“…resiliency is developed by moving through complex situations without being prepared”.
Matt Allen, MBA(L), Class of 2021
Matt Allen has been keeping busy since graduating from Dalhousie’s CEGE MBA, Leadership program in 2021. Like many recent Alumni, Matt has had to quickly adjust to a new pace of life as he figures out his next steps and anticipates his new journey.
Matt shares with CEGE Connection what it felt like to accomplish his MBA, what his immediate plans were once he graduated, and his biggest transition to come into fatherhood. Matt has agreed to share more with us as his learnings continue.
It has been approximately six months since I last logged in to Brightspace, where I dragged and dropped my final paper into the assignment box and hit submit to cap off my Dalhousie MBA. After clicking submit, I felt fulfilled knowing I completed the goal I sought out to accomplish; however, what came next? I felt as though I had three years of catch up to complete all while putting the information buzzing around in my head into action in the workplace. I really had no idea what to do next, so I did what any of my colleagues would have done. I tried to do it all.
First, I immediately took a vacation to spend some time with my wife and family to catch up on time I had put on hold for the past three years, I developed a strategy within my group at my organization to increase the value within our roles and started to deploy said strategy, and last but most important, I had to quickly figure out how to be a father as my wife was wrapping up her first trimester of pregnancy. What seemed like a huge weight off my shoulders was more in line with the words of one of my classmates, “When you think you are complete and done, really you are only 33% of the way there.” (Kyle Nickason – 2021 Valedictorian)
In the months following August 2021, I exhausted myself trying to keep busy while transitioning back to a regular non-graduate student type of life, and it took me several months to do so and get into a rhythm. For the first month or so I would come home from work by opening the door to my second bedroom and wonder what I needed to get done that evening to make sure I was not behind in the rest of my life. On top of that my workplace was preparing for me to return to normalcy with a long list of surprise to do’s that popped up from the new owner of our organization, as our company was recently purchased and being taken private in the fall of 2021. While I had anticipated life getting back to normal after I completed my MBA, it had other plans in place.
Looking back on August 2021, I overlooked the upcoming COVID challenges associated with the Omnicom variant, delayed my value creation strategy as the organization I was a part of switched ownership and transitioned its mission, and prepared for fatherhood as I was completely clueless to what I needed to know and still am to some degree on what I can do as a male to support the birth of a child I can only feel kick through my wife’s belly.
From these last six months, I learned that planning has its limitations, and that resiliency is developed by moving through complex situations without being prepared. How you figure things out on the fly and the attitude you bring to the table are the only two ingredients you can have in times of transition. These are skills that I did not know that I learned throughout my MBA journey; however, are things that I am much better at dealing with now that I have my MBA because I practiced these for the last three years!