Tag Archive: michael fern

Review: Michael Fern, Management, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business

Management 619:  Something or Other but known as:  CAPSTONE
At a glance

  • 3 unit course offered every quarter but summer
  • Workload:  Ridiculously Heavy
  • Teaching Style:  Discussion, case-based
  • Interest in students: Very High
  • Relevance to outside world: Ridiculously High

Overall Professor Rating: 4.5

Overall Course Rating: 5

Note:  Since this is the last required course in the entire program, it is one heckuva class.  It beats you down, it brings you together, it pulls you apart.  But you learn a tremendous amount from it.

About Me

I haven’t done one of these reviews in a while.  The truth is that 1) I have gotten worn down a bit by the program so I have been less motivated to write about my courses and 2) I have a bit of senioritis.  I actually am going to be walking in my commencement this Friday, so I’m easily distracted, I guess.

I started the program almost 3 years ago – March of 2007.  During the past years, I have had trouble finding good, expansive reviews of faculty and/or courses.  So I started writing these.   There are lots of sites out there that provide feedback and rates – ratemyprofessor is the most notable. The SantaClaraMBA Yahoo group also has a big database of comments and lots of additional information in its message archive. That database can be a bit hard to wade through, and the comments are short and often just link to other threads, which are themselves pretty short and superficial. Only here can I write as much as I want  🙂

I review professors from a variety of perspectives.  First, I explain the context(s) under which I took the class.  Time of year, time of day, etc.  Then I talk about the quality of the class and the professor, and finally about the professor as a person.  After all, we are trying to learn about our interactions with people, so knowing that side of a teacher is critical, too.  So these would be interactions outside the classroom, etc.  I also just write whatever it is that I think is relevant or will be helpful to others.  That is my overall goal.

The facts

I took MGMT 619 in Winter 2010, in the 7:20 section.  This was the best quarter for me, as it interfered the least with any other event at my work.  Capstone is not a class with which to be trifled, and I wanted to make sure I planned it correctly.  This is also the only course about which I warned my manager that I would “check out” at some point from my job responsibilities.  This is important – be careful about when you take Capstone.

Selecting a team is critically important for Capstone.  Unlike some other final courses for MBA programs, this is all about teamwork, rather than an individual thesis.  I received emails throughout the summer if I was available to be on a team in the Fall, and then again for the Winter.

I was lucky in that many of my classmates from my very first class – MGMT 501 – whom I knew well, considered friends, and had worked with in the past, were all taking the course at the same time.  It is true that one never knows what will happen with any team, even one composed of people whom you know.  But at the very least, this is a case of the “devil you know” being better than the devil you don’t.  And trust me – at some point, during all the stress of Capstone the devil does make an appearance.

Fern is one of 3-4 faculty in the management department that teach Capstone.  The number of sections offered depends on how many petition to take the course by a certain deadline.  For instance, there were 3 sections in the Fall, 2 in the Winter, and I think 4 in the Spring.  Some of the other faculty that teach the course include Madsen, Levehagen, and Chandy.