Thursday, September 14, 2006

Me Good Learning Am Getting: My MBA Saga Continues

A lot of folks may not care for my spouting off about my return to school, but there are some folks who seem to have an interest, and it’s been a little while, so here again is an update in my search to claim my MBA at the University of Houston-Victoria.

First, the numbers: By my count, the semester began with 32 students in my Business & Society class, 35 in my Accounting class, and 33 in my Economics class. One member of the Business & Society class was kicked out for poor behavior, two students seem to have left our Accounting Class, and two students never took the first Economics test, which suggests they quit. So, 5 out of 100 students dropped out right away. Interesting.

Also interesting were early grades. I have not yet received a grade in Business & Society, though the professor’s comments on my participation on the Discussion Board (25% of the total grade) and my own careful participation in every discussion in a meaningful and source-citing way give me reason to think I am in good shape so far. For that class, the Midterm and Final each count for 30% of the grade, with the DB taking 25% as I said, leaving 15% for an “individual case” assignment (which will be posted September 18, and is due October 30 at 8 AM). It’s interesting to see how some people pay a lot of attention to the discussions, and how some do very little.

In Accounting, I have received two quiz grades for an average of 95%, and one assignment completed for 100%. I got a nice e-mail from the professor, which noted ”Excellent. I like your summary and references in particular”. It’s a good sign, I think, to hear that from your professor. Can’t get a big head, through. In Accounting, 30% of the grade comes from the Midterm, 20% from a Group Project – my group is studying and will report on Blockbuster, Inc. – 10% on Discussion Boards, 20% on the quizzes (so each quiz is 2% of the total grade), and 20% on individual case assignments (there are six of those, so each is worth 3.33% of the total grade). So, three grades in things are going well, but only 7.33% of my grade is complete at this time. I have no real idea how the class is doing as a whole, although Dr. Lee said he was generally pleased with our first assignments, and he chose eight submissions to “publish” as examples to the class (including mine), which seems to set those apart.

The most interesting so far in confirmed results, is my Economics class. I should expect, maybe, that my Economics professor would be keenly interested in displaying the statistical results. First, the grade breakdown; 30% each for the Midterm and Final exams, 15% for the “Industry Analysis” paper we have to do, 10% for Discussion Board participation, which I have paid careful attention to, 5% for homework and 10% for the four quizzes. So far we have been discussing the text and a variety of exercises, and last Saturday we took out first quiz. I got 90% on the thing, mostly because I paid poor attention to the exact wording on two questions – I gave the correct answer for a question about GDP, when I should have noticed they wanted the answer for per-capita GDP. I also misread another question and my assumption cost me. The Economics professor was less than pleased with our class as a whole. I did OK, all things considered, but the class broke down as follows:

100% [] 2 students
90-99% [] 6 students (including me)
80-89% [] 12 students
70-79% [] 7 students
Less than 70% [] 4 students

So, 4 students are already failing, and since an MBA student must keep a ‘B’ average and – if I remember right – is allowed no more than two ‘C’ grades during their course of study, fully 11 out of 31 students are not doing well at all.

What does it all mean? Pretty much what I expected going in. Some people take a challenge seriously, and some blow it off until it comes back and hits them. To be honest, I was in that second group while I got my Bachelor’s, so I have every intention of making the best of my opportunity this time. After all, it’s not just about getting the degree; I want to get every bit of knowledge and skill improvement that I can from my studies. I hope my classmates who are having a hard go of it now, can find what they need to pull their grades up, but I have to say, I am feeling very glad that I made the commitment to read and study hard, to do all my homework and exercises, in order to know the material. No, I don’t plan on getting cocky – if I get stupid the Midterms will blow me away, and this is still my first semester, after all. But there is something very true about making a good first impression and in getting a good start, and I am very thankful for how things are going so far. Now, if this was boring to you, just remember I warned you at the first I was going to talk about my school work, and if someone gets out of line I can always type out an essay on the distinctions between historical and current asset valuation. I know you all would love that story!

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