Durham, Day 14: Le fin du monde

Dinner, pre-embarassing CCMBA story re-telling

What seemed insurmountable 13 months ago in London has come full-circle:  the end of the residency portion of the Cross Continent MBA program.

Last night’s final dinner was a recognition of the end of a huge milestone in the program, and yet, I wouldn’t describe the moment last night as ‘happy’; bittersweet seems to be the word most often written on Facebook.  We’ve still got the distance portion of Semester 6 to go, so the celebration was somewhat muted…if anything, yesterday’s dinner reflected that we’ve run out of time together and the amazing experiences now become stories to be retold at graduation, reunions and the like.

While the dinner food itself was fairly mediocre, I’m sure I’m the only one who probably noticed.  It was clear that last night was going to be the last time to get together for pictures, to have one last talk with a classmate you might never (easily) run into again.  At the same time, it further highlights how far we’ve all come; I’m fairly confident that I’ve got at least one lifetime friend in the major business markets in the world.

Perhaps the funniest part of last night was the ‘storytelling’ portion of the program.  What I’m sure was an innocent intention from the Fuqua staff to have an open mic for students to reminisce about the cultural moments of the program quickly degenerated into stories recounting the party adventures of the Class of 2010d.  At one point, I choked on my beer watching Dave walk around like a penguin in recounting needing to find a bathroom at the Taj Mahal; hey, it might not have been cultural, but it’s a story and moment we can all remember.

After dinner, a plurality of classmates headed out in Durham for one last club experience.  It was fairly strange to be in a college bar, in the U.S., when so many of us have moved past that stage into success in the business world, families, and general ‘worldliness’.  I ended leaving early, but in the end it doesn’t matter; the memories have been set, the experiences have been had.

This morning when I checked out of the hotel, I ran into a few straggler classmates checking out.  It truly does feel different.  About a dozen of us are going to be staying the weekend to camp out for the chance to buy Duke Basketball tickets, and even though we’re still part of the graduate student population at large, to me it almost feels as if I’m beyond the CCMBA…that I’ve already become an alumni.

It’s a good place to be, even if it’s a bittersweet feeling.

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