Sunday, March 21, 2010

The power of the written word

Classes start tomorrow, and so I am doing some readings this evening. This is the fourth quarter and is therefore my fourth attempt at a fresh start, as I vow not to get behind this time. Actually I must pat myself on the back a bit because I've done a decent job of keeping up with readings. This quarter, though, is going to be particularly intense because I have 5 classes (last quarter I had 4) and they are all reading- and case-heavy ... all 5. Seriously!

This is good news in the sense that, even though I'm good enough at math to enjoy it and get by, I tend to get better marks and be more engaged in the more qualitative classes. Other good news is that I finally, for the very first time, don't have an 8:15 a.m. class! Here's a look at this quarter's roster for me -- three required courses (the end of our first-year core) and two electives:

10 - 11:20 a.m. Monday/Wednesday: Innovator. This is another "Organizational Perspective" class that looks at business problems and issues from a certain stakeholder's point of view. (Previous classes have included "Investor," "Customer," "Competitor" and, my favorite, "Employee.") This one looks like it'll be what it sounds like it'll be -- how to come up with good new ideas and products.

2:40 - 4 p.m. Monday/Wednesday: State & Society. Another "Organizational Perspective" requirement for first-years. Looks at government's interaction with business, and at laws and ethics. It's taught by the Socratic method, so it will be important to be prepared, although there are actually no individual written assignments in the course; just a group paper and a take-home final. That doesn't mean it'll be easy, though ... it looks like a lot of work, and I know the professors are famous for cold-calling.

4:10 - 5:30 p.m. Monday/Wednesday: Managing Marketing Programs. An elective. Pretty self-explanatory; the syllabus confirms the title.

9 - 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays: Integrated Leadership Perspective (ILP). This is the capstone of our curriculum. It's team-taught by our previous professors, and others, and it looks like it will use the raw case method to tie everything we've learned together. A raw case is one where we use real-world data sources, like news articles, Web sites and videos, as opposed to a "cooked case," which is where a university researches an event or a company and writes up a 20-or-so-page case about it, complete with nicely written exhibits with graphs or financial statements or whatever. This is the class nobody seems to quite understand yet ... I'm not entirely clear on exactly what we'll be doing.

2:40 - 5:40 p.m. Thursdays: Coaching Skills for Managemers. I signed up for this somewhat at the last moment, but this is, again, pretty self-explanatory given the title. We do readings, write-ups and exercises to become better coachers. It's a soft skill, but a really important one, I think, and one I could probably stand to enhance.

So that's what the quarter looks like! It will be over before you know it ... Just seven weeks. (Gulp ... I need to have an internship by then!)

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