Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 5 rundown

Activity 03/27 04/0304/1004/1704/24
Intl Biz Strat 8.410.711.910.819.3
Mktg Strat 4.813.912.812.717.3
HR Mgmt 11.86.613.710.87.1
* Note that 3 hours each week is spent in class

Five weeks down; I believe the remainder of the quarter is what you would call the "home stretch." There was a lot more schoolin' to do this week. It helps to have a sense of your priorities whenever the hours jump up like this because something has to give. Knowing how things stack up makes it easier to shift your hours around as necessary.

International Business Strategy
We learned Paul Krugman's model of Monopolistic Competition, which is really cool. It explains what happens in markets as trade barriers are weakened; namely, competition increases, elasticity goes up, firms increase scale to lower costs and survive with smaller margins, and a shake-out occurs, with some marginal firms being forced to exit. On average, this benefits consumers in the market by lowering prices and increasing variety. Seriously awesome to see it all play out via a handful of simple equations.

I spent a lot of time on this class preparing for the take-home midterm, which I took yesterday. Although I generally consider midterms an exercise in cramming, I have to admit that it was really helpful preparing for this one. I spread out the prep over the course of the week, spending a few hours every day reviewing material, and I now have a pretty good grasp on what we've covered in the first half of the course (as well as a packed, hand-written cheat sheet filled with the content). Unfortunately, getting there also meant ignoring HR Management.

Marketing Strategy
I really need to spend some time going over the notes in this class. This last week we covered strategies for an established business, looking at the benefits, challenges, and differences from establishing a new business. Unfortunately, I don't have a firm handle on everything that we've covered. Hate to say it, but maybe having a midterm would have helped?

I didn't spend a lot of thoughtful time on this class this week, but I clearly spent a lot of hours on it. Why? Well...the MarkStrat simulation. My team finally saw some returns to our strategy, and although we were helped a lot by plain ol' luck, we are now in a good position for the rest of the simulation.

I volunteered to write the first draft of our second MarkStrat update, which provides an overview of our company's performance to date and strategy for the rest of the simulation. Since I'm a pretty slow writer, I spent most of Wednesday working on it (something like 8+ hours). Now we just need to do some iterations on it to get it to a good state and then submit before midnight tonight.

Human Resources Management
I had been doing a good job of reviewing all of my notes regularly until this week. Since I shifted gears to Intl Biz Strat and spent so much time on the MarkStrat update, I had to place this class on the back burner. I have a take-home midterm to work on this week though, so I will be spending a lot more time on it. Although I could see a lot of people having mixed reactions to this class, especially given its surprising foundation in economics, I am really digging it. I'm curious to see how the midterm compares to the HW, since the HW has been pretty easy so far.

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