In a little more than 2 days, I’ll officially be a Duke MBA grad!!!
I looked back at my previous blog posts and noticed that I haven’t posted anything related to the WEMBA program since Term 4!
Well, the simple reason is that Term 5 was action packed and didn’t include the usual break. Along with several trips (including 2 weeks in Asia), my ability to blog was severely impaired… 🙂
With that being said, Saturday is THE day! I’m so excited to be finally graduating and moving on to the next stage of life, whatever that may bring!
What happened? My plan to blog each class weekend seriously fell apart this term. I think there just wasn’t enough time….or I didn’t *make* time.
At any rate, here’s the scoop…
Term 4 Courses:
- Corporate Strategy
- Organizational Design (Leadership)
- Operations Management
This is by far the most interesting term for me personally. The Leadership course will help anyone and the other two are directly relevant to what I’d like to do after the program.
It’s hard to believe that the end of core courses is now in sight. In one more month, 6 electives will be the only thing standing between me and and a Duke MBA!
In case you’re wondering…yes, I’m still alive (barely)!
I survived the most difficult term of the MBA program for me personally and have definitely taken full advantage of the break following Term 3 final exams.
At this point, all I’d like to say about the term is that it’s over. I learned a lot and am ready to move on to the greener pastures of Term 4!
What can I say?
The fact that I’ve been unable to blog about any of these weekends individually speaks for itself.
This has without a doubt been the most difficult term of the program so far. It’s especially tough since it coincides with the holidays (I’m *so* far behind)!
Throughout the past couple of months, there has been a nonstop progression of team assignments in both Managerial Accounting and Macroeconomics. About the time I was ready to come up for air, however, midterms hit in all three classes. I’m happy to report that all of them are finally over (the last one was yesterday) and it looks like I’ll finally get a few days away from it all to enjoy the holidays.
Bring on the leisure time…I’m more than ready to recharge!
The 3 week break between terms went by WAY too fast!
This weekend started on Thursday (a bonus day) with a great guest lecture by Martha Rogers, co-author of Return on Customer. The lecture was optional but I’m definitely glad I attended. It provided valuable insights into understanding the value of a customer and using this to make decisions.
Thursday afternoon was dedicated to “team switching” activities. First, I said goodbye to my old team (Bruce, Chad, Holly, Karthik and Manish) and then met my new team (Baoshu, Chris, Michael and Reneta). It was definitely hard for the old team to “end” our time together, but such is life…new relationships are inevitable!
Friday it was time to meet the new professors and experience Term 3 classes – Managerial Accounting, Global Financial Management and Global Economic Environment of the Firm. It’s still early to tell, but Global Financial Management course may be the hardest course this term.
This was definitely a transition weekend – a new team and new courses.
Final exams for Term 2 are now a thing of the past!
Decision Models featured a take home final that took me over 30 hours to complete, but was very interesting (one problem each – decision trees, Monte Carlo simulation, and optimization). I learned a lot while working on these exam problems and I would say that overall, it was my favorite course this term.
The exams for Marketing and Managerial Economics were given in class. The Marketing final was entirely based on a specific case handed out two weeks prior to the exam (for team discussion). It covered most of the main concepts taught throughout the course, applied directly to the specific case and was a work of art (read: not easy)! The Economics final was about what I expected, very similar to the format of the mid-term exam.
This was the big “wrap-up” weekend before Term 2 final exams!
New material was still presented on Friday and Saturday, but the dominant theme (at least from my perspective) was course completion.
Our team handed in its remaining official assignments (a Decision Models optimization case and a Marketing case focused on market research). We then completed an in-class OPEC cartel exercise in Economics that enabled us to see how cartels operate to collude for the highest overall profits.
On Friday night, we had a per diem night, which meant that everyone was given cash ($30) to eat (and drink) off site! Our team went to Fowler’s where we hung out on the patio with some great food and wine to share the great evening together.
After Fowler’s, we walked across the street to Brightleaf Square where we found a table in front of Satisfaction’s to share a couple of *free* Red Stripes (in exchange for a sing-along with the Red Stripe guy) before heading back to Fuqua for the night.
Today started off gloomy as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto swept through the area (light rain/wind). The morning began with a discussion of optimization in Decision Models (using an Excel add-in called Solver). We then discussed pricing strategies in Economics before lunch and finished the day with an introduction to pricing from a Marketing perspective. After class, I grabbed dinner quickly before heading to a Decision Models review class and finally to a fantasy football draft. This is the first time I’ve really played fantasy football, so I’m hoping that I manage to not be the worst!
Today we wrapped up the topics started on Friday. It’s hard to believe there’s only one more class weekend left in Term 2! There was definite mention of our final exams (end of the month).
Duke’s Fuqua School of Business (where I am a WEMBA student) recently established a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Durham called “At Bat for Habitat”.
The main fundraising event for this initiative took place last night at the final home game of the Durham Bulls.
Once $50,000 is raised, Fuqua students will work together to build a Habitat house. What a great idea for team building while also giving back to the community!
Make a donation today!
I was already somewhat sleep deprived after a long night of studying for today’s Managerial Economics mid term. Little did I know that my definition of sleep deprived was about to radically change!
The mid term began at 8 AM and was scheduled for the duration of the class (2 hours, 45 minutes). Once that was over, I knew that lunch would be near, allowing me to survive the rest of the day.
After the exam, we learned about additional tools for sensitivity analysis and probability assessments used with Monte Carlo simulation in Decision Models and discussed our Marketing team assignment (New England Soup) and the product concept.
At the end of the day, our team decided to wrap up work on a major Decision Models case. Unfortunately, a very minor bug slipped into the model we had built, and we could not determine the cause under the stress of the situation. I went back to my room knowing our conclusion was wrong and could not sleep.
Fortunately, I decided to look at the model one last time and found the error (a “+” instead of a “-” in one of the formulas)! I immediately called another team member so we could fix the situation and return our conclusions to their original state. I won’t say when I finally got to sleep, but will say that getting through the rest of the day was an amazing accomplishment! This was definitely my toughest 24 hours in the program to date!