The Road Thus Far

I will be revising and/or revisiting this post from time to time.  The goal is to go over what classes I’ve taken at the Leavey School of Business and why I’ve taken them when I did.  Perhaps a useful roadmap for others.  Perhaps not.

Some facts – I started in Spring 2007, and am pursuing concentrations in Managing People and IT, Leadership, and Entreprenuership.  I am also going to take some classes in the International Business track.  The concentrations don’t really mean anything – it’s unlikely someone will hire you to manage an IT department because you took the first of the concentrations I indicated.  But it helps guide you through your electives, to be sure.

In previous posts, I have talked about how I approached my choice in courses intially, and how that has subsequently changed.  This post takes it a step back and perhaps upward – looking at why I took courses in a particular order.  Some of the reasons are not mind-blowing – right professor, right time, needed a few more units, etc.  The ones that start to show up  more as you get later in my time at Leavey are the opportunistic ones.  Taking a class because I managed to get in.  That’s where the electives really get interesting.

This post is kind of long so I’m breaking it here

Spring, 2007

*    Accounting 301 (Paisley)
*    Management 501 (Hall)

These are among probably the first 3 classes that all students start with when they begin the MBA program (OMIS 353 is the other one).  This particular schedule had me in class 4 nights a week.  However, I really wanted to take Accounting with Professor Chris Paisley (review forthcoming), who got rave reviews everywhere I could find.  I was concerned that I would not be good at accounting and while he is also described as being very difficult, I felt it the right choice.  I think it paid off.

As for 501, it was luck of the draw that I ended up in Professor Hall’s, though I am very happy that I did.  I have not done the review of that class yet, either, but I really enjoyed the more research/academic approach that he has to his course material, and he was very open to additional discussions outside of class.  I feel I got a solid grounding in management and, more importantly, it was a good start in that department.

Summer 2007

*    Management 505 (Kelley)
*    OMIS 353 (Starbird)

The third of the first three classes that most students take is OMIS 353 – basically statistics.  This, along with MGMT 501 and ACTG 301, are required for many other courses (though others are critical if you go down a particular path – see MGMT 503 below).  I knew I had to take OMIS 353 by the end of my second quarter, which meant the summer.  I was taking it regardless of professor, though I ended up with a much better grounding in regression and a better feel for the material with Starbird than I think others did with other professors.

Management 505, which is Business & the Law, essentially, isn’t required for anything in particular but it seemed like a fun class and it fit the schedule.  I had heard that Kelley was the right professor to take and it seemed like a good idea to take another management course while I was still finding my groove in the program.  It threw things off a little bit later on but I had fun during the class.

So Summer 2007 was pretty much about getting OMIS 353 out of the way, regardless of professor, so that I was set up properly for the next several terms.  505 was just icing.

Fall 2007

*    Management 503 (DR Palmer) <’p=287>
*    Finance 451 (Collins)

For me, since I wanted to follow the management track for two of my concentrations, 503 was a must.  I had to get that out of the way in order to take any of the other courses.  In hindsight, taking 503 in the summer would have been better than 505, but it did not have a huge impact on the following quarters in terms of timing.  However, as I did not enjoy my 503 instructor, this did still end up hurting me, in terms of the quality of my education.  The lesson is that, if you’re thinking you’re going to go down a particular track, find out which are the required courses, and find the right professors and take them then.  Otherwise you’re just setting yourself up for more pain.

There remained two tracks which I had not yet started – Marketing and Finance.  The former’s first course, 551, offered 3 professor options.  The first two are supposedly terrible (I did not take them, so that’s just based on comments from others.  The third only taught in the summer.  So I thus postponed marketing and started off with finance.  To boot, Professor Collins is a solid professor that really cares about whether you learn or not so it was a good choice.

Winter 2008

*    Finance 455 (Chacko)
*    Management 512 (Shavers)
*    Management 538 (Tep)
*    IDIS 701 (Shibles/Posner)
*    IDIS 705 (Koch/Hansen)

This is the quarter when I really started to take courses because of the professor or because it was available and one that I had been wanting to take.  Obviously, that’s why I took five courses (11 units – two of them were one-unit courses).

I really wanted to take FNCE 455 with Chacko.  While I was nervous about a completely case-based course and I was uncertain of my own skills at finance, I felt that taking that course with that professor was important.  So that locked me in there.

While MGMT 512 and 538 are really different courses, they were both ones that I intended to take anyway, the workload seemed reasonable, and I had managed to get into two electives despite being only in my fourth quarter.  I didn’t want to look the gift horse in the mouth so I stuck with those.  And, of course, I had heard good things about both professors and wanted to take those courses from them while they were teaching them.

IDIS 705 is a required, 1 unit course which is almost impossible to get into.  Usually, until it’s your last quarter, when you register you are #55 on the waitlist or something ridiculous like that.  I happened to check the class enrollments right before the term started, saw an open spot, and took it.  This is a course that, as far as I know, is always taught by the same professors but, again, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity.

MGMT 701 is the one course I probably should have left off.  Shibles and Posner, thus far, have taught it all along and it’s been offered every quarter.  It’s also a bit more trouble than I think it is worth, because of all the lectures one must attend.  At the same time, with Posner stepping down as Dean of the school and the possibility that he might take time away, maybe it was good that I took the course when I did.  One caution – I now have this random 1 unit dangling out there that throws all of my course progress projections off.  I now need to take another 2 one unit classes to make it a 3 unit equivalent, or take 2 full classes.

So none of these courses were ‘must haves’ except FNCE 455, but I had reached the point where electives were a good thing to take when they came up.  Some came up, and I took them.  This is one of the key things – the required courses come up on a regular basis (though with the new schedule you have to plan carefully).  But if an elective you want to take is available, you have to be opportunistic and be ready to go for it.  Taking MGMT 503 when I did meant that the entire MGMT track was open to me.  Similar with OMIS 353 and ACTG 301, both of which are required for several quantitative classes.  Getting all of those out of the way meant I had a lot of options open to me.

Spring 2008

*    Management 524 (Mank)
*    OMIS 355 (Yu)
*    Econ 401 (Shin)

So opportunity and selecting the right professor all were a factor in Spring quarter.  I actually didn’t really want to take three classes – too much with my workload.  However, I had heard OMIS 355 with Yu was an easy workload and after my troubles in FNCE 455, where I really felt out of my element, I wanted to take it a bit easier.  Also, the other main 355 professor, Collins (with whom I had FNCE 451), is supposedly really hard.  So in this case, I was trying to select the right professor, though 1) Yu actually taught it several quarters in a row so I wasn’t really locked in and 2) it was even easier than I had expected, almost to the point of being a bit sad.

Econ 401 was with Shin because I didn’t want to have Heineke.  I obviously did not take 401 with both, but all the stories I hear is that Heineke is incredibly difficult, possibly for the purpose of being difficult and tough.  I felt I would enjoy it more with a different professor, and indeed I did like Shin as a teacher.  He’s kind of a quirky guy, but this was the quarter to take it with someone other than Heineke.  It’s either spring with Shin or summer with McAllister, and I had other plans for summer.

Finally, on the opportunistic side, MGMT 524 was available, Mank was supposed to be (and was) a great teacher, and it would slot in nicely as a heavy-workload class to balance OMIS 355 and give me an overall even load.  524 also moved me along on the Managing IT concentration (which I should be finishing in the next couple of quarters).

Summer 2008

*    Marketing 551 (Corio)
*    Management 516 (Moberg)

This was just this past quarter, and my reasons for taking these particular classes are the same for both – they are only offered during the summer.  MKTG 551 is offered by other professors during the year, but I had heard less than stellar remarks of the other professors (again, I have not taken them, so I am not commenting on the accuracy of those remarks).  I wasn’t a huge fan of Corio in the end (see the linked review) but taking it during the summer was the plan, and I had mapped out the previous quarters accordingly.  I also knew that this meant that I wouldn’t be taking MKTG 553 until at least Fall 2008 (and it turns out to be at least Winter 2009) and that those electives, should I desire to enroll in them, would be similar unavailable.  But so it goes.

Moberg only teaches 516 during the summer, and Organizational Politics is a class I was not going to miss.  And pushing it off until next summer would not do for me.  So that’s that.

Fall 2008

*    IDIS 612
*    IDIS 696

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