I am referring to Fresher’s Week as a full time MBA student, rather than a reference to the post coital question – although some of the more amorous/feral undergraduates may have uttered something similar in the last few days if they were lucky, or unlucky (delete as appropriate depending on the night in question).
Actually, I’m not sure these youngsters in the prime of their lives utter anything at all anymore, and simply just ooze youthful sophistication judging by the amount of heads distracted by the t’internet on their shiny new IPads. In a general orientation lecture I wondered into late last week one particular fresh faced undergrad caught my eye. Clad in Jack Wills, she nonchalantly browsed Amazon whilst sipping a global brand of coffee, with a well-stocked iPod nestled on the freshly cleaned bench of a virgin new term in front of her that still gave off a faint smell of Jiff Lemon. Trawling my memory bank for my first day as an undergraduate in an austere start to 90’s Britain in a hard drinking Northern English City, I was simply pleased that I had remembered to buy lined notepads and a selection of reasonably priced Pot Noodles. And as for ‘fresh-faced’, I’m not sure that prefix could ever have been applied when detailing my complexion, as my blackheads looked old, even bac k then.
All the fears that MBA students must have (or is it just me?) of the 12-14 hour days and sleepless nights honing presentations and essays that have the capacity to shape their future careers were still a week away. We were encouraged, nay persuaded, by the lecturer to come to the Drinks Reception, if only to meet other students and the free beer. Presented with a room full of names that I promptly forgot before I had even learnt them, my first Friday night as an MBA student was spent drinking. As an aside, in a thrillingly ambiguous description that thundered so much virtue and power that it could have been uttered by a Greek God, all MBA Students are informed that ‘you do not get an MBA you become one’ [italics] . The italics were mine – simply out of respect for the unknown pain we are about to go through to be able to apply that fearsome sounding statement to ourselves. In fact I’m still not sure whether I feel more terrified or exhilarated. Both probably. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway, back to the drinks. The dawning realisation that my life was about to change significantly in the next 12 months was eased somewhat that night by the copious intake of strong continental lager. Unfortunately, however, the bottles weren’t chilled, thereby confusing many International Students brought up on the belief that it was English Beer not Full Strength Belgian Lager that was supposed to be warm.
I decided to try the Marketing Students reception in the neighbouring room. ‘Are you sure that’s the place for you?’ I was asked by a dauntingly organised part time MBA student destined to spend every evening of the next three years missing Coronation Street on ITV – by dint of having an awful lot of work to do after work. ‘Yes’, I replied a little too keenly, ‘I’ve heard the Marketing Students have ice Cold Stella’.
The talk next door was about which type of character you were…well…apart from the continual observations made by rueful sounding students in hushed tones, that simultaneously managed to convey a feeling of wonderment & bafflement informing incredulous cohorts that, in the MBA room, they actually had warm beer available for consumption.
By the ‘type of character’ I am of course referring to the many learning and communication style questionnaires that seemed to have been handed out to all and sundry – I was sure I spotted a security guard trying one in a quieter moment – that will describe what type of person you are if you simply answers questions such as how angry the tube makes you when the Circle Line to Baker Street is delayed yet again. By the way, International Students not used to the vagaries of the London Underground Transport system: a warning – this little, yellow, outwardly unassuming Line, is the equivalent of Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell – except without the fun bits and free ice cream, and should be avoided at all costs.
Kinaesthetic, Auditory or Visual. Which one are you? To be fair to these tests I think they do accurately capture the essence of someone’s personality & character. And with the surprising amount of group work that the University & MBA students in particular are about to undertake in the (gulp) ever nearing first day of term, knowing who will work well together is a vital advantage for your studies.
It’s just that I took exception to the fact that I managed to class myself as an inveterate promoter/socialiser. ‘What exactly does that mean?’ I asked a fellow student who said he found himself in the same category. ‘I think it means we like beer’ he replied. And what that we clinked our Stella bottles.
It was instructive to learn that being a student once again, and an MBA Student in particular provides a world of possibilities and options. Literally. To visit China or Moscow on the Social Entrepreneurship Scheme, an elective to India, even the Careers team passionately asking for volunteers to work on Risk Management Projects in the Finance Industry? Blimey, this time last Tuesday the only decision I actively made was whether to try the new Guinness flavoured HP Sauce on my bacon sandwiches.
It was also illuminating, after, of course, a few more than a few beers than were strictly necessary, to see how hushed and reverential – without exception – every student I encountered became, when we eventually got around to talking about the elephant in the room: exams.
After all thats why we’re here isnt it?
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