Monday, May 31, 2010

Graduation Part 2

So after the BYU-wide Graduation on Thursday, each of the different schools at BYU hold their own Convocation on Friday were they present each graduate with their certificate. The Marriott School of Management (BYU's Business School) held their convocation on Friday afternoon.

Of course we had to take a million pictures while I was dressed in the robes. It was like my wedding day again with sore cheeks from putting on a smile over and over so that the picture would look good enough for the blog. Fortunately the standard of looking good was set very low.

Unfortunately despite it being toward the end of April, the weather was not co-operating on the day and it was cold and wet.

Before the convocation the business school held a function for us where we were able to mingle with classmates and their families as well as our Professors and the administrative staff. It was a lot of fun, but of course the cameras were working overtime and the smiling for pictures continued in earnest again.

The MBA Spouses Association was amazing and Esther and the other wives were able to have a lot of fun together and forge some really strong friendships while their husbands were spending long hours at school.

During our 1st semester they put us in a team of 5 and we basically work together on everything during that semester. It is a huge workload in the 1st semester, but fortunately, ours was the best team in the program, and working with Rich, Adam, Chris and Zac (not pictured) was a major highlight of the whole experience.

Chris was one of the members of my team during my first semester (basically a 2nd family for me) and in between our 1st and 2nd years he and Julie were married in the Oakland Temple. As we were in California for my internship, we were able to attend their wedding.

Some of my classmates.

During my last semester, I was part of a team with Ronell, Nate, Oliver and Elisa that competed in a Marketing Case Competition at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. There were 8 teams selected to compete from more than 100 applications from around the world. We were given 36 hours to develop a marketing plan to solve a real world problem faced by IBM. It was so much fun to participate with this team, and despite the sleep deprivation it was a huge highlight for all of us.

It was nice to have a friend in the program that was actually older than I am. Thanks Matt.

A couple of weeks before graduation I was invited by the Dean to be the Student speaker during the Marriott School convocation. This was a huge honour , but caused me a huge amount of stress leading up to it, especially during the day of Graduation. Each year they also have a guest speaker and this year J Willard Marriott Jnr., the Chairman and CEO of Marriott International.

In the lift, right before giving the speech. Just a tiny bit nervous!!

I needed to get a sound check. Savannah and Hyrum were sitting on the first row with Aunty Margaret and Uncle Karl, right in front of all the graduates. They were very proud of me and were cheering and giving high fives to the classmates of mine that they knew as their names were presented.

I had about 6 minutes to speak and there were about 10,000 people in attendance. It was an amazing experience, but I was so glad to finish and sit down. Fortunately I had Esther sitting next to me on the stand and had her support through it all.

Being presented with my degree by the Dean.

17 years ago, Tyson and I first met as 18 year olds at BYU and had so many great times together. I am still amazed that after so many years of having no contact, we were able to be in the MBA program at the same time and reconnect again.

Moroni and I were a little excited after receiving our degrees.

Esther and Mesia Kempton, very relieved to have their husbands back after 2 years.

Matt Kempton and I with Jim Engebretsen, one of our professors.

After the speech I was given a gift from the Dean's assistant.

Graduation Part 1

It is hard to believe that it has been a little less than 2 years since we left Perth and made the trip to Provo to start in the MBA program at BYU. While we have packed a lot into that period, I am amazed that it has gone by so quickly and is now finished. I had pretty high expectations going in, and am amazed at how much those expectations have been exceeded. To now be leaving and moving on brings some very mixed emotions.

Esther has been an amazing support through this entire experience and pushed me so many times when I could have easily fallen into my usual pattern of complacency.

As is to be expected here, the graduation is a BIG event. On the Thursday, we had the graduation ceremony for all of Brigham Young University and the Marriott Centre was packed with more than 20,000 in attendance. For this ceremony, all graduates entered the Marriott Centre and were addressed by Elder Christofferson of the Quorom of the Twelve.

Fortunately at this ceremony there were no certificates handed out. With something like 7,000 total graduates school-wide, this would have been a very long, tedious process.

It was so much fun to have Aunty Margaret and Uncle Karl visit us and attend the graduation. We loved having them with us for such an occasion, and it was so nice to have family members come from so far away for this event.

When we were ordering our gowns, I noticed the option for International students to order a sash with their national flag on it. I couldn't pass up the chance to don the Australian flag and so ordered this sash along with the rest of the gear.

Graduation day also happened to be Uncle Karl's birthday and so we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner to celebrate and had a great meal.

When we arrived home, the children and some neighbours had put up a sign on the door congratulating me. They were very proud of their dad, which was really nice.

The kids loved all the attention they got from their extra set of grandparents and were very sad to see them leave. Isaac stayed outside waving until well after their car was out of sight.

Unfortunately, despite being done with all school work, I was still a little stressed and preoccupied on the Thursday night with what lay ahead the next day...