Sweet smell of … something

What a great surprise. Somehow I’ve passed all the Term 2 exams!

I expected to fail one and possibly three, given that a) I’m crap in exam halls, b) I’m not a finance guy, c) I’d deliberately chosen electives I’d find difficult (finance stuff), and d) I turned out to be the ONLY PERSON in the entire cohort doing FIVE of the bastards last term (three electives absolutely had to be on my list, which meant doing an extra one in Term 2 and one fewer in Term 3.)

And yet I’ve sailed through the rocky waters of the Examic Ocean. Not even ‘weak’ passes; only one score came a bit close to the wind, and on the assignments (the parts closest to reality) I’ve scored plenty, even in the finance stuff I’m no good at. Whooohooo!

Pleased that another quarter of this four-term MBA is done and dusted. But at the same time… a little disconcerted. Shouldn’t it have been harder than this?

I expected the numbers stuff to be hard; I don’t have a bad head for figures, I just know nothing about maths save an interest in concepts, so the algrebraic bond pricing derivative greek whatever has been hard work for me. And despite being a marketer of 15 years’ experience, I haven’t done well in ANY of the marketing courses this year.

As ‘soft scientists’, marketing professors don’t really want anyone whose experience was gained in the real world taking their programmes; it offends their sense of how the world ought to be. And it’s showed in my results: steady sixtysomethingpercents all the way through. (The stuff I wrote was perfectly valid marketing: it just wasn’t THEIR marketing.) But even so, those scores weren’t difficult to obtain.

I’d love to say I’ve been up until 2am every night studying, absorbing texts and case studies and burning away blood in the Learning Grid. But I just haven’t. (Except for the 2am mornings in the Learning Grid. But I’m a ‘night’ person by nature.)

The only genuine problem for me was all the group work an MBA entails; when you’ve been working as long as I have, some academic’s idea of what constitutes ‘group working’ tends to be both artificial and insultingly juvenile. On the POM course I felt like Kindergarten Cop. And a course packed with representatives of a single nationality didn’t help the time management aspect – or indeed the ‘diversity’ such courses like to trumpet.

(British MBA courses draw most of their cohort from the subcontinent these days, but for me, ‘Shout at each other excitedly at high volume until someone listens’ isn’t ideal academic practice. I came here expecting a degree course in the Western intellectual tradition, yet what I got was… Mumbai Central at rushhour.)

But that’s besides the point. I didn’t really swot or sweat blood from my forehead.

I just did what I always do. Opened a textbook the day before and… winged it. Which I’ve always been good at, too good at to stop. Winging it through life, on a feather-thin slice of cash and the ability to string a sentence together. I’m a fraud.

Or maybe I’m just fooling myself, and this is how everyone works.

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