Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Impossible? So it's only Day 3 of classes, and I must say that it already appears not to be possible to be the give-everything-110% kind of student I would like to be. There just simply aren't enough hours. But so far I am doing my best; probably, though, I will quickly be out of touch with new music and what's on TV.

Summary of my classes:

1. Economics. Taught by the dean for the first half, and then another professor for the second half. The dean enjoys "cold-calling" people; in fact, she has a deck of cards with each of our names and faces on them, and she deals them out to determine whom to call. That is intimidating, although my impression is that the questions will be more like "Why do you think the company priced this product this way?" and less like "Give me the formula for arc elasticity of demand or leave the room immediately." Fortunately for me, I just took economics over the summer, so everything we've covered in the book so far is fresh and familiar: supply and demand curves and what causes them to shift, how to determine equilibrium and various elasticities, basic concepts and definitions, etc. And we've also had some pretty interesting articles to read; I think the emphasis of this class is more on real-world problem solving than on abstract concepts.

2. Spreadsheet Modeling. I think this is going to be the hardest class for me (and, from what I can tell, for most people). We had a rather lengthy and somewhat complicated assignment prior to the first class, and on my own I got almost nowhere. Then working through it with my friend Mike, we got somewhere. Then working with a few members of my "team" -- we're divided into 8-member teams we're encouraged to study with -- we got a little further. But in class, we went over the assignment, and it seemed like everybody wasn't quite there. The class used to be a second-year elective, but now it's a mandatory first-year core class because students said they needed to know this stuff for their summer internships. So the good news is that I will probably learn important, useful things. The bad news is that doing so may be unpleasant.

3. Accounting. This is probably going to be the second-hardest class for me, not because it appears to be particularly hard per se, although there seems to be a lot of homework, but because I am unfamiliar with this topic. We were all required to do an online accounting module over the summer, so that has been helpful; at least I basically know what a balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows are, and I think I know the difference between operating, investing and financing activities. But a lot of concepts and words are coming up that I have to look up, because I didn't deal with the financial end of my industry at all. That'll make this slow-going, and I expect to have to do a lot of re-reading. Flash cards are in the works. The professor also cold-calls, and actually does ask questions that have actual answers, like "What's goodwill?"

4. Probability & Statistics. If the first class is an indication, I think I am going to (a) enjoy this a lot and (b) perhaps be successful at it. I took statistics over the summer, so everything we covered in the first class was very familiar (and, honestly, not hard). But, of course, when that's the case, it's easy to not take it as seriously and quickly fall behind. So I will do my best not to do that. But I truly love statistics, especially probability. And I don't necessarily get the impression that tons of prior "business" experience is a big advantage in this course. But it may be too early to make that generalization.

5. Problem Framing. This seems interesting, although I still don't quite understand what the work in the class will entail. The point of this class is that managers and CEO's have been telling Yale that their MBA interns and hires could use more skills when it comes to approaching problems in interesting or insightful ways. This class is supposed to explain how and why we shouldn't just accept a problem's "frame" and blindly solve the problem as it's presented, but should instead ask questions such as, "Is this even a problem? Could it instead be an opportunity?" Accoridng to the professors, this is a unique class not offered by other MBA programs, although I imagine the same concepts are covered in one manner or another. Again, interesting, but I don't have a sense of what the homework/assignments will actually involve.

6. Careers. Haven't had it yet; it meets once a week, and my first class is today. The readings were interesting, though. Obviously this is a more introspective class designed to help us determine our career paths, so in some ways this may be the most "important" class, although I have no sense of whether it will be hard.

Speaking of class, off I go ...


  1. Congratulations, darling. I'll keep you posted on media if anything relevant comes up. So far you are just missing My Antonio on VH1, which could quite possibly be the worse thing ever.

  2. If you lose touch with current music and TV, you will have officially become a graduate student. Sometimes I am listening to a song and I think to myself--My, I'm hip, loving this new popular song! Then, I realize the song came out in 2003. That's about when time stopped for me. Fun!