Well it’s March and as I head into my last semester of the DM program, I find myself having thoughts similar to those I encountered at the end of my basic training days in the US Army Infantry branch. As my platoon and I cleaned our barracks and gathered our belongings to spend the last 2 days of our training on the concrete drill pad outside the barracks, we asked each other would we do it all over again. The answers ranged from “how much money would I get paid” ($500k to $1 million USD was the common range) to “HELL NO! After enduring 15 weeks of some of the most mentally and physically demanding training, incessant marching and running with 70lb ruck sacks on our backs (I got to make the 100 and 150 miler clubs as an added bonus) and living like animals for 20-30 days at time in the woods all on roughly 4 hours of sleep, I had to answer the latter. There was no way I was going to repeat the training no matter what amount I made, I was ready to get out and move on to my new unit. However, as I stood on the parade field ready to receive my crossed rifles (insignia of the Infantry) and my blue cord (color of the Infantry) to put on my dress uniform, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride. Suddenly, the training I had endured didn’t feel so hard and I knew I had accomplished something that only few others could have done in 15 weeks.
Well I can truthfully say that after 3 years in the DM program I am having the same feelings and thoughts as I did at the end of basic training. When looking back at all the nights and weekends as well as numerous vacations of endless reading assignments, statistics homeworks, written summaries, and of course developing our qualitative and quantitative papers, if asked to do this all over again I would answer “HELL NO!” But as I write this I am also filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride when reflecting on what I have been able to achieve beyond just getting the DM degree. Through my faith in God and the huge support from my kids and wife, I have been able to use the content and coursework of the DM program to stretch and strengthen my intellectual abilities in ways I couldn’t imagine back in 2011. Very similar to what the Infantry did for me physically. Today, I find myself looking intently at the world using a perspective which is part academician and part practitioner. Also I find my speech has changed, new phrases are coming out of my mouth such as “what’s the current body of knowledge say about...”, “there appears to be a high degree of correlation between...”, and my favorite “what is the level of rigor are we demonstrating with.”
So in looking back at the DM program, there were times when it seemed nearly impossible to complete. Would I do it all over again, no but I having gone through this experience and the program I feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in what I have accomplished and looking forward to standing on the stage and receiving my diploma. I also realize that through God and my family I have accomplished something that only a few achieve in their life time.
David Widdifield, DM Class of 2014
The Ohio State University
Director, Masters in Business Logistics Engineering Program
Marketing and Logistics