Saturday, May 22, 2010

The End of a Journey....

...and the beginning of a new one.

After 225 posts, I've decided that it's time to put an end to this blog. Last week our WFU SOB Exec2009 MBA class had their official "Hooding Ceremony" at Wait Chapel, and with that I'm going to wish a fond farewell to something that truly changed my perspective on work and how I interact with people.

More than anything else, I want to thank my family for the incredible support they gave me over the last two years. We knew it wouldn't be easy, and there were times when we questioned if it made sense. But in the end it turned out to be invaluable in helping my future career, and I am forever thankful to them.

When I started the blog, I had just completing my first semester in the program and I felt like my mindset was too focused on the mechanics of learning, on the results (grades), and not enough on the learning process. It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to make my MBA experience more social, more focused on the application of the learning.

As I look back on the blog now, I'm proud of how it evolved and what it taught me about the use of social media, expressing ideas and concepts succinctly, and making a commitment to using the fundamentals of the program as a model for future learning. If I had to make a list of lessons learned, it would go something like this:

  • Get in the habit of writing, everyday if possible. Even if you don't post everyday, it forces you to take an idea from a scrambled thought to something that you feel confident communicating in public.
  • Look for linkages between concepts and ideas. I tried very hard to find examples of topics from one discipline (eg. finance) and show how it was linked to another discipline (eg. marketing). This forced me to put myself in the shoes of the business owner and example how actions in one area effect many other areas of the business. 
  • Look for analogies between industries. Far too often we repeat the mistakes of the past because we only look for answers within our own industry. Often times there are analogies from other industries that can be examined and applied to help solve problems in your industry. 
  • Don't be afraid to explore a "crazy idea", some interesting things might happen. The Internet has become so social (and searchable) that you'll often find complete strangers will offer suggestions or comment about similar thinking they've had. You may also "shelve" the idea now, but find that you come back to it again a few months later after the dynamics of an industry change (or the global economy changes).
  • Even though it's "just blogging", learn how to use the digital tools of the Internet to measure how your blog is doing. You'll be amazed at what you can learn about your readers using free tools (eg. Google Analytics). So just like a business owner, it's important to listen to and understand what your readers are doing around your blog (eg. commenting, visiting for xx minutes, reading specific topics more than others, visiting because of certain keywords, etc.)
  • Write about things that you talk about more than once. You don't need a master strategy for blogging or a novel full of ideas. Just write about topics that come up more than a couple times in your life (or MBA experience). 
  • Create your "personal brand". A blog is a great way to show the world your way of thinking, the depth of your analysis, your sense of humor or your interests. It enhances a boring resume and makes you findable by future job recruiters.  
Thank you to anyone that has ever read the blog, made a comment, or forwarded it along to a friend. It became an extension of my MBA experience, and I'm glad I took the chance to get started 225 posts ago.

- Brian
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