The MBET Experience

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

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MBET – Day 1

September 6th, 2006 · 3 Comments

Wow – what a day! It’s late and I’m a little tired right now, so this is going to be a little short, but the first day was great.

Like any student on the first day of school, my biggest concern this morning was what to wear. “Business casual” were the instructions we were given. Hmm… does that mean a shirt and tie, or jeans and a golf shirt? I opted for jeans and a nice shirt – when I arrived, I would say it was fairly appropriate, though most of the guys were wearing dress pants. Oh well… no one commented or tried to stuff me in a locker. 🙂

I showed up at CBET around 8am. A few people were there already, and I was greeted by the MBET staff, most of who had already met. Our student liason, Emily, joked with me that she was glad the term was starting because now all my email questions to her would stop!!

Over the summer, one of my classmates had created an MBET v4 website, where most people had posted a bried profile. I had an idea of who people were, but was still anxious to put faces to names. I chatted with a couple people over breakfast (yes, we were fed all day today), and everyone seemed like they were excited to be there.

Paul Doherty opened things up with an introduction to the program, most of which was stuff from the website. One thing he touched on was that a large part of the MBET program’s value proposition is the networking opportunities available – there are all sorts of activities geared at meeting and connecting with entrepreneurs who have been there and done that. One of my main goals this year is to take advantage of these opportunities and really get myself out there!

Paul’s pitch was interrupted around 9am by David Johnston, the president of UW, who stopped in to give us a little chat. During my undergrad days, President Johnston also stopped by one of our football practices to express the university’s support and wish us well. Both of these visits really made me appreciate his committment to the school and his support for innovative programs at Waterloo. He was only supposed to talk for 10 minutes, but stayed for nearly half an hour, and apparently threw off his whole schedule for the morning! He talked about how the European Renaissance was a result of the combination of three factors – technological (the printing press), social (the work of Martin Luther), and political (a politcal environment that was receptive to change). It was an interesting point, and gave us a sense of how UW is trying to create an environment that fosters innovation and growth.

The morning continued with Geoff Malleck taking us through a couple icebreakers, and introducing his course, BET611 – Applied Business Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs. Basically, this course is about the “soft stuff” – interviewing, negotiating, networking. This is the sort of thing that they don’t teach in a lot of programs, but is often vital to an entrepreneur’s success, and I expect it to be some of the most valuable things I will learn throughout this program.

During lunch, we had our first of what will be many, many guest speakers, Yvan Couture. He talked about making choices, and the difference between being an accumulator and creator of wealth. Interesting talk, and he made some good points about keeping things in perspective.

We continued into the afternoon with another icebreaker and some course introductions, and wrapped up around 3pm. I had planned on heading out for a run in the couple hours of free time, but ended up chatting with a few of my new classmates. At 5pm we headed down for a nice dinner. After dinner, they had set up an open panel discussion for us with a few people that have been around MBET:

  • Ryan Nickelchok, an MBET v2 grad
  • Ray Simonson, our Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • Murray Gamble, a member of the board of advisors
  • Cam Greenwood (?? didn’t catch the last name), one of the founders of MBET

We had a chance to ask some questions to get a better feel for what we were getting ourselves into. It was a good evening and a nice end to a busy day.

A few people were going to hit the bars tonight. I was tempted to go, but I’m trying to stick to my plan to make this a little different than undergrad. It was a long day, and it’s going to be a long week, so I’ll save the hardcore partying for later on this week! At the age of 28, I can’t handle three consecutive nights on the town anymore! Besides, I hosted my own little kegger on Sunday with some of my old Waterloo friends, so I’ve done my share of partying this week already!!

Time for bed… day two starts in less than 8 hours.

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3 responses so far ↓

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