Friday, December 6, 2013

Review and Critique of the Class

I feel that one of the most important things I took from this course was during our discussions about empowerment. Coming into the course, I understood empowerment on some level, but I am glad to see that some experts believe that employee empowerment produces powerful results. I know that as I continue on in my career, this is something that is very important to me. If I decide to work for someone else, I need to know that I will be treated like an adult, and hopefully given some ownership in the organization.  

In terms of instruction during the course, one of the main issues I had with the course was the underlying assumption that I knew the concepts from Microeconomics more intimately that I actually did. Almost all of the homework relied heavily on assumptions from Microeconomics that I simply didn't remember. I would be interested to know how others felt about this. I understand that if I am the only one who had this complaint, then it is my duty to go back and review that material to enhance my understanding, but I also feel like a short recap of the fundamentals involved in the models we discussed would have been extremely helpful. If there had been an effort to go through the basics of the models more thoroughly, I would have taken A LOT more away from this class. Many of the models we discussed are still nebulous to me, and I feel like I learned a lot less than I would have liked to. 

Continually, I often found it difficult to ascertain the main points of our classroom discussions. The stories were nice, and I had SOME takeaways from those, but not the takeaways that I feel Professor Arvan had intended. This is the main reason that I found it necessary to stick to the examples given in class when it came time for the exam. I knew those answers were correct, but I didn't fully grasp the overarching lesson. If I had, I would have written something more interesting. I'm a bit concerned about the final exam for this reason.

I am not sure if I took anything valuable away from the blogging, I don't feel like I got a lot out of it. I am not sure how I could have done things differently in order to rectify this. It usually takes me about 45 minutes to write my blog entries. I spend a lot of time thinking about if I am answering the question in the prompt in a sufficient and related manner. When I think about it more, the classroom discussions related to the blogging were often interesting and I enjoyed those, but I am not sure if those takeaways were relevant to the material. 

The Excel homeworks took me anywhere from one to three hours. I tend to be the type to dive into things without preparing at all. When there were videos for the Excel homeworks, however, I watched those before completing them. I found the explanations contained within the Excel homeworks to be very cryptic and filled with jargon that I had a very difficult time sorting out. I really wanted to understand them fully, but either I am terminally dense, or the explanations just were not clear. There were definitely a lot of technical elements to the work that I had little to no experience with, which did not help the matter.


  1. I know the course was a struggle for you. I appreciate your being frank about discussing those difficulties. Before getting to that let me respond about what you said in regards to empowerment. Many people start their own business after having worked for some big employer for a while. You may be more empowered at some places of work than at others, but obviously will have maximal control if you are your own boss. You do face maximal risk in that circumstance as well.

    You really did need either intermediate micro or substantial dexterity with math models as a prerequisite for this class. It is not so much a matter of recall as whether you have functional knowledge in use of the models. You struggled because of this. It's your right to have struggled this way, but from where I sit the course wasn't a good fit for you. You might have benefited more for a course that is straight Bolman and Deal, but that wouldn't be an economics class. If you look at Milton Friedman's post, there it is reported that similar ideas are offered in Business courses, but without the math. I'm not sure what those courses are. You might ask directly.

    1. Just to clear something up - should we be commenting on others' blogs for this post?

    2. Yes - the rules haven't changed, though I've seen fewer such comments so far.