Energy and Resources
“These dudes look young” is the first thing I thought of Magdalen A.
Everyone in their 8+ looked in their early twenties, while my Green Templeton B boat averaged a respectable thirty years. Theirs was the ‘A’ boat of their college; we were a lowly ‘B’ team. We were seconds from the start of the Christ Church Regatta, waiting, silent and tense, like dogs poised to leap on prey.
Worries flooded my head as I eyed the ducks floating placidly alongside us. My half-done startup pitch was due in two days; the Analytics exam was around the corner; then there were the jobs, the lack of jobs, and my snot freezing in the cold wind of the Thames.
A chaos of commands, cheering, and inevitable splashing followed the starting call. I saw our eight oars hitting the water in unison, and through them, I glimpsed Magdalen A losing more and more ground. Suddenly all of those five-thirty morning sessions, the sweat that poured at the college gym during ergs training, the all-day rowing trips to Reading were all paying off.
The good times didn’t last for long: Green Templeton B slowed down as though someone had stepped on the breaks. In reality, at the end of the boat, one of our oars was stuck and couldn’t get back in the water. We were out of sync and Magdalen A was closing in fast. By the time we recovered the pace, Magdalen was beside us and we were short one rower.
But Green Templeton B would not give up. Our opponents may have been young and athletic, but we seasoned men had survived redundancies, heartbreak, debt, and mind-numbing desk jobs. And that made us stronger.
“We will now drop the last punch on the final hundred meters,” commanded the coxswain. And pull, pull, pull, gliding up the river with the power of an oversized manatee on steroids.
I was barely able to hold the oar by the time we crossed the finish line: Green Templeton B, winners of our first round of the Christ Church Regatta. We were all smiles and back-patting.
The next day, I pitched my entrepreneurship idea to a packed auditorium and assembled a team to carry it out. I was all smiles, patting myself on the back.
Two days later, Wadham A annihilated us in the second round of the Regatta, booting us out of the competition.
My first term as an MBA was coming to a close. Time had sped up. Over the coming nine months, some of us will land dream jobs, others will find themselves unemployed; there will be more races and jobs and no jobs, and the cold water of the Thames will still be there, waiting for more rowers.Back to top of article