Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spring Classes, an overview

Other than my thesis, the class load I have signed up for this semester is pretty darn reasonable compared to previous semesters.  Instead of six classes and two seminars, I've got five classes, one of which is only in the second half of the semester.  Of those five, two specifically are required and two are needed to fill a general credit requirement.  If I needed or wanted to, I could drop the fifth, or turn it into a Pass/Fail class.  Pass/Fail is an option graduate students at MIT can choose once per semester if the class is not needed to fulfill degree requirements.

The two required LGO classes are:

  • 15.769 - Operations Strategy

This class is a full semester and is taught by Professor Charles Fine.  Sometimes it has been taught by the LGO co-director Don Rosenfield.  Prof. Fine commented at the beginning of the semester that this was one of the first classes he was asked to teach when he came to MIT over 30 years ago.  Like the way Leaders for Global Operations used to be called Leaders for Manufacturing, Operations Strategy used to be called Manufacturing Strategy.  This is primarily a case and discussion based class.


  • 15.317 - Organizational Leadership and Change

This is the half semester one, I have not started it yet, so I can't honestly say much.  I just know that as one of the final assignments for this class, we are supposed to write a 'how do you define leadership and what does it mean to you' type paper.  Too bad you can not define leadership as 'not writing papers.'

The three classes that I have elected to take are:

  • 15.068 Statistical Consulting

Between wanting more math and analysis related classes I chose this due to it's heavy...oh wait, I chose it for the professor, Arnie Barnett, first, and then I decided that what he was teaching would also be useful to me.  Seriously, read this previous post.  Even in round two, Arnie does not disappoint.  I am glad to have him bookend my LGO experience.

  • 15.398 Corporations at the Crossroads: The CEO Perspective
Described in its own syllabus as one of the 'legendary courses at Sloan', the professors have continued to live up to this attitude.  For the most part they just introduce the beginning of the two hour once a week class and then let a CEO or former CEO take over for an hour and a half or so.  How much I enjoy each class depends more on who's presenting and what the questions from students end up focusing on.

Additionally, a group of about a dozen students from the class gets to have dinner with each CEO.  In April, I, with a few other LGOs in the mix, will be having dinner with Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia.  Nokia is definitely a company that fits the "in the crossroads" description and so I'm interested in what Mr. Elop will have to say.  Previous LGOs had described this as a class they enjoyed, so between recommendations, it meeting when my other classes did and getting a to have dinner with a CEO, I figured it was worth a shot.

  • 15.518 Taxes and Business Strategy

I don't know how many other people do this, but each semester, when it comes to choosing my electives, I scour course reviews.  One thing that's interesting is that Sloan has separate grades for both the material and work of the class and for the professor.  This class managed to be highly rated on both.

So, despite my hesitations of jumping into a taxes class, it seems to have paid off.  I know I am learning material that is useful not only in a career but to my own personal finances, the class is taught by a woman, Michelle Hanlon.  Prof. Hanlon has a sense of humor and her mid-western accent is a fun reminder of where I used to live.  I was somewhat sad to see that most of what I knew about taxes was covered in the first couple lectures, but it means I'll learn more.  I am debating whether to use my pass/fail on this one though!

Additionally, for the first half of the semester, I got a spot in a PE class - Intermediate Ice Skating.

This class is taught by a NHL pro scout (no he's not looking to see if I can join the NHL, he is instead hired by a NHL team to keep track of the players on other NHL teams for possible trades).  He's Canadian and the class, for better or worse, is taught like many other MIT classes.  The only prerequisite is being comfortable with skating forwards HOWEVER over the twelve sessions we have or will be covering both forwards and backwards crossovers, pivoting/changing direction while skating, stopping, turning tightly, etc.

I have an OK time with the moves that primarily involve both skates on the ice, but things involving more balance, like crossovers, but especially turning from skating forward to skating backward all in one swoop are a little much for me to handle.  Crossovers I can do, but they're wobbly.  Still trying to figure out the switch the direction you're skating maneuver.  The class began as fun, but is definitely getting more stressful as I angst about trying to do these more challenging moves.  I wish, in many ways, I was more confident at failing or, I guess, failing dramatically.  Sometimes fear paralysis just takes over instead and then I don't make the attempt.

The amazing thing about this particular set of academic courses is that in the first half of the semester, I have classes two days a week and for the second half of the semester I will have classes three days a week.  This is advantageous yes for long weekends, but also for attending conferences (which at Sloan often seem to be all day on a Friday), working on bigger projects or attending to anything else you need to do.

All in all, I'm happy with both my selections and my schedule.  Now to make it through the end of the semester!

1 comment:

  1. MY Dream of Life to be LGO Student ...I will apply next year ..Lets See what happens :)


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