Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter Quarter Second Week Recap

Finally got my schedule in order. Original schedule remain unchanged but I added Fogel's Business Ethics course. This means I will be taking 5 courses this quarter. Yipes. It was a hard decision since I have a habit of perpetually taking on more than I can handle, but I decided that taking only 2 courses in the spring was too good to pass up and Fogel's course was a good candidate for the 5th. It requires tons of reading but no class participation or homework. Just two exams. I am taking it pass/fail and feel fairly certain that I will pass with only spending a few hours a week on it. (or even less) Plus, I love the reading list. It is far more interesting than anything typically assigned at the GSB and provides me with actual dinner conversation material, unlike say, HBS's account of Stanley Works' failed attempt to dodge taxes by moving operations abroad which Y doesn't find nearly as thrilling as my tax professor does.

(It really is funny how many courses at the GSB are taught by economists. Good thing I'm fond of them.)

I will also be taking 35210 (Intl Corp Fin) pass/fail as well. You can take a max of 2 courses P/F during your time here (only for certain electives though) and this was the only other courses this quarter in which the professor allowed it. Also, while I like getting the international perspective, so far I am not finding the material particularly interesting. I am so bloody tired of valuing companies, that even with a little exchange rate or sovereign risk uncertainty thrown in to spice things up, the assignments are painful. (No more DCFs please!!) However, Rajan is a top notch lecturer/class guider and a huge part of the grade is participation based, so I get a lot out of just sitting in class. (Assuming I can ever get there in time - apparently the Chicago bus system has yet to figure out how to operate in snowy weather.)

Overall, it's a very reading/writing intensive quarter which I am fine with. Despite my aspirations towards quanti-ness, my historical strength has always been reading and writing. And while I find a lot of the business reading dreadfully boring, I can manage. Additionally, 5 classes <> 5 classes <> 5 classes. That is, work load varies dramatically from course to course, or even prof to prof for the same course anyway. My load of 4 classes last spring was far harder than my 5 this quarter. Commercializing Innovation is worth at least 3 average courses work-wise, Portfolio Management worth 1.5-2, Time Series was a bear since it was so easy to get stuck on the code and the TA and prof were not much for giving directions/clear explanations/advice, and then I had Competitive Strategy thrown in for good measure. Not an experience I would recommend to anyone who wanted a relaxing spring. Frankly, I think this quarter should not be nearly as bad.

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