Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lucky # 100

How apt that my 100th post is possibly my last. Nah.

Anyhoos, for the cool news: I got nominated for Clear Admit's Best of Blogging awards. If you think that I've been helpful or interesting in any way, please mosey on over and vote for me.

I've been off the radar for the last two weeks for two major reasons. 1 - Final exams. These occurred over last weekend, and was really the only time in which I didn't do any "company research" (i.e. playing video games). I do have the results back from three of my 5 classes - A's all around, which makes me happy.

Second reason was a plethora of interviews. I was flown out for an onsite interview directly after my finals, and any travel to the West Coast is a good 48-hour trip. On top of that, I was doing my final exam grading as a TA, so it was a busy time.

I still have one final project left to go, but it's not a Tepper class (it's Game Design), and that's due on Monday.

One of my group members for this class asked me yesterday what Tepper courses I should recommend he take. This was not an unfamiliar question - I had been asked this about three times already by other students in this program. I had spent some time thinking on the answer for this also. How does one boil down the experience into the essence of a couple of classes?

The first answer was easy - entrepreneurship classes. These classes show businesses on the small scale, AND how to sell yourself. While I know some people scoff at the idea of going to school to learn small business, it's pretty valuable in terms of how, holistically, everything fits together. Small businesses and startups don't have the luxury of specialized functions like larger corporations do; therefore, a class on finance or marketing doesn't provide the most bang for the buck like entrepreneurship classes do.

The second class I recommended was the introductory OB class, I believe we call it "Managing Teams and People" or something like that. The simple fact for this recommendation: no matter what someone does, they're always going to be working in an organization. Work takes up more of our time than any other activity. Especially for graduate-level students, there is also going to be a heavy chance that one will be in charge of people. So, what is the best way to get them to do what you want them to do? People management is almost always overlooked in terms of competencies and education - there's this feeling that it's a natural thing because we interact with people all our lives. But, the thing is, interacting with people is easy; managing and motivating people is something that needs to be learned. And since the U.S is moving to a intellectual capital-based marketplace, it's no longer about the product but about the people creating the product.

Coming into my MBA, I've had alumni all tell me that their biggest regret was not taking all the OB courses. With the interview I just had, there was a huge emphasis on getting along with people - there was no mention at all on my technical skills and capabilities. (the presumption was that I am a graduate of CMU, therefore that in itself tells people how smart I am). I've always seen the value in this area. I know that some people think the MBA is pretty worthless; frankly, some of them are. But I feel the value is in the education I received about working with people, both in the classroom and out.

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