Friday, April 1, 2011

First impressions of the new schedule

In this last quarter, I only have class on 2 days of the week, and I can already see that there are advantages and disadvantages to it.

On the positive side, having so much uninterrupted "free" time is amazing if you are working on anything outside of school. I know that soon enough I'll have to dice it up for team meetings, but even then, I expect to have a lot of flexibility this quarter. I've already started putting it to good use. For example, today I met with Jenn, a 2010 alum that is working on an online MBA lifestyle magazine, to throw around some ideas, and tomorrow I'm going to Product Camp Chicago, a product marketing "unconference."

On the negative side, if you aren't involved in a lot of school extracurriculars (I'm not), then it is kind of a bummer to go so long without seeing your friends at school. Again, great if you have a time-demanding project that you are working on, but not so great from the interacting-with-people perspective. Just a few days ago, I ran into one of my fellow KWESTees that I hadn't seen in something like a year. She summed it up nicely when she remarked "I didn't know you had long hair."

As far as classes go, it looks like I got lucky this quarter with my professors. They all seem to be very colorful, which is particularly helpful for classes that are either in the morning or at night. They also seem very passionate about their content, but I've come to take that as a given.
  • International Business Strategy - The professor has been laying out the course road map this  week, and I can't really say I have a feel for the class yet. We've covered a lot of ground already from 10,000 feet, including Spulber's Star Analysis framework, but we won't start diving into anything in detail until next week. If anything though, I've already come away with a confirmation of how much I don't know about international markets. Fingers crossed that I can change that.
  • Human Resources Management - This class has been a big surprise so far. I was expecting it to be a qualitative analysis of HR practices, but it looks like it is going to have a big quant component (nothing crazy like calculus mind you). That's because the class relies on tools from microeconomics to assess HR options. The first article we had to read was Porter's What is Strategy, and it set us up to discuss how the HR strategy complements and fits with your overall business strategy. 
  • Marketing Strategy - So far, this has been one of those classes where I spend the bulk of the time either trying to resist, or giving in to, an ear-to-ear grin. Given that my first marketing class was the same way, it feels like the ideal way to cap things off. What's made the class so fun? The professor is very colorful and witty, and he has managed to get a lot of class participation so far. We didn't have much work this week, but that should all change once we dive into the quarter-long simulation.

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