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An Update from Arizona

A brief note for anyone interested– two major milestones reached last week! 1) I got a job offer! 2) I started my MBA program!  All in less than one month in Mexico; vast progress in my mind. :)   Certainly a dramatic improvement from the options to occupy my time that were bandied about among my friends when I told them about our impending relocation to Mexico City…  Most suggestions focused on either child rearing or drinking large amounts of tequila (in either straight or margarita form).  And while both are valid ideas in their own way, I figure the job/MBA may be the best option for the near future…

Assuming all the work visas magically fall into place, I will be working at (drum roll please…….) Texas Instruments! Yes, some of you may recognize this company as the place where I have also spent the previous 7 years (+ 3 summers) of my life…and I’m back for more. :) Only I will be experiencing a slight reincarnation, from sales into marketing, as well as another minor change– English into Spanish. Should definitely be an exciting challenge!

On the school front, I began the “Global MBA for Latin American Managers” program on Friday (08-08-08), a joint degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Glendale, Arizona) and Tec de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico). Some of you may be thinking, “Latin American Manager? Aren’t you from Nebraska?”  And yes, this is a valid point which I have addressed several times this week. In a nutshell, I’ve been wanting to get MBA, I want to live/work overseas, I find international business really interesting, the classes are in English, and this 2-year weekends-only program aligns perfectly with John’s assignment at the Embassy in Mexico. The program begins with a 10-day orientation at Thunderbird in Arizona. I’ll be attending classes with 40+ students in Santa Fe (a suburb of Mexico City) where we’ll interact with local facilitators, and the lectures will be broadcast live from professors at either Thundrbird or Tec. We have a week-long trip overseas in the middle of the program, and then bookend it with another week at Thunderbird just prior to graduation.

In case an MBA was not challenge enough, however, note that I am joined by 178 other students, the vaaaast majority of whom are indeed native Latin Americans & all of whom are fluent Spanish speakers. And then there is Julie, the awkwardly tall girl who speaks Spanish like a 2nd grader (and a probably a 2nd grader who’s in the slooow reading group). And while the official language of the classes may be English, you can bet that the official language of the Thunderbird pub during GMBA week is not. :) Because of this, I was both excited and slightly terrified about the 10-day orientation, and had fleeting visions of me sitting alone in my dorm room reading my “Breaking Out of Beginners’ Spanish” book while everyone else was out fluently debating the merits of various tequilas and salsa dancing for hours on end.

I am pleased to report that although there has been plenty of salsa dancing & drinking, every fellow student that I have met so far has been incredibly friendly & patient with me & my Spanglish and I am having a fantastic time. My goal is to be fluent by the time after our two year stint in Mexico, and all my newfound MBA cohorts will certainly help!!! And let the record show, I even gave in to pressure to attempt to salsa or merengue or something the other night. While I am confident that I looked like a moron & was only out there for about 2 songs, maybe this will inspire me to try again? 

Maybe. And maybe someday I will also understand more than 50% of a conversation outside of class… :)

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7 Comments on “An Update from Arizona”

  1. #1 Chhaya
    on Aug 11th, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Julie–Great news on both job and school counts–congrats!! Well, I guess you really will be busy! :) As for the salsa/merengue potential debacle, that’s much how I felt doing the highland dancing at your and darling John’s nuptials—so I understand the feeling. :) I love reading your blog and keeping up with your goings on. Stay well and safe. Love, Chhaya

  2. #2 Penny
    on Aug 12th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Julie,
    Its too much fun reading your blog. Love your honesty. Looked at the Thunderbird Fall calendar. Is this 10 day stint in AZ what they call Statistics, Accounting, Finance, and Economics Bootcamps? If so, I’d want to be doing lots of dancing and drinking each and every night – just for a change of pace.
    Hope you INSIST that John also becomes proficient at salsa and merengue. It’s a life long joy. If not, he’ll never get to dance with you and you will ALWAYS have a partner. What’s especially great is that Latinos of all ages not only LOVE to dance but also are more than happy to teach you all the intricacies. Local dance clubs are a huge entre into socializing, group fun, romance and exercise for fun in the Latin American countries I’ve visited.. No Latin diplomat would dare feel inept in this setting.
    Your MBA peers sound fascinating. What an incredible opportunity. From all you’ve shared, I can’t imagine boredom will ever pay you a visit. LOVE YOUR PLUCK!! Penny

  3. #3 Julie
    on Aug 12th, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Here’s the link specifically for the Global MBA Program for Latin American Managers, for your reading perusal!
    http://www.thunderbird.edu/prospective_students/working_prof_degrees/gmba_latam/index.htm

  4. #4 Emma C
    on Aug 13th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I absolutely love the fact that your doing an MBA at a college called Thunderbird, it sounds sooo feckin cool!

    Thunderbirds are go!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbirds_Are_Go

    Look at you being Super Julie and sorting out your job and study in less than a month. And I’m so proud of you doing salsa. You go girl!

  5. #5 Bruce Warner
    on Aug 13th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    You couldn’t stay away from the big TI…that’s fanastic !! The new job sounds much more interesting then selling HPA for sure!!

  6. #6 Mike Jaeger
    on Aug 14th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Quite impressive – the experience you gain now will last a lifetime. I’m thinking Frank Sinatra right now – “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere.” Way to go. Keep those blog posts coming.

  7. #7 John
    on Aug 23rd, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Who is this Bruce Warner guy?

    Name does not sound Mexican to me?

    Best of luck to you “cousin”. Sounds fun down South.

    Arriba, arriba!

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