Published Oct 7, 2005

One of the things we do a billion of here in b-school is informational interviews. The goals of these interviews are typically to learn which skills we need to broadcast in order to get into an industry, as well as make a contact in the industry who can later point us to jobs. I always try to tack on to that a few questions about how I can get the most out of the remainder of my MBA education. The guy I was speaking with on Wednesday had what I’ve come to realize is an excellent insight: there’s not enough time in an MBA to learn everything you’d like, but that first class in an area outside of your concentration will give you a lot more learning than that fifth class inside your concentration.

This stuck to me. I’m a bit disappointed with my Marketing class this term — not because it’s bad, but just because there’s a lot of overlap with what I’ve learned in the past. On the other hand, I learn about fifteen new things in every Valuations or Feasibility Analysis class period. So there’s clearly something to this statement.

Heck, I’m even learning a lot in Business Law. We just had our midterm in that class last night, and boy that test was pages of multiple-choice hypotheticals; it looked like something from the ex-WG’s law school study packets (I wouldn’t glorify it by making it sound like a law school test, but my exam was filled with obscure stuff).

I was actually quite relieved by that exam, because I’d done the practice tests in the workbook and had gotten several problems “wrong”. I put “wrong” in quotes because the workbook seems to have serious problems with English language compliance; some of these questions had awful triple or quadruple negations, non-specific pronouns that could refer to either a plaintiff, a defendant, a bystander, or, perhaps, an automobile or the law itself; and, in a remarkable accomplishment, misspelled John Rawls’s name every single time it was mentioned in the chapter on Ethics.

Now Rawls’s name was right in the textbook itself, but other things weren’t. One example: in a long excerpt of the Chinese constitution, the word “Article” was misspelled in every single article heading. That’s “Aritcle” in 32-point type. The textbook and workbook together may have cost $160 but at least I saved money since they clearly didn’t hire an editor.

All that goes to say:

  1. I’m taking an Operations course next term
  2. I really hope the text in said course is well-edited, because, if our professors won’t bother to turn out English language-compliant work product, how can we expect our graduates to?

If I were a good b-school student, I’d be able to see the business opportunity in the above sentence. Instead, I’m just going to go out and drink tonight and bemoan the collapse of Western Civilization.

1 Comment

I had that experience, actually, in my undergrad days. I found the stuff outside my major more enjoyable, largely because there was a lot more variety. As a result, I kinda put more effort and enthusiasm into my electives than into the courses that “counted”. I ended up with a noticably higher GPA in my non-major courses than in either of my two majors. :-/