Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Thesis Presentation (Defense)

Here is how it went down yesterday: I shaved and showered and shampooed (twice) then made my way to WPI. I went over my presentation one more time and headed over to the room to get everything set up. Everything was working out better than I expected. Everyone was being really helpful. They opened the room and the Facilities guy moved some chairs out and found a table cloth for the food at the back. The ME secretary brought a poinsettia in for the table as well. Then I took my suit jacket off before anyone arrived and I realized later that I went to the trouble of wearing a formal jacket and no one saw me wear it!

Before I started presenting a number of my undergrad friends showed up. I think it was a nice benefit for them. I would have liked to go to a thesis presentation when I was an undergrad just to see how it works. My advisor got up and started talking about how I shaved and stuff. Then I presented for I think 19 minutes. Then people started asking questions. Most of the questions I either expected or felt comfortable answering. It was a bit odd because one of the members of my committee was on the phone. So after a few initial questions the questions got deeper. The kind of questions I expected them to ask when the general audience left the room. The other committee members followed suit.

After 30 minutes of questions and discussion everyone left. They gave me one comment about how to modify my report by separating some sections. They complemented my writing but not my organization, which is exactly word for word the feedback I got on my Janzen Gear business plan. Then we spent ten minutes talking about Sergey Brin and Google, my ice axe, and Tiger Woods. I was speechless because I was expecting harder questions like, "Do you think you deserve this?"

Then it was over they said I did well and I proceeded to not get much of anything done the rest of the day. Well, I did have a fundamental change in my business strategy. I'll talk about that tomorrow.

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