The ropes course was worth it. Mainly due to my awesome classmates and the xylophone. The xylophone is a horizontal ladder consisting of alternating narrow boards and pieces of rope getting wider and wider spaced apart, all suspended 50 feet in the air. You climb to the top with a partner and the object is to get to the other side remaining in physical contact with your partner and not using the wires on the sides.
I’m not afraid of heights. However, this took everything to a new level. Tony, from France, and I became quick friends clinging (well, admittedly, I was the one clinging) to each other stepping across thin air aiming to land on a frayed, skinny piece of rope and stay balanced.
We made it.
Orientation (O-week) started Monday. Wow. Now I am really impressed. Haas has apparently pulled out all the stops. We have had terrific food, excellent organization, numerous outstanding speakers, brief and efficient orientation meetings, a reception 2 sessions with our study groups to work out our group dynamics, a personal performance by the UC Berkeley marching band, a lectures on the case study methodology and a case study class discussion, facilitated by our faculty. Today is Tuesday.
We started off with a full-on multi-media show put together by Brad Kittredge, one of our talented second year O-week chairs. The room suddenly went black, music started. Pictures and video, all set to music commenced.
Now, about the speakers.
Richard Lyons was the first to take the stage yesterday (8/18/08). What an amazing pick for a dean. He was incredible. He weaves anecdotes seamlessly into his talk. He is dynamic, he is funny, clear, smart and pithy. Wow.
Bob Haas gave an inspiring talk. It turns out the Levi company, through Mr. Haas, is an amazingly progressive company.
My favorite pieces of advice:
Express your personal values in a way that make a difference.
Be out in front on issues you know in your heart of hearts is the right thing to do.
I’ve never seen on any of our employees’ tombstones, “I sold a million pairs of jeans.” Be a good partner, be a good parent.
Priya Haji spoke at our reception. She commanded silence in a room of tired, excited, networking first years. She is doing beautiful work, I’m sure she sleeps well at night. As a family physician, I can relate. She had a lot to teach us. I just wish my feet hadn’t been hurting so much by the time she turned up to speak.
Tom Kelley, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation spoke this morning. This man raised the speaker’s bar, if that is even possible. Basically, I’ll be borrowing both of his books (yes, we have no money now) to read immediately. In my spare time.
The supreme achievement is to blur the line between work and play
Arnold J. Toynbee
You’ve got to find the problem to solve.
I’ve been to my favorite sushi restaurant 400 times.
I’m not sure who discovered water, but I’m sure it wasn’t a fish.
vous ja de
Vous ja de is looking at what you see every day with new eyes. The reverse of deja vous, so to speak, seeing something new with the recognition of having seen it before. I have the distinct sense that Kelley’s ideas will change my life. Now, isn’t that awesome, in the truest sense of the word?
I belong to the Axe cohort. Apparently Rumana is great with baking cupcakes. She somehow got quickly roped into a cupcake contest that demands an (and I’m quoting) ‘uncanny ability to eat cupcakes.’ More on that after thursday. Our Axe chant contains something about ‘give them the axe, axe, axe. Give it to them in the neck, neck, neck.’ Is this the right time to remind people that I am a doctor?
The one deficiency in orientation surrounds the topic of family. There is no mention of children, no pictures, no discussions. It is somewhat isolating for me, and I imagine for other parents. I know I’m not the typical MBA student, but diversity is consciously celebrated in our school. Interestingly, Pete Johnson mentioned every country present in our class, some of the amazing and various talents and diversities amongst us, interesting stats about GMAT, honors, scholarships, % of women degrees (I did get a shout out for being a primary care physician), but again, nothing about our students with families and children. Don’t get me wrong, I feel complete support at Haas in every way, including any help I might request surrounding family and children, but I think that true acceptance and equality will come when students in my position are recognized and discussed publicly. It feels a little ‘in the closet.’ There are real issues I’m facing as a parent student that are as important as my academic orientation and getting to know my classmates such as daycare, transportation, support networks, local resources, financial implications, parent partner support.
Everyone is completely ‘impressed’ that I have 3 children and am doing an MBA. I guess we student parents, especially student mothers, will have truly arrived when people are a little less impressed. When things change enough that it is a little less impressive.