Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some days you're the pigeon, someday days the statue...

Sometimes it's very easy to tell if you're the pigeon or if you're the statue. The day usually starts out one way, and just keeps going in the same direction.

And then sometimes you get a day like I had yesterday. We received an email from our Global Strategy professor with the details of our final exam. The final is a case analysis, focused on how you'd analyze the current and future strategy of the company in the case.

The company highlighted in the case is VMware. At first I had a rye smile on my face because VMware is one of my global alliance partners, with my team spending about 75% of their time on joint activities. We live and breathe their strategy, and how it interacts with our strategy, on a daily basis. So on the surface, this final should be fairly straight forward.

But then I started thinking about it a little more. How much would I be biased by my existing knowledge and our current company strategy? Are we actually doing the right thing? Quickly this moved from a slam-dunk academic exercise to a real-world activity that has broader implications. On one level, I need to nail the final because it impacts my grade (the least of my concerns). On the next level, I need to determine if my company is making the right strategic decisions, comparing the academic/theory approach to our corporate approach. And finally, if I conclude that the company is making a mistake, I need to figure out the best approach to selling an alternative strategy to our leadership group.

There are times when getting an MBA seems like a long drawn-out process, littered with theories and papers that are sometimes difficult to comprehend how they will be applicable back in the real-world. And then occasionally the starts align and it hits the bulls-eye, making the late nights very worthwhile.
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