My first week of classes has come to an end and I thought I'd post a little about it. But before I do, it probably makes sense to give an overview of the group of MBAs I'm here with. There are just over 220 students from over 40 countries (48, if I remember right). I think the class size is perfect. Some of the better MBA programs in the US have 1,000-2,000 students. That class size may be good for networking, but you'd never get to know too many people well. Cambridge's class is just over 100, which I think is too small. By the end of the course I should know every classmate by name, even if I can't pronounce their names. We're split up into three sections, so I have every class with the same group of about 70 students. At the end of this term our sections will be changed.
The best word to describe this week is LONG. I'm not used to sitting still and paying attention for long periods of time, and 6 classes that are 3.5 hours each, in addition to other various meetings, left me totally wiped out. At this point it looks like I have anywhere from 30-100 pages of textbook reading for each class each week, in addition to case studies, homework, and group projects. If I'm not in class, chances are I'm studying in the library.
Monday - Strategy
Richard Whittington is my Strategy professor. He's English, and pretty dang funny. The class was fast paced (which all of my classes except Finance were), and the students were involved in the discussion a great deal. I think this will be my favorite class this term, as I really enjoy learning about business strategy. At this early point in my career search, I think I'd like to work in a role where I help determine the strategy of the firm, whether it be in the business development department of a large firm, in a start-up company, or with a venture capital firm (I believe most VC firms help guide the start-ups they invest in, although I could be wrong).
Tuesday - Financial Reporting AM, Managerial Economics PM
With two classes in one day, Tuesday was a very long day. I was very excited to start my Financial Reporting class, as I feel my accounting skills are an area where I need a lot of improvement. My professor is Tomo Suzuki, a hilarious Japanese international accounting expert. He had the class moving quickly and covering a lot of material, and we were laughing almost the entire time. I think this class will be quite difficult as we are expected to be familiar with the varying accounting terms used in different countries, as well as the core accounting concepts.
By the time our afternoon session started, most of the students were already a little tired. It said a lot about our professor, Nir Vulkan, that he could keep our attention through the entire class. We went over the basics of supply and demand, and had an in-class exercise where we all started with varying amounts of pretend money and stock (the stock was valued at differing amounts pre-assinged to each student) and as we traded the prices moved towards an equilibrium. It was interesting to see supply and demand working against each other.
Wednesday - Decision Science
All I can say is wow. I haven't heard that much yelling in three hours since the last time I went to Warped Tour. My Decision Science professor, Dolores Romero-Morales, is Spanish and extremely excited about statistics. It was great, because as much as I do enjoy statistics, talking about the math that goes into stats for over three hours can be boring, but she kept our attention. Much of this class will be spent doing hands on work with spreadsheets and real-world exercises - which I'm looking forward to.
Thursday - Finance
I wish I could test out of this class and spend the time learning something new, but it's required. Not only do I already have a degree in Finance, I've used the same textbook before. Our professor, Alexander Guembel is a German, and young, but accomplished nonetheless.
Friday - Developing Effective Managers
Tim Morris is my professor for this class and I my only disappointment was that he is English, because after Thursday night I thought I had a legitimate chance of having six professor from six countries. This class focuses mainly on people's behavior within organizations. When I took a similar class to this at the University of Utah, I thought it was useless. After working at OMNI for a couple of years, I realize the importance of interacting with differing personalities. We'll learn what our personality weaknesses are, as well as how best to work with people of differing personalities.