viernes, septiembre 28, 2007

Cherrypicking, a.k.a. signing up for elective courses

Hi have just finished a course (block week, again what a great idea) at London Business School on "Strategies for Growth", and must say that I'm really happy. It's a fantastic course taught by a fantastic professor. He has developed a few concepts and frameworks for companies who want to grow the business, and the course was all about that: what has worked in the past and what hasn't, the role of the managers, the environment, the team, the investments bankers....;)))

It has made me think about my elective choices, reaffirming what I suspected: there are no courses, there are professors. So if you take an interesting looking course, but the instructor is not a good communicator, you'll get bored and not get as much from it as otherwise. In this case, the instructor is really one, IMHO, of the best professors at the school. Dynamic, a good facilitator and entertaining. Besides, he has taught this course several times and to different audiences (so he knows how students and executives react to the things he presents), and he uses mostly cases written by himself (so he can provide additional material, details about the different actors in the case, or just his own impressions).

Discussing this with other people, I have come to develop some recommendations for anybody when it comes to choosing elective courses:

- decide early on the topics that interest you. The earlier you do, the more information you'll be able to gather
- don't worry (let me repeat this: DON'T WORRY) about the supposed knowledge you'll need for a job you want in a bank, consultancy, or the like. Rather choose things that interest you, and remember that for some subjects, it might be the last time you'll ever have the chance to learn about
- make sure to dig into the syllabi, websites, prof's resumé, etc....
- talk to 2nd year students and alumni about the different courses. Bearing in mind that the most important component of a course is the professor, make sure that it's the same one that taught them!!!
- alumni (graduated 1-3 years ago) have a different view, because they can tell you also whether a course you thought would be uninteresting might become very useful for othe purposes (e.g. a job lead, potential investors for a venture....)
- in almost all schools it's possible to see the course evaluations, be it online or on hardcopy. They are there for a reason (other than to measure faculty performance)
- some clubs might maintain databases of electives evaluations for their members, with more comments than the "official ones". If you have access (because you are a member of that club, for instance), they might also be a good resource

Then it all comes to planning, bearing in mind the environment and some events: when are the courses offered, do the schedules conflict, when is the recruiting high season, am I going on exchange....but if you have finished your 1st year, building an optimization model for this one should be a piece of cake!!!

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At 4:28 p. m., Blogger josetrecet said...

Hola Karlos,

En primer lugar, felicitarte por tu blog y en segundo presentarme. Mi nombre es José Trecet y soy redactor de Junglebox, una empresa especializada en información educativa que cuenta con los portales y
He seguido tus comentarios con atención y me gustaría poder utilizar parte de tu último artículo para elaborar una información sobre el tema del que escribes, es decir, la elección de asignaturas.

At 1:12 p. m., Blogger karlitos said...

Hola Jose,

adelante, utilizalo siempre que quieras. Lo unico que pido es que menciones la fuente, si es posible con un link.

Gracias y felicidades por los portales que mantienes!


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