1/2 done! My sixth quarter at UC Davis’ Bay Area Working Professional MBA Program

Halfway there. A year and a half down, a year and a half to go. How do I feel about it? Mixed emotions.

Business school is challenging, and attending part-time while working full-time is even tougher. Don’t get me wrong, each assignment is reasonable and the tests and exams aren’t too difficult, it’s the cumulative effect of case studies and textbooks and textpacks and optional (read: not optional) readings and group projects and homework and tests and quizzes and exams.

After twelve classes in six quarters I can report that most of my classmates are feeling the burn. We spend our lunch and dinner hours talking about free time, about vacations we want to take, about hobbies we’re neglecting. Some of us took only one course last summer, others didn’t take any! I guess the slackers are planning on finishing in 2012 instead of 2011.

At the same time I can also report that what I’ve been learning has been incredibly relevant for my job. Most of the material we cover is detailed enough to be relevant, but abstract enough such that we can wrap our heads around a case study every two weeks. It’s practical too! I wrote an IRR/NPV calculator that Centellax uses to determine which projects should be staffed. I’ve written ERP analysis reports for our CEO and CFO. We’ve used regression tools to predict which customers are more likely to respond to marketing efforts.

But I think the most valuable thing I’m learning in b-skool is how to quickly analyze business problems. We are presented with so many challenging scenarios in each class, each designed to exercise a specific skillset, that make dealing with new challenges at work so much easier.

March concluded the Winter 2010 quarter. I took two courses: Technology Competition and Strategy and Executive Leadership Seminar. Real life clobbered me early in the term, and I must send shout-outs to my strategy group partners Christian, Jose, and Brad for helping me survive.

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