Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wrapping it up at the Kennedy School

It's Thursday afternoon, 3:45 and we've just wrapped up our final class.

That means roughly 120 sessions of 45 minutes crammed into four weeks. Most professors used 90 minutes and taught two. Regardless, it's been a hell of a journey. Today we wrapped up by 3:30, and don't have any readings for tomorrow, but we need to pack out and be ready to check out of the dorms by 9:00 tomorrow morning. Unfortunately we have final sessions and reflections starting at 8.

...four weeks. I'm going to tell you, this is a life changing experience. Everything about the program is first class. It's hard to explain how these guys do what they do, but the program teaches leadership, history, personal accountability, lessons from the Presidential offices (from people who advised the Presidents), and more. In addition to the coursework, they really do everything possible to immerse you in the higher level thinking and culture of Harvard. Again, hard to explain. I'll do my best in actions when I return.

Besides the coursework and culture, one of my friends suggested I bring extra bourbon for the study groups at night. We used all of mine, and more from others. During the Balcony Summits, we solved world hunger, the crisis in the Middle East, we've fixed Israel, and know how to best assist Japan. Does anyone by chance have Hillary's phone number? I'm sure she'll want to know what we've come up with!

OK all, probably one more post tomorrow with pictures from tonight... final dinner, business attire at the Harvard Faculty Club.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday morning.. week 4

Well, we're in the home stretch! It's Tuesday morning and I'm wrapping up my readings for the day and getting my case study prepared for the after-SEF project I'll be working on with my group.

It's been a hell of an experience! We wrapped up last week with a trip to the JFK library, but only after a week of reading, case studies, reading, and more case studies. The schedule is been hectic. They keep us busy from 8AM to early evening most days, with one study groups before class in the morning and many times dinner speakers.

Last night was Jeff Frankel. Jeff was an economic advisor to Clinton. While I didn't necessarily appreciate the message (he was very doom and gloom), nor the slant (he blames everything on everyone but Clinton), it was still interesting having him here, speaking to us over dinner. An interesting thought though... 1/5 of our current budget goes to pay for interest on money borrowed from the rest of the world to pay our bills. I've not confirmed the number, nor audited our budget, but if this is right, it's amazing that we can continue to operate.

We discussed the current budget mess and the continuing resolutions. He told us that even if the planned cuts went through, it accounted for only 6% of the current issue (with the implication that it wouldn't do much good). I'm a bit concerned by this. I had a woman who worked for me in a startup a few years back. She was my most junior person -an intern from a local college. When we started running out of money in the end, she requested to not take a paycheck. She told me "it takes a lot of drops of water to make an ocean, but every one counts.". 6%? That seems like it'd pay interest at least don't you think?

OK, now for more fun topics... pictures of the JFK Library and dinner. We had a great time!