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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Classes 

As promised, something about the formal education side of things.

The first year is almost exclusively taken up with the core curriculum, which is pretty comprehensively explained on the website, so I won't go into further details here. Each of the two semesters is split in half to form a total of four quarters, and the majority of classes are only a quarter long, which is going to make for a pretty intense learning experience. Certainly there's practically no time to catch up if you fall behind on anything.

This quarter my classes consist of Financial Accounting, Statistics, Managerial Economics (Mgec), Leadership and Teamwork, and Corporate Finance (which is a semester long course). The first of two marketing courses also runs this quarter, but I've waived out of it. In academic terms, I'm expecting this to be the most challenging of the first year's quarters just because the majority of it is new to me. I've done nothing in the realms of Finance or Economics before and have had limited exposure to statistics, whereas a lot of the areas coming up later in the year I've already covered to some extent. Of course, by the time I get to those recruiting will have kicked in, which will provide additional challenges. Looking at things now, I'm feeling reasonably comfortable about my ability, in an absolute sense, to cope with what I'm expected to learn, the challenge is just in juggling time to spend on learning it. A six week time frame means that homeworks, projects and exams have to be tightly squashed in, and there's not much opportunity for niceties like making sure that deadlines in different subjects don't come on top of each other.

At least I'm feeling positive about all the courses, which is more than I could say this time last week. I hated Mgec during pre-term. It all seemed very conceptual, and I couldn't quite grasp what was going on or why it mattered. It didn't help that the professor we had for pre-term didn't seem particulalrly engaged or interested in making sure we were following him as he scawled equations over the blackboard. Thankfully the professor for the main course is very different. I came out of Thursday morning's class feeling interested and excited, and with a clear picture of why this stuff was useful. It probably helped that I aalso came out of the class financially better off. The professor takes the view that as economic decisions in the real world are about real financial profit and loss then economic decision in the classroom should offer that too. The homework problem had been about whether an investment was worth making, and we were given the opportunity to say if we'd make the investment and what pricing structure we'd use, and then invest $10 in it and receive the appropriate return based on our pricing decision. Four of us took him up on the offer, with two of us making money and two losing it. A class that's interesting and pays for lunch can't be bad.

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