I can’t believe I finally finished my masters! WOOOO!!

What an exciting, mind boggling and crazy 2 years it has been. 11 subjects (Yes, I got 1 elective exempted, wooottt woooottt!!), 33 assignments and at least 15 presentations (or more) – my mind has really expanded and I have learnt so much more about business, strategies and most importantly, how I fit in the world of consulting.

I still remember the week before starting the Executive Masters of Business Administration – I was worried about where to park, whether I would fit in and whether I would be able to even understand the material – remember how I was glazed over with the numbers??

At the end of it all, I now feel so much more confident and know what I need to know, and know what I don’t know yet and can pick up. I feel I can analyse data and make recommendations that really pinpoint what the company needs that will give the customers what they want.

Aside from just the academic or professional learning, I as a person, feel a lot more confident about myself and who I am – a lot more than I was in the past. Although, since finishing uni 3 weeks ago, my confidence levels have gone up and down in the past few weeks – each time I think of all the challenges that I have killed in the last 2 years, I just feel better about myself.

I have met some really interesting people and some that have taught me some lessons in life that even though I have learnt before in my career, the intensity and pressure of the EMBA has really made the lesson a lot more meaningful. Some of the lessons are:

  • Most people don’t necessarily take pro bono work seriously and will only think of themselves – Not everyone thinks of their client and what will be the absolute best for them.
  • My expectations on the quality of work is a lot higher than other people – some people are happy to just put an idea to the table that they think is “good” or “distinction” level. For me, I want a phenomenal solution, one that has meaning and create “magic” or “HD” level.
  • There are a lot of manipulative BS-ers out there – they don’t show their true colours until they get into the work or when they want to get what they want
  • No matter how old a person is, there are still people who are really lost and it’s sad when they are in the later stages in their career.
  • There are only a few genuine people out there that you can be friends with – some are just really good at pretending.
  • Some people expect you to do everything for them when they want but don’t give thanks when you help them.

I know, these lessons sounds so negative, like the little gems you get out of the crap that you went through. I’ve honestly seen these before but I guess why it disappoints me this semester to see these things is that I didn’t expect to see them in this course.

As much as some people did make my life really difficult, the overall was very enjoyable. I’ve pushed myself so hard this last semester of mine and really challenged myself. Two subjects were very project based and for both projects I walked in thinking – “What the heck??”

What I love about not knowing and the ambiguity of the problem is that the solution isn’t obvious. I don’t like when people approach problems with these predetermined, predefined solutions that don’t answer the problem FULLY or in DEPTH. It’s just the surface. What makes me really surprised is that some times these shallow answers can get by – it can still get you a satisfactory response from someone else.

This is where I really figured out that I am a high achiever with very high expectations. I love challenge. I love getting really deep into the issue and keep searching for possibilities – what can we do, what can we make happen, why does it happen this way.

There were many moments in the last 2 years that I suddenly became “Steve Jobs” – the moments when I really believed in something, when I saw the strategy and I knew we had to do it – the energy that came from me, the power to influence. The first few times it came out, I surprised the people around me and yeah, there were still some influencing I had to do before I convinced the people around me. Regardless of how old they were and how experienced they were, I was able to convince them and make the kill.

The way I moved my group through our operations business simulation – it really changed me. It really changed the way I viewed investments, marketing, promotions and production – what should we do, when and why.

My work with Croydon Main Street Traders Association – it really strengthened my view on what a strategy management consultant should be doing with companies – we should be working with companies to work towards what they should be doing and not telling them that they should be doing this. I really don’t like the idea of thinking that now that I have an EMBA that I am smart enough to tell you what you should be doing. I think that’s arrogant and not customer-focused.

It was through this project that I learnt so much about people – I think that this is so important because it’s people that drive the company. I think that it’s through this that when automation and AI comes to play that people are so important in any company.

When I work with small business owners – I try my best to really pump this up – to really explain to them and drum it into them that it’s all about the customer, it’s all about the human-centred approach – what does your customers want, how do they speak to each other, what will they be doing and how can you capture them.

The use of design in a company – this is truly the best thing that I have taken away. As a young fashion designer in my early twenties, I would never have though that the idea of using design in a business setting could even work – something that I have said to my mum when she had said that studying fashion was a waste of time. Now, with design thinking, no it isn’t a waste of time. It was a training process.

My thoughts are still a little bit here and there – and I do jump from thought to thought each day, but I don’t see that as being a problem. One thing my friend said to me was that after the EMBA that I have accepted myself a lot more and wear what other people think are bad traits about me as badges of victory, lol. I can’t and we can’t please everyone around us and we can’t be “saints” or “perfect”. You are just who you are.

Some people view me as pushy, blunt, “difficult”, harsh, undecided and emotional.

I see it, and most of my lecturers view me as, flexible, straight to the point, having standards, able to adapt to ambiguity and caring about the situation.

It’s all but a perspective and choice of how you want to see another person.

There’s still a few things that I want to do now but still trying to do some more non-academic work as well – like cleaning, rearranging, cooking and going out for walks. All the stuff that I put aside when I want hardcore full time studying for the last 10 months. I have had my break but still am enjoying a bit more relaxing time. Though, it is starting to get really boring.

Really looking forward to helping more companies and businesses. 🙂

Companies and businesses that have freelance, contract, flexible employment – come to me if you want someone who cares about you and wants the best for you.

Karen x

 

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