Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

The Last Week | December 15, 2009

Early this morning I put the finishing touches on my last final, a 15-page essay for my Innovation Leadership class. Advanced Corporate Finance nearly killed me last Friday, but it’s already receding from view. And now here we are, a few days from departure back to the United States.

Last night we had our residence Goodbye Dinner, featuring the finest Mexican food, BBQ and sangria Denmark has to offer in the middle of December. I suppose I could talk about the bonding and the first goodbyes, but anything I would have to say would come out sounding trite.

Instead, I like to think about the wall decorations, sheets of paper covered with our favorite quotes, memories and experiences drawn out and posted for all to see. Not everyone knew every story. There’s no way 80 people are going to become best friends, no matter how long they are living together. But we all knew what at least some of those words and pictures meant. They were the collective experience spelled out for all.

Living this experience has been invaluable in so many respects. The classroom has been enriching, and I do feel like I’ve come away with hard earned skills, particularly in finance. But while the classroom has been intense at times, it really has been secondary to the people and the experiences. That daily ritual of seeing your friends, talking through your problems, and sharing good times and bad. I think people here are thinking a little more deeply about who they are, what they value, and how they’re going to take all of this back to their friends at home. There is no doubt coming here has been expensive, there’s no price tag that can measure the relationships that have been built. Our professors preach networking back at home, and now it feels pretty good knowing my network is global.

I’d also like to think we’re looking at the future. After all, isn’t this the direction the world is going? Smaller, faster, more interconnected. I believe we’re going to live in a world where we’ll be expected to communicate with each other and learn from each other. We’re all going to take this new perspective on the world home with us, and we will all benefit from it.

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