By Jonathan Stern
The final week of the program was no gradual ease into the finish.
On Monday, we had class in the morning, visited Pamela Hawley at the ImpactHub in the afternoon, and attended the Giants’ baseball game that evening. The view from our seats was tremendous—we sat a few stories up from home plate, high enough to see over the outfield walls and onto the Bay, where the liners were in no apparent rush and were cruising by at a snail’s pace, a speed perhaps the result of their navigators’ being—like me—totally absorbed by the colors of the sunset. It was also the case that the weather was a tad chilly. And further the case that it didn’t seem to matter, for a number of people went anyway to the Dreyer’s ice cream stand and brought back to their seats some of the heartiest bowls of ice cream I have seen in a while.
After the first inning of the game, Bill Schlough, the team’s CIO, appeared a couple rows below us hoisting a large Duke ‘D’! He led us down into one of the stadium’s conference rooms, where we visited with him for the next five innings of the ballgame. I remember thinking the whole time—what an energetic and passionate fellow! I spoke to a number of students about his presentation afterwards, and we all found it one of our favorites. The first thing he did was pass around his most recent World Series ring for us to try on. It was dazzling and beautiful, but it really was a quite heavy thing to try to have on one’s finger. Then he spoke on his experiences at the Olympics, on how the MLB is working to remain relevant, and on the prospects of new statistics in baseball. Soon, he claimed, we will be able to track outfielders’ routes to pop-flies, and with such numbers, will be able to know which outfielders most consistently take the most efficient path to the ball.
After the meeting, we returned to our seats to watch another inning but unfortunately had to leave soon after. It was a busy week, as I remarked above, and it was important to get back to Mountain View as soon as possible because we had a huge case study on Apple to read for Tuesday—and most of us hadn’t even started.
Tuesday and Wednesday found us writing our final papers, combining and pulling from everything we had been taught that month. On Wednesday night, I stayed awake working to finish it until well after my ordinary bedtime. But I was not up all alone. Matt and Joe, on realizing that only two days remained to finish off all of their uneaten pancake batter, decided to throw a make-shift midnight pancake breakfast. I ate my share, as the pancakes were very good, but there was such a quantity of batter to start with that we hardly even made a dent in the supply!
Thursday was the last day of the program. One of my favorite moments of the month occurred at the end of our final class, when Professor Christensen offered his closing remarks—advice and personal stories. It was honest, surpassingly wise, thoughtful and deliberate, and powerful. We gave him as a gift at our final dinner a few pairs of elaborately patterned socks. Asked whether they would go with any of his suits, Christensen replied: “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it doesn’t really matter.”