Thursday, 24 October 2013

And now, the end is here

Well sadly the year of living the MBA has officially come to an end!  I would like to provide a wrap-up of events in the last weeks, before finishing with a final post. 
The last few weeks of the MBA were a mix of completing reports, a couple of exams and some traditional Cranfield MBA end of year events.  On the assessments side I had something like 15 different items due. 
On the events side there was a lot of fun to be had.  One of the last hotly anticipated events is the annual Cranstock battle of the bands night. ‘Cranstock’ gave us a final taste of the rich musical talent from the guys in the cohort who have chosen to pursue an MBA rather than the dull life of a rock star.  We also had appearances from the faculty and the alumni, showing us that they still have what it takes.  The highlight of the night was the headline act, Diminishing Returns, our cohort’s premier band who were jamming for the last time, well supported by inspired dancing and back up vocals from the rest of the cohort.  Perhaps induced by the liquid refreshments, the night became a poignant turning point as we started to realise we were nearing the end of the MBA.
Next on the calendar was more of a physical test: The Three Peaks Challenge, a well known British challenge where participants attempt to summit the highest peaks of Scotland (Ben Nevis – 1,344 metres), England (Scafell peak – 978m) and Wales (Snowdon – 1,085) within 24 hours.   Walking up and down three peaks in 24 hours is challenging but battling weekend traffic across Scotland, England and Wales really ups the ante.  A group of twenty of us headed up to Fort William the night before ready for an 8am start on Ben Nevis.  Ben lived up to its reputation as one of the wettest places in the UK, with rain and cold weather on the peak.  Six hours later we got on board the bus on schedule and headed for Scafell. We reached the summit of Scafell at 9.30pm in darkness and in wonderful rain and cold. We arrived at Snowdon at 4am in darkness and managed to summit at 6.30am accompanied by our ever-present rainy cold weather. Amazingly six of us who survived all three peaks walked into the car park, the designated finish line, 23 hours and 58 minutes after starting in Scotland – time management to a tee! 
A regular on the Cranfield MBA diary is the two day Capstone Conference. The first day of the conference started with some spirited sports competition between our original term one stream teams with the Blue stream absolutely dominating the event (go Blue!).  With sporting endeavours complete we celebrated our phenomenal year with speeches, videos and awards.  On Day 2 we had guest speakers, predominantly alumni including Sanjay Kapoor, former CEO Bharti Airtel, Andy Harrison CEO Whitbread and former CEO EasyJet, Hillary Sears Chairman of MS Society and Chairman KIDS and Sir George Cox.  It was great to see successful alumni putting the MBA experience into good practice. Inspiring stuff!
The final event with everyone was the End of Year Ball held in the same location we had gathered a year earlier as strangers.  Now we were partying as lifelong friends celebrating a great accomplishment.  Every student will have their own personal MBA journey however inevitably there are common ups and downs along the way for everyone, whether in the form of getting through the content, illnesses, family events or at times supporting friends going through their own challenges.  This shared journey plus the nature of the Cranfield full time MBA means that incredibly strong bonds are formed within the cohort.  Needless to say the End of Year ball was a fantastic night celebrating a great year together. 
Of course after we sobered up we had to complete our final reports but hey after a year of the examined life what’s in a four thousand word report or two - too easy!  Before we knew it we were doing our final report word count, Turnitin submission and making that well known trek to Grad Admin office to hand in a another masterpiece.  And yes the Cranfield MBA had finally come to an end…… but not this blog; see you soon for the final post.

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