Three Classes Left, Two Weeks to Go: One Big Bag of Hurt

In receiving the grade for my ‘Interview with an Entrepreneur’ assignment yesterday, I’m down to three classes remaining for the successful completion of my MBA.  In two weeks, I’ll be done them all…and join the ranks of the few hundred other Duke MBA’s that will graduate in 2010!

But of course, two weeks is a long time from now…when you’ve got to go to work, have two finals in quantitative classes, and a final team assignment (especially one where you know absolutely zero about the topic…MBA= Master of Barely Anything?  Maybe.)

Here’s how I see the next two weeks unfolding…since by electives choice, most of you aren’t in my classes, hopefully this will make you feel better about your choices (I can’t imagine anyone wants to switch places with me!)


As I mentioned above, all assignments are turned in here.  The only piece missing to know my true, final grade is the mysterious ‘participation’ grade.  I’m not even worried about this, and frankly, the educational value I received from my interview with a local entrepreneur more than made up for any losses I’ll take for not actively following the bulletin board on the platform.

In residency, I was a bit disappointed in this class; given the choice of only one entrepreneurship elective, the fact that this class mainly focused on companies that 1) develop a tangible product (as opposed to a service) and 2) were looking for venture capital made me wish I had selected a different elective.  In the future, I could see myself working/starting for a consulting firm in the dark art of quantitative modeling/web analytics, and I thought it would be more important to know how to select office space or vendor than how to pitch a VC.

But as I referenced above, my one assignment to chase down a local entrepreneur and make them tell me their secrets was probably the best bit of learning I received as part of my Duke MBA.  I didn’t have to work very hard in the pursuit, as I interviewed my former boss (a serial entrepreneur) about his new venture.  But re-connecting is something I wouldn’t have had the courage to do without this assignment, and now that I have, it can only lead to better things to come.

So Professor Thornton, thank you for the quality of assignments and the speakers we had during the class!  You’ve done a fantastic job of teaching us about the process of entrepreneurship, now the class needs to figure out the next steps to actually doing


Investments is one of the two classes where I have an actual final exam.  I’m not really sure what to think here; the final is only allotted 3 hours, and I get the feeling the Professor isn’t the type of person to beat the students into submission at last moment.  My hope here is that I can study tonight and perhaps take the final tomorrow night, leaving me the next 9 days to study for Valuation.

I also have one more assignment here, turning in my ‘trading journal’.  My “Short S&P500, Long Gold” strategy has been, at best, choppy all semester.  As of yesterday, I was still showing a loss in my portfolio, which hopefully gets rectified in the next week or so.  While I appreciate Ben Bernanke’s attempt to inflate our way out of recession (or at least boost the stock market, where I’m quite long in my retirement funds), he really hasn’t been helping my on this assignment!


What the hell was I thinking taking this class?  There are no words to describe how far behind I am here, and how little motivation I have.

Luckily the professor has provided me all the motivation I need:  the final is worth 60% of my grade.  $#%#&$!

Strategy Implementation

You know when you see a movie and they put the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other when someone is making a decision?  That’s me right now. (BTW, I always root for the devil!)

While airing out all the dirty laundry about this class might be funny to some, it’s probably not productive (I did use my course evaluation to it’s full potential though).  I’ll just say that this class has turned out to be a complete debacle, and I’m sure most if not all of my classmates would agree.  I’ve taken a lot of college classes at this point in my life, and I wouldn’t hesitate to rank this one as one of the worst.  I’ve probably learned more from the 10 minutes I spent reading this article about strategy and implementation than I have all semester, and I didn’t need to pay $7000 for the privilege.

I checked my student loan balances this morning, and they are substantial.  While I will be happy when the total gets down to $7000 (50 years from now!), that last $7000 will be the “Strategy Implementation” payment…the gift (of anger) that keeps on giving.

Then what?

All negativity aside, in two weeks I’ll be done and have a shiny new degree and a lot more free time.  In keeping with the movie theme, I’ll paraphrase the iconic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and say:

The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

All I know is that I’ll have plenty of time to find out…

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