Here I am in my room at the Knight Center and I can’t help but get emotional thinking of Saturday night’s match up in Gainesville. It also helps that brew has somehow worked its way into my bloodstream and DMB plays loudly from Hampton Roads, Virginia in 1996 (“Typical Situation”) over my iPod. It’s the best I’ve got. Thanks Tim for those discouraging pictures from the WPB show. But as I type, LeRoi Carter is absolutely wailing on the flute and the forecast back in the Blue Ridge of Virginia is for a high of 75 on Saturday. Oh how I miss Virginia.
But I’ve met some new friends. Let’s call ’em colleagues in arms or maybe crazy. Nuts just about as much as I am. There’s six of us on a team here in our EMBA program at Wash U. Six people. One a Boeing engineer who’s as polished as a US Marine dress blues belt buckle. Another a sensitive “tiger lady” lawyer with a keen sense on when to inject focus into a discussion. There’s a laid back banker who’s as smart as a Texas politician but doesn’t want anyone to know it. The young marketing guy, a former 101st Airborne officer one year removed from our conflict in the Middle East, kind of reminds me of myself but has about 400% more fearlessness than I did at his age. And our fifth member of the group is probably one of the most genuine persons you’ll ever meet and the leader of a remarkable business here in St. Louis.
We’ve embarked on a journey to get an MBA. We call ourselves Team “B”ackwards Integration. All of us have our personal reasons and all of us have our shared reasons for being here. The overarching reason is we want to affect change and help people grow. So what if shellfish reasons such as getting higher pay, job promotions, nice cars, etc. enter into our minds? At the end of the day we’ll be richer not because of the jobs we hold or the organizations we lead but because of the people we touch, because of the morality we exhibit that cause others to make a stronger difference in the lives of others. That’s what its really about.
As I sit here early this morning I can’t help but think of the people who will push me over the next 20 months and the people who have pushed me thus far. For instance, I wear my grandfather’s watch each day. I like to think of it as his “first” watch although I don’t know when he purchased it nor why he kept it until his death earlier this decade. All I know is his dream, a dream that we build for the future of family and others. It reminds me of where we come from and what we can become.
And I think of my support at home…
Baby, well I am swimming in your seas and in your oceans
and I can feel the wave come crash into me
Ah yes I feel the wave come and crash into me
Ah yes I see the wave come and crash into me
I will be your Dixie Chicken if you’ll be my Tennessee lamb
And we can walk together down in Dixieland
Crash into me
But there’s another day and a half to go in this endless first week of orientation. We’ve learned that executive chefs have egos and visions just as big as fortune 100 CEOs. We’ve been clueless, confident, convicted, and cordial. We’ve had way more caffeine in one week than we ever had in 4 years of undergrad studies. We’ve enjoyed and accepted the value that our professors add to our learnings and our development. We hunger for more.
Coming up tomorrow we have several more classes before our grand finale on Saturday. A grand finale because the team is to put together a skit to communicate our “contract” to the rest of the class. We’ve finished the contract. Tomorrow night we’ll work on the skit.
After we complete the day on Saturday we’ll depart for our perspective homes for more homework and preparation for classes every other weekend until April 2009. I have no doubt that that date will come quickly.
Although I hope it does I plan to savor every moment.