It soon became clear why a seemingly innocuous word like “Launch” was repeatedly spelt with a capital L. MBA Launch is a very big deal and the tremendous amount of work that has gone into welcoming this year’s cohort has been on display every day. The intensity of the week has been such that this first weekend has been eagerly anticipated merely for the chance to catch one’s breath and internalise Week 1.
A quick scroll on the MBA app to Friday’s schedule and well….it just wasn’t very Friday like. A total of six hours with the same speaker did not seem to offer the variety to which we had been accustomed.
More bewilderingly, the big guns (Dr. Dina Dommett and Dr. Michael Smets) were out in force to welcome our guest speaker, one Prof Kurt April, who admittedly I had never heard of. His impressive CV notwithstanding, not many of us were sure about what to expect although our mild curiosity was about to be dispelled in relatively short order and replaced by that feeling dreaded universally across business schools and boardrooms alike – uncertainty. His genial introduction to the inhibitors we face on an everyday basis was belied by the ruthlessness with which he forced us to re-evaluate just where we lay on the journey to success.
And with that, the room was his to do with as he wanted. Pin drop silence and rapt attention are overused terms that in reality rarely occur for more than a few moments. One gets the feeling that they are Prof April’s constant travelling companions. Jetting around the world with him and subduing whatever audience is lucky enough to have him as their guest. The witty anecdotes that pepper his lectures are crucial to the connection that he maintains with the audience as the natural reaction would be to shrink away, awe-struck, from the colossus on stage.
The last session leading up to his personal statement is a movie highlight waiting to be made. The Media and Marketing OBN need not search far for the subject of their next documentary. No standing ovation could do justice to the impact he had but we are nothing if not ambitious MBAs so we tried all the same. Since the collective effort did not quite hit the mark, the class resorted to individual felicitations. The enthralled throng attempting to express their gratitude was such that it was probably easier to get into Said than it was to shake his hand.
In a week when the Launch has set the bar quite high, Friday will long live in the memory. Not sure what the MBA team had in mind having Kurt April come in this early as I now struggle to imagine what experiences could be possibly be lined up this year that could a candle to this. I don’t envy whoever will be involved with the end of year ceremony.