Starting Up

Wow! – It has been a really long time since I have posted anything. Not really sure why I haven’t been active and blogging, but I kind of miss it. I’ll have to start blogging, at least somewhat more frequently.

It’s been a great month – family, friends, travel, weddings, work, etc. I’ve been to weddings in Milwaukee and rural Indiana. I’ve been with my family to Niagara Falls and Detroit. I have started working on a new health plan in New Hampshire. All of it has been great- and I am constantly amazed at how time flies by.

I am feeling good about life right now. I have some big plans. And a lot of ideas. I’ll try to start doing a better job of sharing my thoughts on here.

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Winter Quarter Class Summary

I’ve now completed my first week of Winter Quarter and am getting ready for the second week.  This quarter may be my most difficult yet.  There will certainly be a lot of reading/work.  Work at CME is also keeping me busy.  This quarter, we have the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, two programs I am planning with Thomas.  I am also doing a lot of work for the Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence (big expansion this year, held in May) with Johanna.

I am taking four classes this quarter.  Here they are with some initial thoughts:

Strategic Cost Management

This class has an interesting topic that I’ve never really though about before.  I’m hoping to get a more integrative understanding of managerial accounting.  My professor is a nice old guy who clearly knows the material.  However, I’ve already been lost in class and there is a ton of work for this class, most of which has to be done with a partner.  Luckily, I have a good one.

Ethics for the 21st Century Professional

This class is very interesting and multidisciplinary.  It covers leadership, management, law, public policy, etc.  I like my professor a lot.  It has a good amount of work and effectively utilizes Blackboard by dividing up readings, discussion boards, and quizzes into “learning modules”.  I know a lot of the people in this class so that makes it a lot of fun as well.

Strategic Management

My Professor is extremely knowledgeable and has great experience.  We will be covering a lot of material and fast.  It will be a lot of work, but I think I will really enjoy it.  We have several team case analyses and I have a good group with people I know.

Law and Public Policy

I’ve always been interested in this topic and now I get to take a class that also relates it to business.  A good fit.  We have a lot of reading for this one too and several longer papers/presentations on different cases.  My professor seems to be a nice guy.

Quote #12 – Advice from Build-A-Bear

Corey, the International Marketing Intern, and I have had meetings with a lot of people at Build-A-Bear Workshop over the past two weeks (I cannot believe my internship is now 20% over!) in an effort to learn more about who works at the company, how Build-A-Bear operates, how the international team fits together, our own career paths, etc.  It’s really a great opportunity.  One of the questions we have asked is for advice or wisdom, based on personal experience or working at Build-A-Bear.  Today, the following quote was offered, which I found particularly meaningful as I struggle with letting go of my past summers and moving forward – a.k.a. “growing up”.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish Philosopher and Theologian, generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher.  He lived 1813-1855.

Of course, general advice has also consisted of find your passion, don’t just work for money – actually enjoy what you do and who you work with, etc.  The standard “work smart” and “work hard” that I got through Boy Scout experiences has continued at Build-A-Bear as well.

My internship has been great so far and I love the work that I am doing.  Unlike the stereotypical stories of interns filing papers all day, I believe that the projects I am working on are actually affecting the operations of the company.  Build-A-Bear really does believe in its people as key to the company’s success and I have been amazed at how much they seek to develop the interns.  I could not be luckier this summer.

First Day At Build-A-Bear Workshop

Today was my first day at my summer internship at the World Bearquarters of Build A Bear Workshop in St. Louis.  I am working 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  I definitely enjoyed myself, but these full work days will take some getting used to.  I had to add extra time to drive in traffic and dress up.  I have a professional email address (@buildabear.com) and voice mail.  I felt like that should be someone else, not me.  I guess we all have to grow up sometime.  Luckily, I work at an exciting place so I can still be a kid sometimes.

When I got to work, we had orientation and a tour for all of the interns.  We met first in the boardroom where there was a folder with my name labeled “International Intern Bear”.  I was pretty excited.  I was pretty busy today.  I learned about the 4-5+ projects I will be working on, met a lot of the staff, sat in on conference calls and meetings, etc.  I learned about the international franchising process, about Build A Bear operations, expansion/franchising plans in Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa, and sat in on meetings with the team that runs the Build A Bear stores in Germany.  I will be joining them again for much of the day tomorrow.

So far, so good.  Build A Bear seems like a great place.  They people seem really nice.  I definitely have already learned a lot and I know this summer will be a great learning and growth experience.  I am sad not to be back at camp this summer (I am staying in touch with the people there and plan to visit several times), but Build A Bear seems to have been the right choice for my future so far.