It is more than two months since I started writing about MCM program. And lot of things happened. So, to continue at the point where I stopped last time – although I enjoyed my screening interview I had two quite hard days thinking about if I am going to be accepted or not. And Brett sent the results, as promised, within 48 hours and surprise, surprise – I managed to get in!
Now it was a time to think about logistics. Due to my nationality I needed to react really fast to get USA visa. Tickets were booked and I managed to get a room in Homestead for the first week. Luckily I had no complications to get visa (I suppose, a invitation letter from Microsoft helped as well :)) and I was on the plane to Seattle on April 7th.
We had a kick-off meeting the day after my arrival. Brett explained to us what is waiting for us in the coming 12 weeks. Finally, the whole gang was at the same place for the first time. All in all, 27 finest from all around the world, not only in their area of expertise but great folks in general – I am really glad I had a chance to get to know them (howdy, folks!).
I attended a hybrid rotation. Unlike classic rotations which take place 3 week onsite in Redmond, hybrid rotation is made of an one week onsite part in Redmond and 11 weeks of remote delivery. We started on Monday, April 9th, at 8:00 am. Non-Microsofties like myself needed to get IDs first so we had to be there an hour earlier. Apart from that and changing topics (and I can assure you, we went through LOT of stuff first week) each day of our onsite part was quite similar: start at either 7 am or 8 am, few short breaks during a day and one “big” break for a lunch (typically 20-30 minutes).We spent our whole days on sessions and hands on labs. The days were very long – although sessions were usually over between 6 pm and 8 pm we had to stay and do our “homework”. We’ve got few hands on labs to complete until end of the week. So, we ended up working until midnight or even longer – every single day.
I was surprised how fast the time went by. We worked on our hands-on-labs (HOLs) on Saturday as well and had a wrap-up at the end of a day. After that, an onsite part was officially over and we went to Parlor Billiards & Spirits to celebrate. It was a night to remember 🙂
I stayed in Seattle for next couple of days. A short vacation, well deserved. I really enjoyed my time there, unfortunately my visit had to come to an end. I missed my kids, my wife and my dog. I was heading home on April 19th.
Remote delivery started during my visit to Seattle. I had an impression that it won’t be a big issue to manage but then again, I was wrong. Being in Seattle during a first week of remote delivery, I didn’t have much else to do so it was a breeze. The real deal started a week after, when I was back to work. Next 11 weeks were organized as following:
most Mondays and Tuesdays: onsite at customers offices until 3:30pm, remote deliveries at 5:00 pm with duration of 4-4.5 hrs.
the rest of the week: working until 6 pm, HOLs and session reviews for the rest of the evening (and weekends)
The amount of material was just humongous. We covered lot of SharePoint topics, not only IT Pro and architecture but lot of development topics as well. We had an honor to be taught by the best of the best in the SharePoint and SQL Server product group and community. Most of them are MCMs as well. And, although I was usually drop dead tired I wanted to hear more and more of each session. You don’t get the chance to peek behind the curtains of a product every day 🙂
I mentioned hands on labs earlier. They were great addition to sessions. Each of them took few hours to complete, some of them I did even few times just to make sure that I got everything right. Regarding hardware, each and every of us had his own blade (PowerEdge 710) with 72 GB RAM and ca. 4 TB disk space. Not sure how many cores we had (forgot to take a look) but it was more than enough. We could start more than 20 VMs and everything was just working as it should.
Our last session ended on June 19th. We had only few days to go through all the material again as our knowledge exam was scheduled directly a week after the last session. I did my exam on June 26th. Let me tell you something about MCM knowledge exam – it is not your average MCP Prometric exam, y’a know… We had 4 hours for 100 questions, divided in 3 sections. Each and every question was really tricky. The questions are well written, answers even better. You really need to know your stuff and to read carefully to get the answer right. I took the exam from home as there are enough security measures to insure we are not cheating. I got my results just few days later – I managed to get it right!
But, it was not over yet. In order to gain a MCM certification there is a qualification lab to go through as well. I did mine on July 11th. This was a really hard and great experience at the same time. I had 8 hours for lab itself. This is a practical exam so we got our virtual servers and a bunch of tasks to do. All tasks were manageable however good planing and time management is required here. And you need to stay focused, which became almost impossible after 7 hours with almost no breaks. I didn’t do all tasks, I just needed additional time and ability to focus.
After the qualification lab I had the same question I had on the start of this journey – Am I good enough? It was hard to wait for an answer the next few days. I hoped for the best. And on Friday, July 13th 2012 the answer finally came. All the hard work paid itself off.
I am a Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint 2010 now!