are. Now get out of my way;
  • Yuck, day one and the place is filthy;
  • Cool, the Student Life Hut is charming and a hit;
  • Arrgh, the AEF (another post)
  • Hmmm.  I sense a fresh interest from the administration in what grad students think.
  • Rock on, a new wireless system. Go Ruckus!

A new semester brings conflicting emotions.  There is excitement and anticipation about what’s possible, happiness at seeing old friends and making new ones, stoic pride at navigating the crowds around the elevators and eagerness to roll up my sleeves and enter the fray.  Yet there is another suite of conflicting emotions: anxiety with trying to handle the course load and work, a tinge of anger towards moronic classmates, sadness at the life passing by while I’m inside being lectured, and a bit of despair and frustration at the glacial pace of change.

So as I’ve begun to understand Baruch and find my place, I see plenty of things I want to address and be a part of.  I’ve dropped a bunch of irons in the fire: Graduate Baruchian, Real-Estate Club, GSA, Arts, Knowledge Bases and yes, the requisite pint or two (or three, but who’s counting). Oh and yeah, classes. How could I forget about those?!

CLASSES

My personal approach to learning has always been hands-on with lots trial and error.  So when Professors (ahem Partners) Banai and Tulimieri introduced their course, MGT9601 (Business  Consulting) and described the nature of the course, I could hardly contain myself.  Finally!  This is education at its finest.  A bit of background and lecturing, but then they throw us into the pool — with the sharks!  Sink or swim.  We work with actual companies (largely on our own) with issues to solve and we present a bona-fide action plan. That rocks!

They have a good good-cop, bad-cop routine. It works. The tongue lashing late comers received was a breath of fresh air. Now if something can be done with gum-chomping-flip-flop-wearing morons on campus, that would be great!  I’m really looking forward to this course and “getting my hands dirty.”  I expect the inevitable scrapes, bumps and oversights.   As I’ve written about failure before, I actually welcome the experience warts and all.  And thankful it’s “ring-fenced” in grad school.  That’s learning.

Unfortunately, the other classes aren’t as inspiring. And these are in my major, Real Estate.  They are classic lecture courses with soul-crushing power points.  In all honesty, there is only so much jazz you can add to dollar duration, mortgages and time value of money.  I took a new tact this semester after talking to a dear classmate Phuong Ky.  She audited a calculus class and loved the experience.  So I will give it a go too for a math-heavy Real Estate class.  With my undergrad in engineering, there’s not much in math that bothers me.  But I will admit auditing takes the pressure off and allows to appreciate it more and just to learn it without grade pressure.

The challenge for this grad student will be focus.  Can I pick few ideas that really have legs? Will I be able see them through?  Can I juggle work, classes and all the these little projects?  Can I load my brains before I shoot off my mouth?  That is the challenge.  Tune in next week for the next installment.

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