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The MBA countdown has officially begun…

I officially survived the first 10 days of my MBA. I think it may have been a bit more focused on drinking/dancing than I can anticipate the rest of program being, but hey, it’s all about balance, right? :)

We have been busy studying allll night

We have been busy studying allll night

The orientation & initial classes at Thunderbird all went really well, and gave a promising indication of things to come. While it would be nice to be there in person with the professors vs. watching them over live broadcasts, I think that with the combination of the onsite facilitators (either a professor themselves or a Tbird alum who’s an expert in that field) and interesting/experienced/entertaining classmates (44, I believe, at my site in Santa Fe), it should make for a solid program! I’m also interested to get more of the Latin American perspective on these business issues. For instance, one of our first lectures was regarding ethics– a key focus of education at Thunderbird, as per its Oath of Honor. There were numerous interesting perspectives from students who run into ethical challenges on a regular basis, particularly in countries where small (or not-so-small) bribes are quite common as a means of doing business. Anyway, plenty to learn about before graduation on JUNE 18, 2010!!!  (not that I am counting)

Outside of the classroom, I got to spend time with dozens of fascinating people, learning all sort of fun tidbits. A few highlights–

  1. Mexicans love ‘gobbler photos’ (oh, how I wish I could remember the term in Spanish), where you gather your friends in a circle, set the timer on the camera & put it on the floor, and then it takes a picture highlighting everyone’s 3 chins. I can see why this flattering camera angle would be so popular.
  2. Pisco is a magical liquor created in Peru made by distilling recently fermented grapes, and there are two kinds– aromatic and non-aromatic– with an alcohol content between 38-48%.
  3. I need to learn the words to the most popular a) mariachi band songs, b) traditional Mexican songs, and c) Mexican pop hits ASAP.

    Leading the crowd in some mariachi band classics...

    Leading the crowd in some mariachi band classics...

    These are the songs that get played right before the bar closes (or when the mariachi band visits) that EVERYONE knows the words to, that cause everyone to put arms around each others’ shoulders, swaying/stumbling in unison while belting out the lyrics. If you do not know the words when these songs come on, you can try just mumbling things, but the real Mexicans will KNOW that you are faking it.

  4. Everyone kisses each other on the cheek when meeting/departing, and if you forget this, you will create awkward moments as people hover near your face waiting for you to remember that Latin Americans are not as socially frigid as Americans are.

  5. One of my classmates recounted what I found to be a hilarious story (from what I could understand in Spanish), about how excited she got when reading through our agenda for the week at Thunderbird. She came across one evening that was allocated entirely for a “Desert Survival” simulation (one of those “your plane crashes in the desert with only 5 toothbrushes, a bottle of engine oil, and a box of 17 honeybees; what do you do” teambuilding exercises).  However, she initially translated it as 3 hours of “Dessert Survival”. Although she wasn’t certain what tasks could possibly be involved in surviving three hours of desserts, as a woman five months pregnant, she was confident she was up to the challenge. :)

  6. For those of you who thought the Macarena died out in the late 90’s, FYI–apparently dancing to the Macarena is not only still socially acceptable, but encouraged.

  7. There are kind people out there who will take pity on you and correct you when you make mistakes speaking your 2nd-grade-level Spanish.

  8. Don’t profess that you’ve ”been wanting to learn how to dance to Mexican/Latin music” to a large Mexican guy who outweighs you unless you want to learn how to dance to Mexican/Latin music very close together with slightly inappropriate hand placement.

    Minimum of 8 guys needed for grill-monitoring

    Minimum of 8 guys needed for grill-monitoring

  9. The need for all the men at a barbecue to stand around the grill & monitor the meat exists in all cultures.

  10. Class presidential campaigns in your mid-twenties & thirties cause the same amount of stress, rampant gossip, & social drama that they did back in high school.

  11. All cultures enjoy learning gang signs of other cultures.

    Go Bloods, Midwest, and uh, Fighting Bears?

    Go Bloods, Midwest, and uh, Fighting Bears?

That’s all that leaps to mind for the moment, but I will try to add other key lessons-learned as I recall them…

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1 Comment on “The MBA countdown has officially begun…”

  1. #1 G-Stone Criipk
    on Mar 10th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    if yu not in a qanq den dont throuqht dem fuccn siqns up !! CRIIPK UPK OR GRIIPK UPK !!

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