The calm before the storm

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services & Technologies

September in the TMMBA office is the period I like to call “The calm before the storm”.  While the rest of the staff is frantically busy processing, reviewing and making decisions on admissions for the incoming class starting Winter 2010, the academic services side calms down quite a bit as I largely support the students (away on break) and the faculty (courses for summer are over).  Every year I take this time to focus my energies on the gathering “storm” that is Winter quarter.  While it may seem that I’m getting ahead of myself by prepping a quarter in advance, that’s the nature of the business, always at least a quarter ahead, if not more.  The extra time is especially valuable to have before the frenzy that defines Winter quarter, and when I think of it, doesn’t really end until Spring quarter is complete, eeeks!  Winter is wild for these main reasons:

  1. A new cohort of students starts the program, Class 10 (they’re trying to learn how to be a student again while finding zen with a full-time job and family)
  2. New course material distribution medium (Class 10 is receiving Kindle DX’s to receive their textbooks at the start of the program, this is a pilot for the Foster School of Business)
  3. The veteran group of students, Class 9, is starting their 2nd to the last quarter (this puts the total number of courses between the two cohorts at 8; a lot is going on)
  4. Planning begins to wrap-up Class 9′s MBA career, including their Capstone event and graduation in the Spring

Hopefully this entry doesn’t come across as complaining, because I’m not.  Winter and Spring quarters for all their work and stress end up being some of the most exciting and rewarding times in the program!  In the Winter I get to meet a brand new group of eager students, which I find is one of the neatest parts of my job.  Over the years I’ve worked here I have developed quite a network both professionally and socially which turns out to be one of the most significant perks for students too (not necessarily meeting me, but meeting people across industries/disciplines/cultures).  After Winter exits Spring arrives and we see the veteran group of students finishing their MBA careers.  This experience is always very special as the staff gets to know many of the students on a personal level so it’s pretty neat to see them reach their goals.  So I’m buckling in and holding on, it’s sure to be another doozy! :P