Armen Chakmakjian

On going back to school…

In Random on November 25, 2008 at 2:41 am

So beside everything else I’m doing:

  • Husband and Father
  • managing 2 software development platforms
  • teaching Sunday School
  • writing the second book of the trilogy
  • experimenting with viral marketing stuff for my first book

…I started on the path toward my MBA this fall.   I’m taking a stats class first and it has been an interesting experience.  The first thing that I noticed was that when I put my backpack on and walked across campus late in the early fall, I got this certain familiar feeling.  Those 5 years (4 plus co-op blocks) 20 years ago were a very strong influence on my life.

So walking around the first couple of times to class it was like I had stepped back in time.  Though after about 15 minutes, I could tell something was amiss.  First off, I’m trained as an engineer, and I’m now in business school.  Got over that in a few minutes.

Then there was the day where the power went out at work.  A truck hit a wire 2 buildings up and took down the whole office complex.   People were scrambling to go home and VPN in, and some people were going to the local coffee shop that had internet access.  I thought for a moment and said, oh cool, I can go to Bentley and sign up for a room in the library and work.   That worked out ok, figured out to reserve a room.  Then I went to claim my room.   The interaction was like this:

Armen: (knocks on door and opens it) I have this room at noon.

Student: (takes his buds off) You have to clean the room?

Armen: No, I have reserved this room at noon.

Student: Oh ok (reluctantly packs his bags)

Armen: Sorry.

So I was mistaken for a janitor! Sigh…

The other thing is that when I hang out in the hallways before class I look at most of the people in the hallways waiting with me.  The unmistakable feeling is that I’m slightly younger than their fathers. In fact I have about 3 years on the professor.  Hmmmm…

Anyway, the class has been good.   This is all stuff that I can handle mathematically but sometimes the “Why?” takes me time to digest.    Case in point when we were studying confidence intervals and figuring out how many samples we’d need to take to get to 95% confidence.   Since I was raised on 6 sigma, you know what your criteria are and what your acceptable failure rate is.  So you measure your process.  In this case your start from the outside in…create a metric based on your expected results.  ouch!  How un-engineering!

Next semester I have to take this odd 3in2 session.  Accounting, Finance and Managing People, 3 classes served in 2 sessions.   This is supposed to catch me up so that I can take the actual graduate versions of those classes.  That ought to be quite interesting and I expect a lot of work.  The following fall semester I take the other half of the catch-up which is Marketing, Operations and Integrated Perspectives.  Then I get to the nitty-gritty I guess…

This so far has been a great experience for me.  The hardest part is trying to carve out time to do justice to the understanding of the topics.   But I’m glad I started.  And no, I don’t think that I should have done it sooner.  I would never trade this for the time I spent with my kids when they were little…

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