First Week in Review plus Add/Drop Results

Interestingly enough, my first week of EC classes turned out to be way more stressful, and also more surprising, than I imagined. Courses I thought I'd love, I hated, and courses I thought would be way outside of my comfort zone turned out to be neat fits.

Firstly, let me say that after just two sessions, I can proclaim that Consumer Marketing may just be the very best course I've ever had in my life and most definitely the best course at HBS. Youngme Moon is an amazing professor -- funny, down-to-earth, observational, extraordinarily intelligent and able to pull the most delightful lessons out of a case. I absolutely love the class.

Authentic Leadership Development is another course that I knew I'd fall in love with. One of my friends recommended the professor (Peter Olson, she had him for RC Strategy last semester) and although we only had one session this week, I immediately recognized a caring professor, an engaged class and a trusting environment to discuss difficult leadership challenges.

A surprise keeper was Managing Service Operations. This course I had added on a whim last semester -- it was literally the very last course that I had ranked on my Lottery sheet, and I had selected it at the last minute. In the end, it turned out to be a good gut instinct as the professor is energized, the cases are interesting and challenging, and the section had good conversational chemistry right from the start. So although I mentioned wanting to drop this one in an earlier entry, I decided to stick with it.

Commerce and Society did not meet my expectations for several reasons. Firstly, the professor, although a sweet man, was less than charismatic and lacked the commanding nature necessary to successfully lead a class. Secondly, the initial case discussion felt very flat -- I could sense an entire semester of arguments about whether or not businesses should engage in corporate social responsibility or not, and I find little learning in that. Most importantly though, through some self reflection I realized that after an entire summer working in the social enterprise arena, and after learning a lot about the industry and charitable giving through that experience, I would probably benefit more in the long run from a course on another topic.

Most disappointing, perhaps, was Building & Sustaining a Successful Enterprise, which I had with a less popular professor than celebrity teacher Clay Christensen. The first day's reading was incredibly dry -- a theory paper written by Christensen (I found it funny that Christensen referred to himself and the theories he discovered, in the third person nonetheless, in this paper) and a case on Level 5 Leadership. The second reading wasn't bad, but the first was very academic and esoteric...and sleep inducing. Then in class, the professor I had was very stale, showed little personality, and despite having served as a CEO for many years, didn't appear to know how to lead an engaging class. I was hoping this would be a wonderful course since it's so popular (and famous), but I left feeling a bit empty and wanting more.

To make a long story short, I began to scramble to find two interesting courses led by two exciting professors to take the place of what I did not enjoy and I was lucky enough to find and get into two such courses.

Replacing Commerce & Society is Managing Human Capital, a course led by the famed Professor Boris Groysberg, and loosely related to human resources, performance management, and managing one's own career trajectory. I sat in on his class on Wednesday, and not only enjoyed his teaching style, but the syllabus of cases for the semester, and the line-up of in-class protagonists and guest lecturers.

Replacing BSSE was a last-minute choice with Competing Through Business Models -- I made the Add/Drop request before sitting in on the class and just crossed my fingers that I'd be satisfied. Turns out, the professor is a bit of a "wild" one -- he bounced from one end of the room to the other, running up and down the steps, gesticulating like crazy and even getting down on his knees in a "ducking" position. I'm not sure exactly why he is so high energy, but it makes an 8:30 class eye-opening (literally). I also shouldn't fail to mention the interesting course material that focuses on the strategies businesses employ in their models to compete with one another and retaliate from attacks by industry intruders.

And thus my new and improved fall schedule is this:

X Days:
Managing Human Capital
Managing Service Operations

Y Days:
Competing Through Business Models
Consumer Marketing

T/W: Authentic Leadership Development

So happy!

(P-S: I also swapped out Leading Innovative Ventures in the Winter for Leading Teams. Perfection!)

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