Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer learnin', happened so fast.

As we are speeding toward having closed out two full months of our first Summer term, I thought it was high time to get a post out there that actually addresses just how fantastic the LGO experience has been thus far.

My very last first day of school officially went in the books on 6/1/11.  That morning unfolded a lot like how I remember starting a new grade in elementary school felt, right down to my brand new shoes, backpack, and Spiderman lunch box.  Actually being at MIT - just physically standing there - felt very surreal, but very exciting.  The ice was quickly broken, and before lunch, it was like 50 strangers had known each other for years.  

Around 75% of the summer work at LGO is done in predetermined summer teams.  Our first challenge was selecting a team name.  We decided to name ourselves after the fiercest possible combination of our undergraduate schools' mascots.  We learned that one teammate was a "Bear," and another was from the "Wolf Pack," and so the BearPack was born.  Pretty fierce stuff!

Meet the BearPack.  Grrrr.
As a Carnegie Mellon alumni, I didn't even want to offer up my mascot for the discussion.  CMU athletic teams are nicknamed the "Tartans."  For you non-Scots out there, "tartan" is the word for the pattern of fabric from which kilts are fashioned.  Intimidating, right?

The Tartans.  Be Afraid.  Be very afraid.
The first week of class is made up of a special module known as "The Universe Within."  Topics to be covered include leadership, team building, and super sweet physical challenges.  On our third day of class, we participated in the Outward Bound event on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor.  The entire day is devoted to working in teams to solve puzzles and accomplish tasks that one couldn't complete alone.  The day concluded with a pretty intense exercise: You suited up in full climbing gear and scaled the sort of vertical obstacle with which even a PhD of Ninja might struggle.  As you made your way up the swinging, rickety wooden Everest, an LGO teammate held your life in his/her hands while belaying you from the ground.  A gripping exercise in trust, to be sure!

What the climbing obstacle looked like.
What the climbing obstacle felt like.

At the conclusion of The Universe Within, the fun really begins with the full summer course schedule.  Academic classes have been intellectually demanding and chalk full of things that would have been terrifically useful in countless situations I've experienced at work.  If I had a quarter for every time I've thought "Man, I wish I knew this back then," I might not need that generous LGO Fellowship to pay my tuition!  

(Disclaimer:  If you're reading this, Don.  I'm totally kidding.  I definitely need that generous LGO Fellowship.)  

It's seriously that tremendous, though.  From calculating production strategies for Scandinavian ski gear manufacturers to passionately debating the merits of opposing leadership models, the actual MIT/LGO/Sloan coursework, faculty, and overall academic experience has been ridiculously enriching.  As we push onward, I'm really looking forward to applying the finishing touches to our first LGO summer, as well as meeting the incoming Sloanies over the next several weeks!

Party on, LGO.

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