Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bleary Eyed and Miserable

The nice part about the second year of my MBA is that my electives don't require exams, per se, but instead have staggered assignments relevant to their individual topics/schedules. It's a lot easier to prepare for lectures because I only have four active courses right now instead of the six I had last year. And things don't follow a strict two-term format, so their peak times do not fall into several weeks out of 52, which means that you can pace yourself without too much trouble. There is one individual component (a paper or class test), and one group project for each, save OB which has two individual components since it has to do with personal development only.

Now for the bad part...I now know without a shadow of a doubt that I'm in a Master's programme. Somehow all the structured learning of Part One seemed challenging but more a matter of endurance and taking it all in. Part Two is all about applied learning, which means a lot more thinking and a lot fewer rules upon which to rely in times of pressure and deadline. Assignments in most courses are pretty general, leaving it to me to define, research, refine, write and cite everything according to my best ability. Great practice for real life, but not exactly easy when you're also doing this 45 - 50 hours a week for a wage, as well.

Today I had a nice day for awhile. I did a bit of prepwork to gather all the data I've been collecting for ENT and outlined a structure for writing my OB report, both of which must be completed one week from today. I took some time out for laundry and a long walk, as it was sunny and crisp today and I needed the fresh air. Came home, returned some of the backlog of correspondence in my email and then settled in to work up the financials for our new venture.

I hate spreadsheets, and though I did well in my last Finance exam, I still have a fear of making mistakes when working with numbers. It took me two hours to pull together the Sales Turnover worksheet and I still haven't started on Cash Flow, Cost of Goods or the Income Statement. I know that once COGS is done it will all be a lot easier, but I can't believe how much more I have to do before I can start writing for the Business Plan. It is incredibly frustrating.

Once I do start writing, I have my work cut out for me. You see, in the first part of the course, I was the smartass critic punching holes in every assumption made in every business plan, as there was not clear logic stated for most of the numbers and therefore I didn't trust them. Now it's my turn to WRITE the damn business plan and I find I've been pulling numbers out of the air with no rhyme or reason other than the fact that I think they seem correct. This is definitely not something I can justify well in the written section of the document, so now I need to do further research to benchmark against competitors to find something to justify my instincts, lest I have some know-it-all bitch like me reviewing our final document. It's certainly not an impossible task, but it is a lot of work.

And, ultimately, there's an expansive grey area that requires you use someone else's success/costs/volume but also apply your ingenuity to customise these numbers to your own venture. All told, the numbers become facts based in ambiguity...and you use every ounce of your persuasive skills to weave a compelling enough story to get through the gate to the next stage, where you can actually do a detailed analysis.

Pleh, pleh, and double pleh.

With any luck, they'll be done by this time tomorrow. FINGERS CROSSED.

1 comment:

Tenacious S said...

I have one statistics assignment left. Glory, Hallelujah!