Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The stupidest girl in the class

A few years ago I made a mistake. These things happen every day, I don't expect sympathy or anything.

It wasn't especially bad, but still. Lord know what overtook me, everyone else I knew just headed to Australia or South-east Asia when they lost their way in those initial years after college.

My freakout took the peculiar shape of a masters in strategic marketing. It's tame I know, compared to trying smack, robbing rare birds eggs or even heading to the nether regions of the globe with only a smelly sleeping bag and some grubby fivers. But I lacked direction, and the course title seemed to suggest some. Plus I was a confused young adult, and as I said it was a mistake.

Even in rebellion I rock too gently I guess.

Anyway there I was, the strange kid in the class who kept mentioning deconstruction while the other kids focussed on the construction industry. It wasn't pleasant for them, and it was hell for me. I took joy in any moment I could.

And while normally my memories come to me as Platoonesque flashbacks, the other night I smiled a nostalgic grin as I remembered the day we studied one Harvard case study in particular.

It was a fraught Strategic Marketing Management lecture (note: the more times Strategic is mentioned in the course and module titles, the more important the course must be) and the class were flipping through their paper, personal organisers and other gadgets with great intent.

I was aping them, albeit a few seconds late, similar to how it was when our school choir would sing at Christmas and I didn't know the words.

The lecturer said, 'I know we're scheduled to look at the Enron case this week, but in light of all the ahem, issues in the press at the moment, well, I think we'll focus on revising our previous cases'.

We sat in silence, one hand wavering alone in the air.

The lecturer nodded at her.

Business students you ignore at your peril, they are so serious they make philosophy students look like comedians.

'I've studied this case indepthly...' she started, 'so I presume that we can use it in the exam, can we? Otherwise it's just a waste of time really, isn't it.'

I laughed, but it wasn't a joke.

The other night, slipping 'Enron The Smartest Guys in the Office' into my dvd player, I remembered that evening, and smiled.

Two years out of my life, a mistake, but hey, at least I didn't lose my pension on it.

Hi, just came across your blog. Had a really great time reading some of your entries. I never normally leave comments, but I just wanted to tell you that, really really lovely to read.

And as an arts graduate now moonlighting as a management accountant I feel your strategic management pain!
Thanks for your kind words!
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