Which QUEST Elective is Right for You?
Although spring semester classes may be the last things on our minds in the midst of studying for exams and preparing for interviews, class registration will be here before you know it. Registration appointments for Spring 2016 have already been released on Testudo, so it’s a good time to start thinking ahead!
In addition to the three required courses (190H, 390H, and 490H), all QUEST students are required to take two electives to successfully complete the program curriculum. You can find a list of electives here. QUEST students are also required to submit an updated course plan each semester, outlining the classes they plan to take in upcoming semesters.
It may seem a bit overwhelming to decide which QUEST electives are right for you. We all know about the QUEST-only electives: the mentoring class (BMGT/ENES397: Mentoring Design and Quality Teams), the study abroad opportunity in Asia (BMGT438Q Saigon and Hong Kong: From Emergent to Developed – A Mix of Markets), the Silicon Valley trip (BMGT438G/ENES489Q: Special Topics in Operations Management: Design and Innovation in Silicon Valley), and the Scoping class (BMGT/ENES491: Defining Consulting and Innovation Projects), but there are many other electives that can even fulfill major requirements that I’d suggest looking into.
I asked three QUEST students about electives they have taken or are currently taking that they found enjoyable. Read on to gain some insight on their experiences!
BMGT332: Operations Research for Management Decisions with Dr. Bruce Golden
The course is about introducing students to operations and operations research and getting students to think critically and analytically about news and decisions made in the future. For instance, the class analyzes the Berwyn Bank case study, a conceptually difficult case that is the baseline of operations research. Techniques learned in the class include linear programming, transportation and assignment models, Markov processes, and queuing models. It integrates operations research with managerial decision making.
Ananth Srivatsan (Q23), Computer Engineering, Junior
“I really like the analytical part of this class. Because its so math-based and the scientific method is a huge part of the way he runs the class, even when something seems open-ended, there’s typically a specific and understandable answer. I think I am learning a lot more about making systematic and statically based analysis and decisions, which is probably a useful skill to have.”
ENCE320: Introduction to Project Management with Professor Scott Macrae
Although there is a business version of this course, engineering students may be interested in taking the engineering version, where students will learn the fundamentals of project management and gain analytical skills for the management component in engineering projects. Some of these skills include economic analysis, budgeting, life cycle costing, and project control. Students will gain applicable insight as project managers, as the course culminates in a hands-on project assignment.
Ben Seibert (Q24), Civil Engineering, Junior
“My favorite part about the course was that I got to work with a type on an actual project. It took a lot of coordination and project management techniques which were very useful.”
CMSC434: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction with Professor Jon Froehlich
This interesting course focuses on the human component of technology. It examines the way technology is perceived, used, and adopted by people. It applies design processes, guidelines, and research to develop interfaces that focus on the voice of the customer and user experience. In terms of the class, students will build both low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes using graphic editors and programming environments such as Visual Basic and Java.
Enoch Hsiao (Q21), Computer Science, Senior
“My favorite part about the course was really how it focused not on computers and technology, but on people. Computer science courses traditionally focus heavily on concepts and the implementation of those concepts, but in CMSC434 we focused an incredible amount of time and energy into figuring out how people think and how they react to technology. The prototyping and testing practices we learned aligned perfectly with QUEST principles.”