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Well the EIBE assignment is done and I am starting to feel like I am getting settled in.  My last 6-8 weeks has been a whirl wind but has been fun trying to get all the “To-Do” items off my list.  I figured I would take you through day in the life of Jay, and as most of you are starting to find out it’s usually entertaining.  Here are some short stories of how I made my decision to be where I am today, doing my MBA with good group of eclectic people.

The Straw that broke the camels back

It all started back in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which has been my “home” for the last 12 years.  I say “home” because in my old line of work it usually required me to travel great distances to work and meant that I usually lived in a camp or trailer.  The last project was a yearlong and I lived in a small town of 2,000 people in the middle of Saskatchewan called Esterhazy.  Esterhazy was hours away from any town that was larger than that but it did have one bar and a gas station.  My girlfriend and I had decided that with our upcoming marriage in May 2013, that I should take this position to save as much money as possible to keep us out of debt.  What we didn’t realize we were signing up for was that the job would go south in so many ways and took all my spirit out of me by the end.  By the end of the year project I had only slept in my bed at ”home” maybe 55 days and most of those so exhausted, I don’t remember hitting the pillow.  I thank my lucky stars that my future wife was so understanding and supported me in my perseverance to complete what I started, even if it meant a massive sacrifice for both of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job. And I mean loved but it meant I had to sacrifice everything else; friends, hobbies, sports, and family…..It was time to move on!

Going Back to my Roots

Most of you don’t know this yet, but you will learn that I am ski addict, also known as a ski bum.  Everything I lived for in my 20s was for the next turn on the fluffy snow covered slopes.  I spent most winters hitchhiking through the Rocky Mountains while chasing snow storms for powder and sleeping in hostels, tents and even on porches.  Over the last year, during my long evenings living in 18ft trailer in -30C for months on end, I had lots of time to reflect on my life.  The life I was living was not the life I had envisioned in my 20s and it was not the life I wanted for my family.  During this reflection period I recalled a quote from the late Trevor Peterson, a professional extreme skier from the late 80s and early 90s. The quote has stuck with me since for the last twenty years and is something I live by when I need guidance.

“There comes a time when one must something or sit at home with one’s dreams, forever.” ~TP

So during a long hearted conversation with my then girlfriend it was decided that we make a major change and move overseas in search of completing my MBA.  We already knew it was going to very busy year, as we were getting married in May, but felt the change was needed.  The project schedule I was working on lined up perfectly with finishing in early Aug which allowed me to complete what I started and still having time to sell everything before I left for school.  Well the decision was made, now to start the Application process.

Drafted 1st Round Doesn’t Guarantee Success

So, the MBA schools research began.  This is a daunting task as there are so many options to choose from.  Who was higher in the ranks, what is the program specialty, cost of program, location, native language outside of school, and the list goes on.  I strongly believe that the program specialty and the people associated with the program make the difference.  Yes, I know if you go to a top ten school you will probably be recruited to some large multi-national company and may get paid more than me when you get out of school.  But that doesn’t guarantee success.  For a lot of us we are here to build knowledge to open a business up, work for a smaller consulting firm or even just to find ourselves.  I relate acceptance to a MBA school to the career of a guy named Luc Robitaille.  He started his National Hockey League (NHL) career by being drafted in the 9th round (171th) in the draft pick, because he was regarded as a terrible skater.  But with hard work and determination, Luc played 22 seasons across a couple different teams, mainly the LA Kings, and became the NHL’s all-time left wing goal scorer.  In reality by the 2nd season nobody cared what place he was drafted in to the NHL because the kid could play.   The point is by the time you have worked a couple of years after the MBA program, nobody will care where you went to school.  They are just ensuring you are the right fit and have the knowledge to bring to the table to better their company.  So it means get the most amount out of your time here by putting your best foot forward and listening to everyone’s experiences, as they can all teach us something.  It is this premise and hard work ethic that will give you tools to continue to grow to be successful.

To be Continued…

I have never blogged before and fully intend to continue to update this blog throughout the year.  I know it may not be your traditional post but I feel you need to know who I am if you are going to read my posts all year.  This is just the beginning of my story and I will continue it, along with additional updates on the program achievements and milestones.  I know this is just one life story of the many in the FT MBA program but I am sure if you ask someone else, it will sound very familiar in their own context.