May 10th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Dual Degree, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
Yesterday was my final class of the first year of my MBA program. So far I’ve taken 13 classes for 26 credits: Introduction to Financial Accounting, Data Models and Decisions, Financial Management, Marketing Management, Leadership and Teamwork, Managerial Economics and Public Policy, Strategic Management, Managerial Accounting, Managing Digital Business Markets, Operations Management, Creativity for Business Leaders, Consumer Behavior and Understanding Organizational Change.
To complete my MBA-MPP dual degree program, I need to take an additional 40 credits. I’ll be able to knock out three of those credits this summer when I take my first policy course, Macroeconomics and Policy Analysis. Next fall, I’ll take my final MBA core course, The Global Economic Environment, and four more policy course, Political Analysis, Moral Dimensions of Public Policy, Public Management and Leadership, and Foundations of Social Policy. I’ll also likely be taking my first three-credit course as part of The Smith Experience. (I will find out about Smith Experience offers on Monday.)
It’s possible that, except for the six credits of The Smith Experience I need to take, The Global Economic Environment could be my last MBA course. The MBA-MPP program includes a total of 66 credits, and I must take at least 30 in each program. Adding the nine additional MBA credits I need to take to the 26 I have already completed puts me at 35, leaving 31 for my MPP degree. One variable: It’s possible that one of my Smith Experience programs could count towards the MPP Project Course I am required to take, or vice versa. If it’s the former, then it’s very unlikely I’ll be taking any additional MBA courses because I’ll need to take an additional MPP course to reach 30 credits. If it’s the latter, then I may have room to fit in an additional MBA elective that catches my eye.
April 30th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
The only core class I am currently taking is Operations Management. Like some of the other classes I’ve taken, such as Understanding Organizational Change, this class involves an online simulation. What’s interesting about this simulation is that it is a week-long, 24-hour simulation.
My team, cranberries, has spent most of the simulation in the top five of the team standings.
Though details of the simulation aren’t particularly interesting (we have to manage the operations of a fictional technology company through a four-step process), the simulation itself is quite addicting. On multiple occasions, I have found myself frequently refreshing my team’s simulation page, tracking our progress and anticipating when we could take our next action.
The key to the simulation is to expand the plant’s capacity to address bottlenecks, while also making sure that your team has enough inventory to meet demand. The simulation began on day 50 of operations, and my team noticed that the plant had run out of inventory at times during the first 49 days. So, one of the first steps my team took was to increase our inventory repurchase point, yet we briefly ran out of inventory early in the simulation, forcing us to further raise the repurchase point.
So far, my team has been very successful in implementing our plan; we’ve purchased two new machines, which has relieved all bottlenecks and reduced lead times to the point where we can charge the highest possible price for our goods. Going forward, it seems to be just a matter of optimizing our inventory repurchases to keep the associated costs minimal, while also making sure we never run out of inventory.
April 12th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
One thing I remember about my undergraduate experience as a Journalism major is how little difference there was between my required courses and my electives. The electives available at the journalism school generally built upon the skills learned in the core courses. So, my journalism electives had names like “Feature Writing” and “Advanced Editing.”
Required tools for “Creativity for Business Leaders” include crayons and an anti-stress ball. (Photo / Peter Haldis)
However, so far in my MBA experience there has been a vast difference between the core courses and the electives I’ve taken. The core courses, whether quantitative or qualitative, are primarily aimed at building skills, whether that’s calculating a company’s operating profit or determining what a company’s future strategy should be. It’s all based in systematic thinking.
But the electives I’ve taken have enabled me to exercise intuitive thinking. The most prominent of these courses is Creativity for Business Leaders. So far in this course, we’ve created name tags using crayons; constructed mascots for our class teams; designed advertisements for fictional businesses, such as pet dating websites; and searched for inspiration from magazines we’d otherwise never read. My choices for the last assignment were “Dive Training,” a magazine for beginning scuba divers, and “Quilter’s World,” “the magazine for today’s quilter.”
April 4th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Dual Degree, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I am a dual-degree student who is a candidate for a Master of Public Policy in addition to pursuing an MBA. So, although I need to complete a few more MBA credits, the bulk of my coursework in the 2013-14 academic year will be taken in the School of Public Policy.
This dichotomy has made putting my schedule together next fall an interesting experience. Just as with my MBA, my first semester of policy coursework will be focused on core credits. But unlike the seven-week MBA courses, policy courses last an entire semester. In addition, policy courses are held once per week for two-and-a-half hours, whereas MBA courses are twice per week for one hour and 50 minutes.
Fortunately, there are two elements that have introduced flexibility into my scheduling. First, due to my MBA coursework, there are two MPP core courses that I do not have to take. Second, there are several sections of each MPP core course to choose from.
As of now, I have registered for six courses for next fall: My remaining MBA core course, The Global Economic Environment; four MPP core courses; and one MPP elective. Like all MBA core courses, The Global Economic Environment is a one-term course, so there will be a huge hole in my schedule when that class ends; on Mondays my first class will be at 4:15 p.m., and on Wednesdays I won’t have class at all.
March 15th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Dual Degree, Journalism, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
I still have one term left in the first year in my MBA experience, but much of my focus has shifted to a summer internship. As an MBA student who comes from journalism and is looking for utilize his MBA there, I have focused my attention on MBA internship opportunities within the industry. One downside to focusing on this area is that most journalism MBA interns are selected shortly before the end of the school year. So, while many of my Smith colleagues already their internships lined up, several of the ones I’ve applied to are still accepting résumés.
The upside is that my journalism experience should give me some advantage. I recently joined a LinkedIn group called Journalist MBA’s. I’m one of five members of the group. The third link returned in a Google search for “Journalism MBA” is one of my previous posts on this blog. In other words, there don’t appear to be many MBA students with journalism backgrounds. Many of the positions I applied to merely request that applicants have “an interest” in journalism; I have seven years of experience.
As a dual-degree student, I also have to start preparing for next fall, including registering for my public policy courses. Although I will have finished my MBA electives by the end of this year, I still have one core course I need to complete, and I need to finish my Smith Experience coursework. So, I will be taking coursework next year at Smith and the School of Public Policy. What’s interesting about this is that, while the MBA program operates under a term schedule, my Master of Public Policy courses will be semester-long. Having a schedule of courses of varying lengths will be an interesting new experience for me.
March 8th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. 1 Comment.
This week is the last week of classes of the third term of my first year as an MBA student. After returning to school from spring break, I’ll begin my final three classes of the year: Consumer Behavior, Creativity for Business Leaders and Operations Management. Two of those classes are electives, but the only elective I’ve taken so far is Understanding Organizational Change.
The centerpiece of Understanding Organizational Change was a computer simulation for which the class was divided into groups to implement a change at a fictional company called GlobalTech. The company needed to transition from a government contractor to a commercial company, but there were varying levels of support and agreement among the employees. Some saw the need for the change, others felt it was unnecessary. These feelings generally ran among departmental lines, and several of the departments distrusted each other.
Thus, before beginning the change simulation, my team had to engage in rigorous planning, as well as “interviewing” GlobalTech employees to determine who were the change’s champions, helpers, bystanders and resisters.
One key part of the planning was making sure the change steps were implemented in the correct order. For example, my team ultimately had to fire a GlobalTech employee who had become a significant resistor (complete with an animation of him being escorted out the building). This action significantly increased our buy-in score. But, as we found later, if we had fired the employee early in the change simulation, it would’ve had a negative impact. Because the overall buy-in was much lower at that point and the employee was less-established as a resistor, firing him at that time would’ve lowered company morale and had a negative effect on our buy-in score.
Interestingly, although our change plan was flawed (we didn’t select the ideal change team), we learned the importance of sticking to our original plan. The only time we took a negative step was also the only time we deviated from our plan. Despite this, we achieved an overall change buy-in of 63 percent, highest in the class.
February 15th, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Journalism, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
In my last post, I discussed how my technology selective course, Managing Digital Business Markets, is the first course that directly relates to my experience coming from the journalism industry. Since then, my professor has introduced a few concepts that shed light on the struggles of the journalism industry.
One of these concepts is the Digital Dime. This idea is as its name implies: Online versions of traditional media are worth 10 cents on the dollar. It’s no wonder that so many newspapers and magazines have had to close up shop in recent years if the transition to an online product has cost them 90 percent of their revenue. As a journalist, I was certainly aware that media publications have been unable to achieve the same levels of subscription and advertising revenue online that they achieved with their print products, but the Digital Dime exemplifies just how devastating this has been to the industry.
The second concept is one that is probably even more challenging for the journalism industry: The availability of free information online has engendered an idea among consumers that information should be inherently free.
In journalism, there have been two debating schools of thought about online publications. One says that publications need to charge for their online versions, as they’re devaluing their products by giving away access for free. The other school of thought argues that people are unwilling to pay for an online newspaper, that they will only pay for sources of specialized information that provides a clear financial benefit to them, such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. The implication that information should be free seems to support the second school of thought.
What’s interesting is that, in the past year or so, an increasing number of online publications have made the move to an online subscription model, likely out of desperation. So, it will be interesting to see if this is just another step toward those publications’ demise, or if they are able to alter the consumer mindset that online information should be free.
January 31st, 2013 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Journalism, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. 1 Comment.
This week is my second week of classes for the spring semester, and this term is the first time I was able to select which classes I am in and when I am taking them. In the first semester, Smith MBA students are assigned to a track. All seven courses taken in the first semester are required core courses, and students are assigned to a course section based on which track they are in.
However, the second semester a mix of core and elective courses. Thus, students are free to make their own schedules and select whichever course sections they want. I’ve signed up for three core courses and three electives for the spring semester. As I’ve discussed previously, the electives I picked are Creativity for Business Leaders, Consumer Behavior and Understanding Organizational Change. The core courses I am taking are Managerial Accounting, Operations Management and my technology selective, Managing Digital Business Markets.
As an MBA student coming from the journalism industry, Managing Digital Business Markets is the first class I have taken that significantly relates to my previous experience. As I’ve written before, I decided to pursue an MBA to enable myself to understand the business side of the journalism industry and the problems that are plaguing it. These problems were discussed on the first day of my Managing Digital Business Markets class, with my professor showing us the video below:
December 19th, 2012 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Dual Degree, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. No Comments.
With my first semester of classes and my finals complete this week, I am now about to begin an unusual experience, particularly for someone who was last a full-time student in spring 2004: One month of no work or school.
As an undergrad, I would generally treat this break as a respite from everything academic and career-related, though I did continue my internship through winter break my senior year. However, as a first-year MBA student, I can’t even think of taking such an approach to my winter break. This is the time to make sure the line between my academic experience and my post-MBA career is clearly drawn. In other words, it is important that, when I return to Smith at the end of January, I either have an internship in place or have several solid leads.
I am a dual-degree student who will be graduating, at the earliest, in winter 2014, so, unlike most of my peers, I’ll have two shots at an internship before returning to the full-time workforce. But this does not mean that this winter I should haphazardly apply to every opportunity I come across and take whatever I can get. Rather, I need to take full advantage of my extra internship opportunity and use it to get a clearer idea of how I want (and don’t want) to use my MBA.
I already have a relatively focused idea of how I want to use my MBA. As such, I need to be very thorough and precise in how I choose which internship opportunities to explore. The path of least resistance may lead me to an internship that I don’t enjoy or doesn’t have any correlation with my plans for the future. And then I would’ve wasted my extra internship opportunity.
December 11th, 2012 by Peter Haldis under Classes, Journalism, MBA, Robert H. Smith School of Business. 1 Comment.
This week is my last week of classes for the second term of my MBA. All seven of my classes so far have been core classes. As of now, I’m signed up for six classes for the third and fourth terms this spring and four of those classes are electives.
The electives I signed up for are:
- Creativity for Business Leaders: This is a large blind spot for me. My mind tends to be very analytical and I tend to work through processes using the path of least resistance rather than trying to think up new and creative solutions. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing; there is no need to make things needlessly complicated just to embrace your creativity. But, if I hit a wall through the analytical process, I don’t have the creative resources to draw from to find a different solution.
- Consumer Behavior: As I’ve discussed previously, one of the primary reasons I elected to pursue a Smith MBA is that I want to work on problems facing the journalism industry. One such problem is monetizing media in an online world. With so many options for online advertising, newspapers and magazines aren’t able to replace their print advertising with online advertising, and websites like Craigslist have eroded revenues from classified advertisements. Except for websites for specialized media like The Wall Street Journal, media has struggled to convince users to pay for online content. So, the question becomes: What are consumers willing to pay for? I’m hopeful that a class in Consumer Behavior will enable me to develop some ideas toward answering this question.
- Understanding Organizational Change: Again back to journalism. There’s no doubt that the entire structure of media organizations has changed and needs to change. It’s also a very stubborn industry, where people believe there is a right way to do things and those who suggest otherwise don’t understand the business. I have often been one of those people. But the industry has reached the point where organizations must change or cease to be relevant (or in existence). So it is important for people within the industry to figure out ways to adapt without abandoning or compromising the tenants of the industry.