UC Davis Working Professional (Bay Area) MBA course review
MGB 203B: Forecasting and Mangerial Research Methods with Rahman Azari
Date evaluated: Summer 2009 at the Bay Area Working Professional San Ramon campus.
Official course description: Introduces modern and practical statistical methods for managerial decision-making. Topics include regression analysis, time series analysis and forecasting, design and analysis of experiments in managerial research and contingency table analysis. Applications of these methods include marketing, finance, accounting, production, operations, and public policy. Case studies and examples of computer-aided analysis are provided to illustrate various applications.
The real course description: Regression analysis. More regression analysis. Not much time-series stuff, and very few applications or practical examples. Two stats projects on, yes, regression.
The professor: Rahman has the best intentions; I think he truly cares about his students. He’s a really nice guy, and he wants everyone to do well and succeed, but I honestly don’t think he’s an effective teacher. He uses an overhead projector. Seriously! The midterm and final are all hand-written. Come on! This is an MBA course. Everyone has a laptop. We’re all going to be using computers for the rest of our careers. We will never be in a meeting where laptops aren’t allowed and there’s a sudden need to bang out a regression analysis.
We all asked for a computer-centric course on day one, when he asked for feedback and we realized it was going to be pencils and calculators. No avail. I’m guessing this is the way he’s always taught and he’s not motivated to change. It’s a shame, because we didn’t spend ANY class time focusing on what we’re going to do in the ‘real world': Excel’s regression analysis tools.
The course: I think this course material could really be interesting. How cool would it be to analyze a ton of data and select the best site for a new shopping centre? What about analyzing baseball statistics and figuring out if the performance of players during the ‘steroid era’ was really so different? I mean, math doesn’t have to be totally boring and impractical. Unfortunately that’s what this course turned out to be.
The book was the same as for Bill Ellis’ 203A course: it still sucked. Maybe I’m becoming numb to the suck, but it didn’t bother me as much.
Another nit to pick: Rahman introduced some material that was on the midterm a few minutes before the midterm. No kidding. He then proceeded to walk us all through the problem, gave us all extra time, and spent almost 10 minutes of our test time talking to the class. I couldn’t believe it. I eventually asked him to give us a break and let us do the test without interruption. That’s probably rude, but it’s the way I felt. He didn’t introduce new material on the final, but he did do a lot of yakking mid-test, and he did extend the time of the test (which we all needed, because it was quite long).
Ok, that’s it. I won’t go into the horrible hand-written analysis of the mathematical proofs for certain regression tests, or the inconsistent grading of the projects. I feel bad because Rahman is such a nice guy who obviously cares about us. This has been my least-favourite class so far. Most of the other students I’ve talked to have similar opinions. I don’t think his teacher review forms contained many positive comments.
The grade: I got an A. I give the instructor and the class a C-, saved from a D only by the two semi-interesting projects which needed Excel.