AM I IN OVER MY HEAD?!

Absolutely. This must be what it feels like to be thrown in the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. To emphasize how out of my element I am, in the past hour I have:

  • Took 15 minutes to upload a GIF to WordPress (I won’t know if this actually worked until I post it)
  • Asked my girlfriend to remind me what the image that moves and the image that doesn’t move is called (GIF vs. Meme)
  • Made my first social media post since 2011 (I deleted Facebook and never looked back)
  • Attempted to figure out how to make this blog clever and digestible as my other classmates who’ve posted have seemed to have mastered this already

Our first class was filled with warnings from Professor Kane on the many reasons why students shouldn’t take this class. I felt a lot of those warnings were directed at me. I’m in my last year of my part-time MBA program, have avoided any courses with a focus on social media, and recently started a new job that I thought I would need my MBA to get.

I haven’t figure out sizing on WordPress…

So why have I decided to stick with this course? After Professor Kane was finished reminding us of the reasons why taking his class could be a mistake, he promised that his course would be one of the most rewarding in the MBA program if we stuck with it and did the work. With only three remaining courses, I’m looking to challenge myself and develop a new outlook. Too many times in the MBA program (especially during COVID) I have taken courses I felt I could taken on Khan Academy or taught myself on YouTube without much difference. Digital Transformation offers what all of my favorite classes have, engagement. As shown by the following sections of the syllabus:

  • “My primary goal is to create a robust learning environment”
  • “What I care almost exclusively about is students genuinely engaging with the class”
  • “You should expect this class to be HIGHLY INTERACTIVE
  • “If you do not like such highly interactive classes, you might want to reconsider whether this class is for you” 

I want to learn, engage, and develop new skills in my last year of my part-time MBA. Digital Transformation allows me to accomplish all of this, as long as I put the work in. As illustrated in my first set of bullet points, I don’t have much experience in digitalization. In fact, I’ve avoided it at every turn of my career, education, and personal life (outside of the occasional YouTube video). The time has come where I can no longer avoid the digital world due to a new job. Reflecting on where I am in my career, there is no better time to take this course.

In May, I started a new job as Sustainability Manager at Verizon. I am responsible for the company’s climate change strategy. A small part of this role is digital communications. Leveraging social media and other forms of digital communications to communicate the work we are doing to internal and external stakeholders. I need to be able to better understand the digital landscape in order to reach our different audiences, from consumers to investors. I want to be able to develop a digital communication strategy around our sustainability work that goes beyond a few random tweets and LinkedIn posts. My hope in taking this course is I will be able navigate the digital world better and implement this understanding into my team’s digital communications strategy.

My main point of interest in the course are the group discussions. I’m looking forward to engaging in small and large groups to discuss assignments/class content and learn from my classmates on a variety of topics. I’m also looking forward to seeing the direction this course takes over the next four months. The digital world is changing at such a rapid pace that I expect our course will engage on a new topic that hasn’t been discussed in prior classes because it hadn’t existed. This has occurred in other courses with blockchain, NFT’s, and more. I’m excited to see what develops in the digital world and our classes perspectives.

With all that being said, I can’t wait to get started! Looking forward to engaging with everyone in-person and digitally this semester.

5 comments

  1. I will say that reading the syllabus before class it initially felt like too much for me to handle as well. However after seeing how engaging the Professor is as a teacher and the great feedback I have heard from previous students that have taken this class I’m in the “I’m going to stick it out” camp with you! Here’s to a great semester of learning by doing.

  2. Firstly, awesome gif use! Second, I shared similar thoughts going into this course and had to become comfortable actually creating digital content on social media rather than just consuming it. I am also looking forward to the discussions. I realized that too often I am using social media but not actually talking about strategy or the challenges. Looking forward to engaging in those conversations!

  3. Great opening post. I think you may find — like I did with my most recent book that we will cover — that it’s less about digital transformation and more about how to lead organizations through disruption. Digital is a huge part of that, since it is often the cause of and solution to disruption, but it is not the only aspect. I think you’ll find this class particularly helpful in your role on climate change strategy.

  4. I for one am really glad that @geraldckane commented what he did. I keep reading about the timid mentality toward social media that a lot of students in this class seem to have. Although humorous, knowing a gif vs meme doesn’t really mean you can or cannot lead or support a company’s digital transformation. I hope we get to discuss this more, but I really don’t think social media is a digital transformation. Maybe in 2008, it was…but I want to get into is how as a manager in the business world do we come to understand how we implement new technologies and strategies so that Verizon, for example, can thrive in a more environmentally stable way. As we are aware, new technologies can have a harsh reality on our environment (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/09/03/climate/bitcoin-carbon-footprint-electricity.html)

    Really cool job, by the way, would love to hear more about what tactics you’re looking into to make your company more environmentally focused.

    1. Thanks for providing such thoughtful and thorough feedback. I agree about the attitude towards social media. I think of it as that’s the first date joke, and we’ll be getting more serious as we move forward.

      I’ll be expanding on this much more throughout class, but I’m taking the course to hopefully make me a better manager and more importantly, a better strategist in a rapidly changing world.

      I hope to have a lot of discussion about sustainability in class.

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