Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pacing oneself ...

Since I don't run quite as often as I talk about running, I thought I'd use running analogies this time as a wishful motivator to get me out and about. These first six weeks at Wharton have been like the first two miles in a marathon. You know you're a 4-hr finisher, but you like to feel cool and stand at the 3-hr starting line with the Boston qualifiers. You see them zipping ahead and in all the headiness of the race, the cheering crowds and the reality that race day has finally arrived, you get your adrenaline rush and start sprinting along with them too.

It feels good for the first mile. At the second mile, slowly some muscles start to cramp. Stomach tightens. Posture sags. You start taking big breaths from your wide-open mouth ... and slow yourself down to a jog, trying to recover your breath and deciding to pace yourself at the speed that works for you. Ultimately, thats what the marathon - and in a sense, life - is all about. Its about the journey, and your experience along the way; the friends you make, the people you cheer along, the folks that run beside you when you begin to tire and cheer you on. Its about finishing strong with a smile on your face, your friends crossing that finish line together with you.

There are the 3-hr finishers. Hell, there are the 2.5-hr finishers. Kudos to them. The key is, what is in this journey for you? When you decide to apply for an MBA program, or more specifically for the Wharton Exec MBA program, what motivated you? As you will all find out, this is not your typical Exec MBA program. Getting the same experience as a full-time program in terms of workload - that is the exhilirating part about this program, and that can be something difficult to get your head around as well. The key, as we're learning slowly, is to pace yourself. To keep in mind, that this is not a sprint, but a marathon. What matters is not how long it took you to cross that finish line, and how many were ahead of you, but how many will remember that you ran the race with them, and cherish the shared experience for years to come.


  1. I can't believe we're only 6 weeks in - the time has flown by! Yet I definitely feel the exhaustion of 6 weeks (+ 5 weeks pre-term) worth of 20-30 hour study weeks.

    I remember them telling us that we'll struggle in the beginning but find our own balance over time. I look forward to the day I regain my posture and breathe normally again. ;)

    It's this weird experience of knowing it's the time of my life but being overwhelmed and exhausted at the same time.


  2. I constantly remind myself what I really want to get out of the program. Before I decide to spend time on any activity, I try to align it with my priorities. But it does not always work. There is peer pressure, there is work expectations, and there is unexpected distraction from everywhere (good and bad).
    So far, I am glad that I followed my plan - maybe 95%. As I stated in the application, I gave up dance competitions, but went to the gym at least 5 times a week. I always socialized with classmates and alums no matter how much study was left to finish (I did finish studying too). I went to the Wharton Pub almost every night instead of reading notes in hotel room.

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