I am now an official MBA student. I've heard the magic word at least fifty times today. Growing up, you might have heard that the magic word was "please." But come real close to the screen...I'll whisper the real magic word to you.


I've learned of the magic of networking today, amidst other things. Time management. Setting goals and keeping priorities. Being involved. I've been doing it since eight this morning. I'm tired.

I suppose that I'm tired somewhat because we were going all around today, trying to tie up loose ends and going to meetings. But I think that more of my tiredness can be attributed to the fact that I've networked all day today for the first time in a long time.

You see, I'm basically an introvert in nature. I generally will be quiet for the most part, even in "orientation" settings, maybe offering a comment here or there in the conversation so that people don't shovel dirt on me and put a piece of granite near my head. But I realized that today would be an important day for me. Today would be the day that I would make a first impression, with not one but over 60 other people, with whom I would be sharing the MBA experience of the next two years. The whole thought of it was about as overwhelming to me as the whole idea of MBA school altogether.

And so I tried to be an outgoing version of myself. And I did okay, I guess. But it was exhausting. It'll take a lot out of someone who's not very adept at doing stuff like that. And that's one of the first things that I've learned as an MBA student...

Networking = Tylenol at the end of the day.

Now, obviously, I don't think of this whole thing as just a headache. It was time well spent; I've now met at least 2/3 of my class in some capacity or another. The experience has given me something very valuable...what I like to call a "touchpoint".

Touchpoints don't have to be people. They can be anything, anywhere, or anyone that you can go to and feel at least somewhat comfortable around. For example, I went to visit a relative this past weekend. She lives in a place that I had never been to. But knowing that she was there beforehand and the weekend that I had while there helped establish a new touchpoint.

Computers are touchpoints to me. I feel comfortable sitting down at one and doing things like writing about the day off the top of my head, which is something that I don't even do with a lot of people. (I've decided to keep a journal of my MBA experience, a la a good book that I just finished tonight, Snapshots From Hell: The Making of an MBA, which should be required reading for anyone considering this track (and no, I am not getting compensation for this :) )).

People, obviously, are touchpoints as well, and there are countless other things that I consider touchpoints in my life. But for every touchpoint that I have, there are things that I am not very comfortable about. This whole networking thing is still one of them. I still am not enthusiastic about the idea of mingling with 50 or more people that I've never met before and knowing something about them when the day is done. It's fun, in a way...but it's also scary for me. But at least, for now, I've talked to most of my classmates and learned something about them. While I still don't know a lot about them, I know that I will eventually know a good deal about some of them, and I also know that I never know everything about any touchpoint that I have. That's one of the good things about person "touchpoints", also known as friendships in the non-Brandon world...

You don't know everything about each other, but you know a lot about each other, and yet you like each other enough to hang around together anyway. :)