Sunday, October 31, 2010

The next courses up for bids

Oh, classes. How I appreciate them when I have the time. Second quarter (known around here as Fall 2) just began, but it's already time to start bidding for spring courses. The process starts tomorrow and ends in two weeks.

Second-year students' curriculum consists of nothing but electives. First-year students do not take any electives in the fall but can take one or two in the spring. Second-year students get first dibs on spring courses, and then first-years can bid. We each have a certain number of points (500, I think, although that's immaterial) that we divide amongst the classes we want. There are only a few courses where demand exceeds supply; in those cases, the highest bidders get the seats. Students can access records of previous years' bidding results to gauge which courses are likely to be over-sought and require high bids.

This semester, I am enjoying my courses but went pretty "hard" with my choices, partly because I felt it was important to work on those skills while I have the chance, and partly because there weren't many "soft" courses offered. For the spring offerings, there are more OB (Organizational Behavior) classes than in the fall, which literally is to say that the number of OB classes offered in the spring is not 0. So I am going to load on those, both because they are relevant to what I hope is my career trajectory, and because I enjoy them. But I'm also going to take one non-SOM course and one "eat my vegetables" type of course. Here's the lineup I'm currently considering:
  • Behavioral Perspectives on Management. This was priased by a friend as the best class she took at SOM, and it's taught by a professor I had and liked last year for Managing Marketing Programs. This looks at how people make decisions and behave.
  • Strategic Leadership Across Sectors. This is taught by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who is an accomplished person and famous around here. The course description is a little hard to nail down, but it begins: "This course takes a comprehensive view of the value-adding impact of top corporate leaders and how they revolutionize their enterprises, their industries, and the world economy." Sounds good to me.
  • Navigating Organizations. Topics include power and authority, organizational structure, social networks, traits, persuasion, coalitions and status. Just Spring 2.
  • Investment Management. My vegetable. Portfolio optimization, equity investing, fixed income, alternative investments, international markets, derivatives, and so on and so on ...
  • New Italian Cinema. A film studies class that looks at Italian movies since 2000. Has a weekly screening on Sunday night.
In addition to these courses, I am also a teaching assistant for the Economics and Financing of Journalism, a quarter-long course I would have taken as a student had the TA opportunity not arisen. Because the class wasn't offered last year, there are no second-year students who have taken it. I figured I might as well throw my hat into the ring, since I indeed dealt with the economics and financing of journalism over the summer, and that appears to have been ample qualification for the position. What breaks my heart, though, is that I was supposed to TA Employee, a first-year course, and I would have been able to do it if this journalism class had remained in Spring 2 as it was originally scheduled. But it was moved up to Spring 1, now conflicts with Employee, and I cannot do both at the same time. (I literally can't; it's against the rules.)

So that's the plan!

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