Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pre-term almost over 

Exams are done (not sure how accounting went, but I'm pretty sure I nailed marketing) and tomorrow is the last pre-term class (Stats at 8am). The rest of the week consists of two days in the Catskills for the learning team retreat, then back to Philly for a diversity workshop, and then it's the holiday weekend.

From an academic point of view, pre-term is very much about getting people to where they need to be for the start of 'term-proper'. Math camp and the math exam are about making sure that we're are equipped for the math we need to do in quantatative core courses. We also have courses in Managerial Economics (known as Mgec - pronounced as 'magic'), Financial Accounting, and Statistics, which are three of the six courses that make up the first-half of the fall semester. Depending on previous exposure to the subjects, we have the choice of doing the introductory course, which assumes no prior knowledge, or a more advanced course which serves as preparation for the waiver exam (accounting offers a mid-level course as preparation for the exam to place into the faster half-semester accounting course). I've enjoyed getting back into classroom learning. The frustration of struggling to understand concpets has been more than paid off by the satisfaction of understaning something and that 'aha!' moment when it clicks. I've found the effectiveness of the teaching a bit mixed, but I think that is at least partly due to the nature of pre-term classes, and fortunately the professor I've liked the most is the one who'll be continuing to teach us next semester.

But pre-term is about much more than formal academics. There've been a whole host of optional activities, ranging from faculty lecturing on their areas of interest, to careers focussed events, to purely social activities. A particular highlight for me was a session on high performance leadership, which is something that I'm really interested in and want to see how I can explore further during my time here. And who could forget the revelation in a 'Time Management for Wharton MBA Students' session that MBAs reort the highest level of satisfaction with their sex lives (presumably that's after graduation, because I think the time and the energy for a sex life might be in fairly short supply during the course).

Away from the formally organised activities, there's been a whole load of planned and ad hoc social events. I'm not one for large, loud parties and being out till 3am on a regular basis, but if that's your thing, you can certainly do it. I've enjoyed having dinner with people, or going to the cinema, or just hanging out. I think one of the advantages of the class being so large is that there's always someone else interested in doing what you want to do, and I haven't felt the need to do things I'm not interested in just because that was what 'everyone else' was doing. Other notable aspects have been how friendly an helpful virtually everyone is. There's very much an atmosphere of people wanting to get to know others. And on Wednesday when I was juggling accountancy revision with struggling to complete a Mgec assignement, I had one conversation that started "Can I help, I was an accountant?" then walked round the corner and had another one that began "Can I help, I was an economist?". I know that it's early days and that work pressures, stress and sleep deprivation haven't yet set it, but it is good to be in that kind of atmosphere.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Blogarama - The Blog Directory