Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lexington & the UK PhD in Management


This weekend I enjoyed a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, where I had the chance to learn more about a PhD program at the University of Kentucky's Gatton School of Management. My specific area of interest is in social network analysis, and Gatton has some of the world's leading researchers in this field; it was such a treat to spend the day getting to know them, hearing about their current projects, and sitting in on an afternoon seminar with other students currently in the program.

In my continuing survey of PhD programs I found this website on online PhD programs being offered by several US colleges. Even though it doesn't seem like something for me, I found it interesting to learn that there are opportunities to complete a doctorate without having to regularly attend campus. While online education is emerging as a viable and cost-beneficial way to complete a degree, most colleges are still focusing on traditional campus based education and the benefits that arise from in-person interaction between students and professors.

The drive to Lexington was beautiful, especially on Friday morning as I drove east toward the sunrise. Lexington itself is a quaint little town compared to Nashville, and it's set in rolling green hills neatly partitioned by the white picket fences of the horse farms for which the city has earned itself global renown. Navigating the campus of a huge state school was much different from Belmont; luckily the folk were friendly and, apparently not trusting my internal positioning system, always insisted on walking me to my destination instead of leaving me with even detailed directions.

UK's Patterson Tower - view from the walking bridge


Two friendly girls, friends of a friend, put me up for the night in their downtown apartment. Talking with them gave me a better sense of the Lexington community, and from what I've seen and heard so far, I can definitely see myself living there happily for a few years. 

Watching the sun set from the edge of campus.

I've been encouraged to look at several different schools and programs before deciding if (and then where) to pursue a PhD, and I will certainly look around, but I'm excited about the individuals and collaborative academic community I've found in the management/social network analysis program at UK and hope to see them all again soon!

This semester has been, by far, one of the most exciting and intense thus far. Juggling all my different interests has landed me with two internships, four part-time jobs, and leadership roles in two student organizations, plus I've picked ballroom dancing back up...and somehow I'm still finding time to write my thesis (while loving this process more than ever)! Now I'm about to add some intensive studying for the GMAT (the SAT for graduate-level business school admission) and a web of grad school applications to the mix. All the craziness is worth it, though, because I'm learning that the more you put yourself out there, the more you gain in terms of knowledge and meaningful relationships. 


Here's the random story of the day: On the way home to Nashville this afternoon traffic suddenly got backed up. I've never seen this before, but a car ahead of me suddenly burst into flames. By the time I got to the wreckage, there was a lady standing against the concrete median wall, with a cardboard box and a suitcase at her feet.  The car on the right side of the road was just a smoking skeleton of the four-door it used to be, and the firemen were putting out the forest fire it had started on the other side of the guard rail. I was puzzled because the incident must have been pretty bad, but the lady didn't seem injured or burned...





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