The MBET Experience

The University of Waterloo – Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Program

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Ignition Week Summary

September 11th, 2006 · No Comments

Well, it’s getting late on Sunday night and I’m finally sitting down to write about the rest of Ignition Week. I had meant to keep up with things as we went along, but the week was jam-packed with activities, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down until now.

Day 1: Tuesday, September 5, 2006

I think I already covered this in my last post. You can read all about it by clicking here.

Day 2: Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I slept through my alarm. I woke up at 8:20 and thought “Oh great, I’m going to be late on the second day”. I skipped breakfast and had to run across campus from the parking lot, but made it to class with two minutes to spare.

We started the day at 9am with a “Colours” workshop. “Colours” is a personality profiling system, created by the company Personality Dimensions, and is similar to Myers-Briggs. I was a little skeptical, however it was actually a very interesting exercise, and most people seemed to agree with the results. In case you’re wondering, I was a “Green”. Here’s a summary:

Inquiring Green
Core Needs: Knowledge and Competence
– logical and rational
– quality conscious
– improvement oriented
– analytical and systematic
– investigative and inquisitive
– seeks the big picture
– emotionally self-controlled
– strategic thinker
– innovative and ingenious
– needs independence
– requires private time
– sets high expectations and standards

This was surprisingly accurate. I was pretty impressed with the results and put a little more value into these things now.

Our lunch speaker was Iain Klugman from Communitech, the local organization of high-tech businesses. They are very involved in promoting entrepreneurship and host a number of events. It was a good talk, and the class asked a lot of good questions about how Communitech works to solve issues that prevent the community from retaining young, bright people, such as the lack of a downtown or problems with public transportation.

We had a couple course introductions in the afternoon, then some free time before the BBQ at Paul Doherty’s house in the evening. In between I stopped in at the Cross Country varsity team meeting. I think I’m going to run with them for the fall, though I may regret that come October when things get really busy with school.

Day 3: Thursday, September 7, 2006

Almost late again. Maybe I should go to bed earlier. We got started a little late because Geoff Malleck, who was teaching first thing in the morning, had taken some of the students out to the market in St. Jacobs. Guess why they were delayed – girls shopping!! Nothing new there!! 🙂

We had a good session in the morning on vision and marketing ourselves. We talked about thinking of ourselves as a product – how do we position ourselves, what is our message, who is our target audience. Definitely good stuff. I’ve recently started thinking along these lines on my own, so this was good to build on it. I’m just getting started with my own online presence here, with a couple blogs, but I’m sure this will evolve over time.

A couple more course introductions were squeezed in before our lunch speaker, Tom Hunter from Gowlings law firm. He gave us an excellent talk on the rules for commercializing technology in today’s market. I think he scared a lot of us with the lawyer’s view on protecting your intellectual property, but it was all great advice.

In the afternoon we had another teamwork exercise, where our assigned group leaders were all given a role to play. We had to build a tower out of straws and paper clips, but the real value was to discuss different leadership styles and how the team responded. I’m starting to realize that most of our activities have more of a purpose than what appears on the surface.

We finished up another long day in the classroom with a presentation from Library Services, and another more course introductions, before heading off to Laser Quest for the evening. Most people made it out, and we all had a good time running around in the dark and blasting each other!

A few of us decided to go out later on, and with the big line up at our first choice, we ended up at FUBAR. Despite changing names since my undergrad days, it was the same old scene – lots of young students having fun drinking and getting crazy on the dance floor! Us old farts were out of there by 11:30, but it was good to get out for a bit.

Day 4: Friday, September 8, 2006

Finally, the end of the first week, and a short day at that. We started with a presentation skills class, which offered some good tips. I had recently taken a really great presentation skills class at Conestoga, but still picked up some good tips. We have to present something in a couple weeks, so we’ll be putting this to use!

Our lunch speaker was Hubert Saint-Onge, our “Executive in Residence”. His talk on “Learning to Learn” kicked off a great debate on the mindset of “belonging” vs. “self-initiation”. Belonging is the feeling at a job that you’re told what to do, you’re dependent on the company, and you expect things to happen for you. Self-initiation is where you recognize that you add value to the company, and are looking for ways to grow. Both you and the company are inter-dependent on each other. I very recently recognized this distinction, and have been making the mindset shift. There were a lot of comments from the class on this, and we ran way overtime with the lunch talk. It was a great session, and I hope we’ll get to spend more time with Hubert throughout the year.

With our lunch-hour talk running overtime, we raced through the our last course introductions, and postponed the writing test for the week. Paul Doherty came in to wrap things up, and we were finished around 3pm.

All in all, it was a great week. We really got a chance to get to know each other, and by now, we all know each other’s names and a little bit about one another. It was a little exhausting, but I’m expecting more of the same!

Week 2 is a little light on the classes, though we have a lot of reading for accounting and law for Tuesday and Wednesday. I think they’re easing us into it, but looking ahead at the schedule, things will pick up come October. Check back for more updates soon!

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