Musings from a 747

The temptation to contribute to this blog hits me at the strangest times. I’ve officially allocated several hours each Sunday to writing; the allocation is so official, in fact, that it is codified in Outlook, as if it were etched into the side of a pyramid many thousands of years ago. But it never quite materializes that way. Sunday comes, and I realize that I’m in the eye of the hurricane: an eerie calm presages the rapture of the next week. Anticipation, whether it’s eager or not, does not allow the clarity of mind required to summon an idea, and then write about it. So, it’s times like these, idly sitting on a plane, where I get inspired.

Monday, October 17, 2 pm

I just realized that exactly two months from today, I’ll turn 29 years old. It’s an inconspicuous turn of the biological calendar, no doubt, but in my most pensive moments, I see every birthday as another marking on the yardstick. Business school has a way of putting increased weight on these numbers. I’m at an age where most people I know have begun to make astounding strides in their lives, whether personally or professionally. In coming to Fuqua, I volunteered for a two-year hiatus from all that. Now that I think about it, I can see why some think of this as counterintuitive. I remember how I was when I was 22, and just out of college. I got much more out of my professional work in the year before coming back to business school than I did in my first year out of college; so, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have done an MBA then? Or, contrarily, has 5 years of progress given me a skill set required to make this experience, well, more of an experience?

I’ve been spending more time on airplanes in the last two years than I thought I would. I was a consultant in a previous life, so this isn’t unusual or challenging for me, only unexpected. I guess the biggest awakening of business school, in a way, was that from day one, it was more about “business” than “school.” The class work certainly presents its fair share of challenges, and for me, has been the most rewarding part of my two-year hiatus from the real world. Learning was what I came back to school for. But the learning curve, so to speak, was in acclimating to this balance. I suppose the hardest part is that the skills required for success in academic studies don’t overlap terribly well with those required for success in interviews (which, some would argue, don’t overlap terribly well with those required for success in a profession). How to succeed in both? That is the challenge …

Monday, October 17, 10 pm

I’m in the hotel now, weary from a day of traveling, a few hours of semi-casual yet professional conversation, and so many weeks of arduous tasks, but in a seemingly unprecedented position. It’s early enough that, if I were so inclined, I could get nearly 8 hours of sleep, get a solid workout in, and still be on time for my 8 am interview. This is a satisfying feeling; I almost feel that the cognizance that I could adequately rest is probably more important to me than the rest itself. I almost wouldn’t know what to do with this, but it prompts a quandary, one that becomes all too common in business school. I could study a little bit more for my interview, but would the extra rest actually benefit me more than the extra studying? Would the lack of bloodshot eyes and the presence of a cheery disposition be more supportive of my cause than my knowledge of where the bond markets closed yesterday? Or, because I’m a second-year, because it’s fall break, and because I want too, should I just watch TV?

Tuesday, October 18, 4 pm

Now I’m back on the plane, headed home, at least for the time being. It was another satisfying trip. Even though the outcome is still up in the air, I can’t help but feel like the onslaught of interviews is building toward something, though I’m not sure what yet. But these planes always serve as a forum for reflection, and when it comes to that, this experience, and every one like it before, reminds me that I’m fortunate to even have these misadventures, and to be at business school for two years.

Mike Ferguson

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Daytime MBA, Class of 2012. Find out more about me...

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2 Responses to Musings from a 747

  1. Niraj Dalmia says:

    Hi Mike, I am a prospective student and have been reading your blogs. Thanks for the insights! Would love to be able to chat with you about Duke and its MBA program. Are you available anytime? How can I reach you? Thanks – Niraj

  2. Michael Ferguson says:

    Niraj,

    Glad you’ve enjoyed reading this. You should reach out to askastudent@fuqua.duke.edu; they can probably direct you to a more appropriate person based on your interests and goals.

    Thanks for reading,
    Mike

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