Monday, May 24, 2010

Cleared another hurdle!

I am uber-stoked and relieved that I managed to clear another big hurdle, both in terms of workload and stress. Yesterday, I woke up, did my morning stuff, and then sat down at my desk, one of the 4 major pieces of furniture in my apartment, around 9 AM. I spent the next 14 hours (barring a short trip to pick up groceries) researching, ideating, and writing my main section for the Advanced Business Strategy project, which is on NBC. At first, I was hoping to just wrap up the portion covering my first question, whether or not NBC should try to expand its portfolio of networks. But as I got into the groove, I decided to go for broke and try to write the whole draft in that sitting.  I knew that if I could just get that down, it would radically improve my situation going into the final 2 weeks of the quarter. And boy howdy! I was right.

It is safe to say that this class has been the most workload-intensive one that I've had at Kellogg so far.  We had assignments due every week that included case write-ups, a presentation, project progress reports, and feedback to the other groups on their project progress reports.  In addition, we had the standard preparatory materials on the plate, including articles, textbook-style readings, and cases to look over.  Finally, there was the group project, which began with an intentionally broad question that we had to run with. 

That project itself took up a fairly substantial amount of time every week, in part because I wanted to be sure to work on it periodically instead of waiting for the last minute when I thought things would get rough (of course, they did).  The project required a lot of research, first to understand the industry enough to get an idea of what questions to hone in on and then to research those questions.  I ended up collecting data at the library, running regressions on it, scouring the web for raw Nielsen data, reading blogs, articles, etc, and conducting a couple of interviews.  Every new source led to new questions and holes that had to either be researched or disregarded.  One of my classmates remarked that the project is "an endless blackhole" in terms of the time that can be spent on it. 

As the deadline approached, I felt myself getting more and more stressed out about the prospect of sitting down to try and dump all of these ideas I had swirling in my head into a coherent and convincing write-up.  It didn't help for managing the stress that I had to stop going to the gym in order to free up some more time to work on everything (speaking of, I am seriously considering starting up yoga again next year).  Fortunately, now that the first (and likely final) draft is down on paper, I feel alive again!

I don't know if I succeeded in crafting a good write-up, but I at least know that it is done. Forty-plus hours of my life translated into 7 single-spaced pages, 5 exhibits, 3400 words, and 20 citations.  Unfortunately, I am still not done, but what is left (compiling the 4 sections and writing a 5-page executive summary) should hopefully be trivial by comparison.  And of course, I still have 4 assignments left to turn in for the class.

Now, I can turn my attention to analyzing data and putting together a presentation for my Marketing Research group project.  I also have a trip to Austin coming up this weekend to visit the GF!  Will be amazing to forget about this stuff for a little while.

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