Friday, May 6, 2011

Journalist completes MBA, blogs

And with one hastily written nine-page paper, followed by an even more hastily written five-page paper, I can now check "Get an MBA" off my to-do list. Holy frijoles, I am done.

Done! Not kinda done, but done-done. Academically, at least. Despite the rush, I think I went out on some pretty solid notes, and I'm proud of the work I've been able to crank out this week. This is one of those times I'm glad I used to write things on deadline for a living; you never know when that'll come in handy.

This is a weird feeling. Graduate school seemed to be a full-speed-ahead train, and now it feels like it just evaporated into the air. I'm looking at a binder and a notebook I no longer need, and evidence strewn around of several days of intensity ... text books, papers, empty glasses, pens, But now I can, you know, take a breath and clean up! This will be an overly dramatic characterization, but it's like in the movies when someone's spouse dies and they have to clean out the closet. I'll be cleaning out my MBA closet this weekend, I suppose -- all the evidence I did this. And I'll be separating what to keep from what to dump.

To extend my last post, where I summarized the three classes I had finished, I'll do the same for the two I wrapped up today. I have time before I need to shower and get ready for our celebratory class dinner at the Lawn Club!

Behavioral Perspectives on Management. This course looked at human behavior and contrasted it with management theory, for the main punchline that we should rely on evidence, not instinct, when making decisions. We discussed biases, heuristics, chance, emotions, context, mental accounting, and loads of other things, and ended on happiness. Our professor, Joe Simmons, has a psychology and marketing background and is very interested in controlled studies, so most of the lectures were heavy on the results of those studies. Then it was up to us, through our short papers called "application assignments" as well as through other papers, to apply these studies and academic readings to real life. In a lot of ways, this was my favorite class, and I actually did every reading all semester, which is quite a feat. Our final paper was supposed to be a long application of course concepts to a policy or program we would like to develop or change. I invented a behaviorally focused restaurant with a totally new way of ordering, eating and paying. I would be more detailed, but I actually think it's a billion-dollar idea, so I'm going to keep it for now.

Navigating Organizations. All my classes this spring were a semester long except this one, which was only second quarter. But we covered a lot in that short time. The professor, Cade Massey, who also co-taught our Negotiations class in the core, used an enormous variety of materials to teach us about power, networks, influence and stark realities about how companies really operate. His goal was to teach us about how to rise the ranks, either so we could do so, or so we could notice when others are trying to do so. This was a great course I've highly recommended to friends in the class below me. Especially with me about to enter new waters as a consultant, these are topics I will encounter and be glad to know more about.

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