Sunday, January 16, 2011


In the past few days I've had the distinct privilege of walking with a friend as he struggled to complete an MBA assignment. Duane (not his real name) is a highly skilled professional in his field (healthcare) and has courageously taken on the challenge of furthering his education, mid-career.

When Duane found himself stuck on one particular question of an assignment, he did what all intelligent business people do: he called for help. As I listened to Duane's struggle to line up his learning with the case study in front of him, I recalled my own experience as an MBA student. I, too, leaned on the wisdom and experience of others who helped me get through. Cliff (his real name), an accountant, and Michelle (her real name too), an economist, walked with me for two full years. Their support was invaluable.

Nearly fifteen years later, I realize that what seemed so daunting back then, is now really quite obvious. A little education and a lot of experience will do that.

Duane will be just fine. When the classes are finally over and the exams are all written, the case studies will fade back into real life, and eventually, what once seemed so strange will suddenly seem obvious. That's the difference between learning and knowing.

And I will proudly watch as Duane magically mixes old learning with new to create something quite spectacular. And Duane will one day walk with someone else as they struggle through something strange - and he will know!