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The SLP Board Presentation: Five Long Years

by Michael Senchuk on June 15, 2012

I am sitting here in front of the computer, a combination of exhausted, relieved, exhilarated, and still a little anxious. We did our final SLP board presentation this morning. First off the bat, at 8AM. I think it went well, though there are always things to look back at and think you could do better. I forgot one bit during the presentation that I hadn’t up until now, and just moved on … which the board actually appreciated, rather than get all flustered. And most of the commentary was about future presentations, so overall I think we did well. Whatever the mark, I will be totally surprised if we have to re-present.

So that spells the end of the “path to designation”. I was looking back at my files, and I started back in the spring of 2007 with an audit class through the University of Athabasca. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate audit? It’s true. Then international business, followed by advanced financial accounting, then strategic management, and finally taxation. With that last class I finally had all the prerequisite courses, and could write the entrance exam – in October 2010.

That pretty much took the entire summer, thinking about it, preparing for, working through a prep class, but once I passed that, then it was on to the Strategic Leadership Program, which began in December 2010. Then of course, the dreaded case exam last summer. Then another year of the SLP, culminating with this morning’s board presentation, and associated paper – a 10,000 word analysis of a fictional company and its industry, combined with a thirty-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session from a mock board of directors. And now I know more about copper mining than I ever thought would be the case. Of course, the second year was all done as a group, so for the most part it wasn’t that much work – until the last few months, as we started working on the paper, and the presentation.

It was a hell of a lot of work.  A hell of a lot. But I’ve met some awesome people along the way. In my group. In our cohort. Our moderators. The other cohorts. And I learned a hell of a lot too.

So now what do I do with my evenings and weekends? Go to more shows? Probably. But I think I’ll take some time off from studying for a while. I wouldn’t rule out more education in the future. I always thought a Masters Degree in Astronomy would be cool. But maybe something a little more sedate first. I’ve been meaning to learn Latin for a while. Or maybe take up the bass guitar.

In the meantime, I’m going to go to this afternoon’s wine and cheese, and then do not much of anything the rest of this weekend. Because dammit I deserve it.

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Strategic Leadership Program – The End Is Nigh

by Michael Senchuk on April 18, 2012

I’ve been working on trying to get my CMA designation for so long, it almost feels weird knowing the end is near. This weekend will be the sixth and final interactive session, and also last chance at a practice board presentation before the final hurdle of all, the actual board presentation of the massive case study (Brightstar) on June 15th (with the paper due two weeks prior).

I have to say I’ve found the second year significantly less stressful. Maybe that’s because we were in the fasttrack program the first year, when there was an assignment due almost every week – but this year has been mostly groupwork, so we’ve not only shared the load, but there’s other people to bounce ideas off, and share the stress, and perhaps even take on some of the tasks that one may not be so enamored with, or know they’re not as good at.

To date our group’s worked out perfectly, I don’t remember one squabble. I’m always cognizant of making damned sure I do what I’ve said I’m going to do, but the other challenge is trusting the others to do the same. It’s taken some work on my behalf. I don’t think of myself as a control freak, but there you have it.

But it is the end of an important era in my world. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with my extra free time, but I’m sure it’ll get swallowed up pretty quick.

And as if the next few weeks weren’t going to be challenging enough with the board presentation and case work, tomorrow (April 19th) will also be my last day at Lilydale Inc. I don’t know if I’d recommend switching jobs the weekend one’s doing a CMA interactive session, but I’m about to. You can click here for details on my new position, which I start on Monday (April 23rd). And simultaneously I’m also working on a deal for a new vehicle, to replace the 13-year-old Nissan Altima SE.

For those that are about to write the case exam this spring, there’s a few things I’ll tell you. First, focus on the process. If you can get through all the steps you’ll be fine. Second, tie your recommendations to your SWOT and stakeholder preferences. And finally, though I always managed to because I’m a hell of a fast writer, don’t stress as much about your financial statements. A lot of people in our cohort made it through without them. And good luck.

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Edmonton Versus Hoth (And Oymakon)

by Michael Senchuk on January 17, 2012

Yeh, it’s cold here in Edmonton. Some would say unbearably cold. But if it was really “unbearable”, wouldn’t everyone leave?

Some like to compare the city to the ice planet of Hoth when it gets like this. Fair enough, so I did a little digging. Turns out the average nighttime low on Hoth was -60C, which Edmonton’s never reached. You’d have to go into the Arctic circle to register that kind of temperature. However, their daytime high is pegged at -32C. That’s certainly reached a number of times most winters. In fact, at lunchtime here in Edmonton we’re still hovering at the -30C mark, with the mercury encapsulated in a one degree range since 11pm last night. So yeh, the days can definitely be compared to Hoth.

Now, to be fair, we all know that on any planet there are ranges of temperatures, so there’s probably not ONE high and one low temperature for Hoth. Then again, based on my basic knowledge of astronomy, how they describe its solar system would also leave one to think it would be a hell of a lot colder there than is indicated by those temperatures too.

Be that as it may, I was also reading up on another location much closer to us than Hoth (well, and a place that actually exists too) – over in Russia, a village called Oymakon. They hit a low of -90 in February 1933 (Yes, NINETY, that’s not a typo). It IS the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth. There the only school closes only if temperatures drop below -61; and residents leave their cars running ALL DAY. For those of you that don’t live in winter climates, the very idea of plugging cars in like we have to when it gets to these temperatures probably just seems bizarre, but just imagine having to leave your vehicle running all the time?

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Edmonton Oilers – The Worst Franchise In the NHL? Maybe Not, But They’ve Got To Be Damned Close By Now

December 30, 2011

The Edmonton Oilers lost again last night. They’re now the fifth-worst team in the league this year, within a point of falling into the bottom four. Should make for a nice lottery pick again. My family shared season tickets during the team’s Stanley Cup run. I don’t know if I was ever at a game [...]

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MORNING CEREAL ROUTINE

December 4, 2011

Earlier this week one of our local morning radio hosts – Garner Andrews – ended up talking about cereal for awhile. My five minutes of writing today follows that same theme. I’ve eaten cereal as a regular part of my morning routine since I was probably five or six years old. That’s a lot of [...]

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Yes To Arena / No To Museum

October 27, 2011

Yesterday Edmontonians learned that the city council voted yes to proceed on a $450 million arena, of which the city is funding $305M; they need the province to fund $100M; and I guess that means Katz is funding only $45M of it (great deal for him, by the way, but not the point). On the [...]

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Times Of Our Lives: The Walkup Phase

August 19, 2011

Heather and I were walking back to our cars on the Sunday after folkfest, passing all sorts of walkups (that must be the walkup capital of the city), and I started thinking back to all my friends who lived in walkups at a specific time in my life – a few years after University, it [...]

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