Courses Make their Mark on Part-time MBA Students

With the spring semester sprung, students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program take a moment to look back on some of the courses that made lasting impressions this past fall:

Lynn Upshaw's Strategic Brand Management course: Real-world examples, insightful guest speakers

Emily Douglas, MBA 13, says real-world examples in Lynn Upshaw’s Strategic Brand Management elective helped her to understand the importance of human nature in marketing. “We talked about connecting with human emotions on more obvious products like diapers, where new moms are looking for guidance, but also for less obviously emotional products like routers, where buyers want to use products they can trust with their jobs.”

Yelena Bushman, MBA 13, says guest speakers in Upshaw’s course added to her learning experience. She appreciated the chance to walk through the evolution of a corporate mass media campaign with Cisco’s director of marketing brand strategy and identity, Monique Mulbry.

Jill Rea, MBA 13, says it was eye-opening to learn from Holly Schroth that “everything is negotiable.” She says the Negotiations course offered extensive practice and a wealth of stories from Schroth’s professional experience, as well as the opportunity for students to share examples from their own workplace experiences.

First-year student Ronan Kennedy, MBA 14, was impressed by Shachar Kariv’s teaching of the core Microeconomics course and says Kariv held a reality game show to demonstrate the power of second bid auctions. “We also used game theory to discern how smart we think we are–and how smart our opponents think we are.”

The message from Kariv’s course that will stay with Kurt Zhao, MBA 14: Everything in life is quantifiable. “Shachar totally stunned me when he explained the root cause of unemployment using just one simple graph within a minute, precisely and elegantly.”

For Hussein Khazaal, MBA 12, the mix of lecture, exercises, and reflection offered in Sara Beckman’s Problem Finding, Problem Solving (PFPS) course drove home the importance of understanding customer needs before searching for solutions. “It is critical to observe potential users and learn first-hand about their pain points,” he says. “My engineering background was focused on solving a problem, but that is only one part of the puzzle,” says Khazaal. PFPS provided a step-by-step guide to an entire problem framing, problem solving process, as well as a safe environment for learning and applying concepts.

Part-time MBA students gave kudos to a number of other courses, including: Mark Rittenberg’s Active Communications course, touted by Bernie (Bernadette) Geuy, MBA 12, for offering the chance to “find your authentic voice and leverage your life stories to be an effective communicator;” Leif Nelson’s Market Research class, hailed by Jessica Galeria, MBA 13, for imparting solid skills in regressions and cluster analysis in remarkably entertaining ways; and Jo-Ellen Pozner’s Leading People course, said by Erik Krogh-Jespersen, MBA 14, to provide a set of tools for influencing opinion and shifting biases.

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