I was recently asked how my life changed after graduating from the Dalhousie MBA(fs) program. What a wonderful question to be asked! Especially now that we are coming into a new year – 2011 – which promises to offer many adventures yet to be experienced. I was 43 when I started the MBA program and finished just as I turned 48. At 43, I already had a fulfilling career, sat on several volunteer boards and had a fairly balanced home life. While most people take an MBA to prepare themselves for the next position, my career aspirations had been fully realized. I chose Dalhousie’s academically rigorous MBA program for a very specific reason: I was ready for the next phase of my journey, the time that Mary Catherine Bateson, in her book “Composing a Further Life” so eloquently defines as the “Adulthood # 2.” I am a baby boomer who lived through the dramatic changes of the 60’s and the downturns/excesses of the 70’s/80’s and 90’s. Boomers, in general, have lived amazing lives and are, in the first decade of the new millennium, coming to terms with their mortality as they deal with aging parents. At our graduation celebration, we were all given the opportunity to say something profound. I am very comfortable letting other people be insightful, so it was with great reluctance that I gave into Thomas’s (my son) request to say something. I was brief, which is amazing to anyone who knows me! I simply said, that we had the power – no the responsibility – to define our reality, our environment, and our legacy to the next generation. We must seek connection, for that is truly the essence of our life’s work.
Yes, I did get headhunted, had other offers – and still am receiving them 7 years after I graduated. So how has my life changed? I have the unqualified assurance that I am fully and joyously participating in our ever-changing, fast paced world. The MBA gave me discernment to truly realize my personal destiny. That is my hope for all who seek academic excellence in pursuing lifelong learning. Even as you reach the end, you are only at the beginning.