Tyler Hansbrough and Fathers and Sons

A year ago, I was feeling pretty crappy. Today, I still feel pretty crappy (from the post-MBA Gala malaise), but couldn't be happier.

Kelly and I watched the game with ~300 of our closest friends at Spice Street in Chapel Hill. We screamed like idiots when Tyler made the game-clinching jump shots down the stretch and happily chirped "Carolina Victory" with my friend EJ after the game ended. And then I called my dad, as is the post-game custom.

When I called him, I felt a surprisingly startling emotion beyond the excitement of having just won the big game. I've written before how, when I was a child honing my game on the driveway, my dad would coach me by describing how Tar Heel legends Phil Ford and Bobby Jones did it this way or that way. I obviously knew who these people were, but I didn't get why he referred to them with such reverence.

For a split second after my dad picked up the phone, I remembered those times on my driveway and tried to imagine the touchstone Carolina basketball moments in his life, realizing that I was in the midst of one of my own.

And it made me realize how lucky I am to be able to call him after the game.

Mild Embarrassment In Strategic Innovation

Today is the first day of Mod III classes. Like many of my classmates, my course schedule is still very much up in the air. As a result, I haven't bought any of my (non-returnable and obscenely expensive) course packs and have only invested time in the courses that I know that I'm going to keep.

It remains unclear whether or not I'll keep Strategic Innovation , but not because I don't think the course is great. On the contrary, it would probably be a co-favorite along with Business Innovation in the Digital Age. (Notice the trend?) Regardless - my status in the course is uncertain, thus I didn't buy (or prepare) the case for the first day of class, nor did I submit the brief online questions.

I did, however, make the mistake of reading the online questions and entering "asdf" in the required fields such that I could advance to read all of the online questions.

At the time, I didn't think it would matter. In fact, I don't even remember clicking "submit". Turns out, Prof. Nerkar likes to include student responses in his class presentation...for all of the class to see. Consequently, my name appeared on screen several times in class as:

Eric Boggs: asdf

For good reason, Prof. Nerkar jokingly called me out...and laughter ensued. I'm pretty sure that I blushed - primarily because the class is 37/40 2nd year students, most of whom I don't know.

Luckily, he also lofted me a softball. He had just finished explaining to the class how our course will explore how organizations can "crack the code" of managing innovation. Thus, when he asked me what I meant by "asdf", I told him that it was "the code that organizations can use for managing innovation" - that I had actually cracked it.

I found my answer both strategic and innovative. Prof. Nerkar seemed to like it, as well.

Integrative Exercise = Hot Mess

Kenan-Flagler welcomed its students back from Holiday Break with an "integrative exercise". Basically, the program gives us a massively complicated, completely ambiguous, and utterly painful problem that "integrates" all of our learnin' and then gives us ~36 hours to solve and present it.

Usually - I like this stuff. This, however, has been a complete pain. My team and I are all sluggish from the long break and certainly not in top form. Plus, the crux of this problem is an equity valuation, which admittedly isn't my cup of tea. To make matters worse, no one on my team has a finance background - whereas other teams have guys that did this kind of stuff for a living before they came back to school.

Our case requires us to find a share price for Harley-Davidson. That's it. Just one number. Said number requires a lot of legwork and insightful assumptions, but, at the end of the day, it is still just the result of lots of math which, when worked carefully, isn't very difficult.

By this afternoon, we got to a number. Unfortunately, said number was $1.02.

(Harley closed today at $41.23.)

Deepak and I are at school now hoping to get to something more reasonable before it gets too late. Ugh.

I Can't Believe I'm Not Watching The Game

The Heels open their season tonight against Davidson and I'm too busy to watch.

It's really a strange feeling because I usually go to great lengths to rearrange my life to watch Carolina basketball - either at home on TV or (preferably) at the Dean Dome.

We're tied with 4.49 remaining. I hope we win, but if we lose I'll find solace in the fact that every time Roy Williams has lost his season opener, he's taken his team to the Final Four.

Go Davidson!

A Big/Small Kenan-Flagler World

First day of orientation was great. Good times, good programming, good food, and, of course, GREAT people. People from all parts of the globe with all kinds of backgrounds, work experiences, and personalities.

Funny thing, though. Of all the different people from all over the world, the following happen to be my classmates:

Troy - my backyard neighbor.

Dan - a former pharma rep that serviced my Aunt Rhonda and Father-in-Law Carl's clinic.

Michael - my 2nd cousin and childhood friend.

Small world, huh?

First Day of School!

Orientation starts today.

My pencils are sharpened.  My snappy new lunchbox is packed.  I've donned my "first day of school" attire, as selected by Kelly and as displayed over night by the little man I fashioned out of the clothes in the floor beside my bed.

I'm ready to ask lots of questions.  I'm ready to have a locker again.  I'm a little bit nervous.  I'm wishing that Kelly would hurry up so that we could leave already.  Heck - I'm even drinking coffee from a Kenan-Flagler mug!

Game on!

The Calm Before The Storm

I'm so excited/nervous to be so close to officially becoming a Kenan-Flalger MBA student. I have a "Welcome Session" tomorrow, a week's worth of orientation next week, and then classes kick off the next Monday.

I'm excited because I know that I'm going to have a great time as a student again. I'll make tons of new friends, play lots of basketball, and - of course - learn a lot about business and hopefully more about myself.

I'm nervous because I don't think I've ever been so unprepared for something. I'm not the world's greatest "preparer" as it is - however - I've really outdone myself this time. Instead of ASW - Kenan-Flagler's accounting/finance/statistics pre-term tune-up - I opted to travel to Italy with Kelly and to China with John and Ben. (More blog posts coming for each trip...promise.) Plus, I've spent the last ~2 weeks since I've been home reading, watching movies, playing basketball, doing chores, and catching up with friends when I probably should have been re-learning accounting and statistics. (Which I started doing today, by the way.  Ugh.)

My summer of travel and lazing about the house, while undoubtedly an enjoyable experience and much needed time to recharge, essentially means that I'm WELL behind my classmates that attended ASW and nowhere close to being ready for the impending deluge of very difficult MBA coursework. It also means that I get to suck it up and accomplish something very challenging, which in its own strange way is an exciting reward. (At least that's what I'm telling myself.)

Game on very soon. Can't wait.

Take Your Unemployed Husband To Work Week

Now that I'm temporarily unemployed, I've come to work with Kelly the past couple days. She has thusly coined this to be "Take Your Unemployed Husband To Work" week.

Aside from her ongoing "I'm the breadwinner!" taunting and "Hurry up, Eric - you're going to be late for school!" faux-mothering, it has been an enjoyable experience. I'm about a third of the way through "Atlas Shrugged", I'm almost done with my pre-Italy planning, I've caught up with some old friends, and plan to catch up with more. Heck, I've even sent a "get the ball rolling" message to my high school classmates regarding our 10 year reunion which is over a year away. (Numerous people have asked me about it over the past few months, but - yes - I'm that bored.)

What's more, I have done all of this in what has to be one of the coolest offices on the UNC campus. Kelly shares the entire 3rd floor of the recently renovated Campus Y building with one other person. Her window overlooks the main quad, the South Building, and Old Playmakers and I have my own desk with a window that overlooks Gerrard Hall and Memorial Hall. The 1st floor has a study room with huge windows, hardwood floors, and leather chairs and the basement has a small cafe that brews good coffee. For the time that I'm not in Italy and China this summer, I suspect I'll be sitting here, doing my best to stay productive.

The "going to work with someone" experience has caused me to think back to the excitement of going to work with my mom or dad when I was a kid.

Going to work with my Mom as a youngster wasn't much fun. She's always worked in a doctor's office or hospital - BORING! When I was in high school, she actually "hired" me to match medical records from her office to those kept in a 150 degree storage building 15 minutes away. Not a bad deal, except that I had to take my 8 year old brother along. The $8/hour was not worth the time I spent shuffling medical records and wrestling Evan in an God-forsaken storage room oven on Franklin Blvd.

Going to work with my Dad, on the other hand, was a rare treat. He is in the NC Air National Guard and works on a super cool military base in Charlotte. My memories of visiting his office as a child include:

- The salute from soldiers armed with M16s as we entered the front gate.
- Touring the base in a golf cart and riding it up a REALLY steep hill.
- Playing Minesweeper for the first time.
- Playing ping pong and shooting hoops in the hangar.
- Firing blanks with an M16 on Family Day.
- Sitting in the cockpit of a C130.
- Watching a C130 dump thousands of gallons of water on a runway in a demonstration of the Guard's forest fire fighting capabilities.
- Visiting the top of the air traffic control tower at Charlotte-Douglas airport.

Aside from the stench of stale coffee everywhere, a trip to Dad's office was like a trip to Disney World. Plus, he never gave me a hard time about not having a job.

Why I Love Watching Carolina Games at the Dean Dome - Reason #389

#389 - Watching John Edwards glad-hand the entire arena.

During halftime of tonight's game vs. Penn, Presidential Candidate (and UNC Law alum) John Edwards made his way from his seat behind the UNC bench to Erskine Bowles' seat about 10 rows in front of mine.

Along the way, he pumped his fists to exhort the student section, shook hands with the ushers, took pictures with students, preened for ESPN's cameras, took more pictures with students, helped old ladies cross the street, negotiated a cease-fire in Tikrit, and took more pictures with students. Whatever it is, I'd say he has it. It was pretty cool to watch somone schmooze so naturally.

I wish I could have heard his conversation with Erskine, a former Leo McGarry, err, Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton. I'm guessing it was about Tyler Hansbrough's bullish tenacity under the basket...