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Adventures in Graduate School

Some help, please

If you have a moment, please take this survey.   It’s for a class I’m taking at Loyola.

Lost Fall

This August marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of my journey through graduate school. All-in-all I’d rate the decision to go back to school my best decision of my professional life. It truly has been great. I’ve felt that I’ve become more valuable at work, I’ve met and befriended some spectacularly talented classmates (and professors), and it has been particularly fun to be a part of the school’s community during a period of major change.

But while the past three falls have been marked by the start of school, it also means the beginning of high school football season, and the amping up of my other job as a stringer for the Daily Herald. I’ve been freelancing with the Herald since 2002, so that’s five high school football seasons. From December 1999 until early 2002, I was a sportswriter for Pioneer Pressbureau in Lake County. The three years before that, I was assistant sports editor at the LaPorte Herald-Argus (now a shell of its old self, but that’s another story).

So that means that since 1997, the end of August has meant my Friday nights have been dominated by football. That’s 11 years, an average of 10 games per year, 110-plus high school football contests since 1997.

Not this year. Every Friday, beginning Aug. 29, I will be otherwise occupied. Class on Friday. Can there be anything better?

Ever since I left the full-time world of journalism and began stringing, my hold on the title of “sportswriter” as my line of work has become more and more tenuous. That’s fine, I suppose. I’m engaged in my business, and while I enjoy the opportunity to freelance for the Herald (and I hope they like my work), it isn’t the center of my life. But it is part of my life.

I hope I can get back to stringing once I’m done with school (mid-February, hopefully), but this Fall will feel strange.

My modeling career

Makes you want to apply now, right?

I would like to say that it was modesty that has delayed my posting of this, but it’s more attributable to my inability to post regularly. The above is part of page 23 of the Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Business Viewbook. Should you request information on Loyola’s MBA program, you’ll get a booklet, and on page 23 you’ll get this ugly mug staring back at you.

This all started in February when the marketing department asked if I could be interviewed for the new Viewbook. What followed was about an hour with another student and an advertising account executive for the firm Loyola hired. In mid-April, I appeared downtown for a photo shoot. It was a spectacular day, and the decision was to shoot from atop the John Hancock Center. John Wong, an impressive Loyola MBA who is now an investment banker, is photographed in the Hancock viewing south towards the Loop. I am photographed looking north towards Oak Street Beach, the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park.

No cameras were broken in the photo shoot.

Summer’s Over

For me, the best indicator of the end of summer is the resumption of my MBA classes at Loyola. My Fraud Detection and Compliance class (ACCT 407) begins in one hour, 15 minutes.

Dressed for success?

Here’s a confession: I like wearing ties to work. It’s ironic, because no job I’ve ever held mandated that I wear a tie, save for specific occasions.  But I like the tie, I like the sport coat,  and I like to sport that “professional” look.  I wear a tie often at Mohawk, and  that puts me in elite company. Only two other people regularly wear ties around here.

I mention this because of news out of Illinois State University: business students will now have to dress business casual for all of their classes, except for marketing management.  This means dress shoes, dress pants or khakis, a sport coat and well-pressed clothing. Actually, the sport coat is optional; a collared shirt is not.

Anyway, it really isn’t too different from the attire I see at Loyola, with a few exceptions.  I’d estimate that two-thirds of my classmates work full-time and rush to class right after work, so they’re dressed professionally. Some wear an open-collared shirt and dress pants, others wear a tie and dress pants, and others wear suits.  If a student is dressed like that, they wouldn’t be out of place.  It proves the point that it’s very hard to be overdressed for most occasions.

Full-time students area also in these classes. Many of them dress professionally as they are looking for a job or are participating in a Graduate School of Business program.  However, there are always a few that dress like slobs.  Maybe there’s no problem with it. Maybe ISU student Todd Froemling is right when he said,  “It’s not like you need practice wearing clothes.”

Oh, but maybe you do.  Mary Burns, one of my favorite professors at Loyola, probably disagrees with Mr. Froemling. She wrote Entitled to What, a book about Generation Y’s difficulties in adjusting to the professional workplace. The book is intended to serve as a guide for recent college graduates as they enter the corporate world, and it offers advice based on the best and worst she has seen out of the youngest professionals.  One area she hit on was hygiene and presentation.  I agree. Sometimes to be professional you have to look professional.